Ladies in waiting can’t help noticing more than they let on. After so many years at the court of Mary, Queen of Scots, Emma Howard sees quite plainly that the royal couple is anything but happy. Reeling from a failed marriage herself, Emma sympathizes with her beloved queen. But the last thing she wants is for the king to be murdered, let alone to witness the shocking act herself. With her whole world turned upside-down, Emma is saved by the quick thinking of a lowly printer . . . who, unbeknownst to her, is one of England’s most daring spies.
At Queen Elizabeth’s behest, Tristan has been stirring discontent against the Scottish nobility. Now that the king is dead, his mission is even more critical. There’s only one complication: the exquisite courtier who’s unexpectedly fallen under Tristan’s protection. Emma rouses his body and his soul. But after she learns that he’s a traitor, the fate of two nations hangs on her response. Tristan’s prepared to risk his life in exchange for hers. Will Emma do the same for the man she’s come to love?
I enjoyed Lost to a Spy by new-to-me author, Sharon Cullen, though I had a few niggles that kept me from rating it a bit higher.
First of all, it was nice to read a historical that takes place in a different time period from a regency. I don't know much about the tension between Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary of Scotland from that time period, so I enjoyed that aspect of the story. It felt fresh for me, which is a nice change of pace for an experienced historical romance reader like myself.
I also liked the non-royal MCs, which is a little rare in historicals. The world of spies and intrigue was interesting and kept my attention, though the story lacked that addictive quality that keeps me reading all night long. In fact, it took me a few days to finish, which isn't the greatest sign for me, though I'd have trouble explaining why.
The romance was believable and lovely, though I have some qualms about how easily one night of tender care from the male MC erased years of torture by the female MC's former husband. I still completely bought the two MCs together, and I was rooting for them the entire time.
There is a good amount of action and we see the couples from the previous books (but this works as a stand-alone), but there was just something missing from the story to bring it from "like" to "really like" for me. I wish the romance was over a longer period of time or that aspects of it were more of a slow burn, as some parts felt very abrupt. There were also some loose threads that I REALLY wanted to be resolved (but, perhaps, they aren't resolved in the actual history of the two countries??).
Overall, an enjoyable historical romance that will please most historical romance fans, especially if you are in the mood from something a little different from the typical rakes, debutantes, and royalty.
*Copy provided in exchange for an honest review*
Enjoy, my friends!