Lord and Lady Spy
by Shana Galen
(Sourcebooks Casablanca, $6.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-1-40225-907-4
One's opinion of Shana Galen's Lord and Lady Spy depends strongly on your opinion of remakes. I don't find them particularly clever, but many people love revisiting a predictable plotline and theme. Not surprisingly, Lord and Lady Spy happen to be the Viscount and Viscountess Smythe (hello, Brad and Angie) who coincidentally or not are unaware of one another's alter egos, Lady Sophia as Agent Saint and Lord Smythe as Agent Wolfe. Thankfully for this review, Galen's dialogue generally lends itself to repartee and there is an uncommon twist to a historical romance: the characters actually like one another from the beginning of the book.

After the major let-down of forced retirement from the Barbican Group, an uber-secret branch of the State department, both Lord and Lady Smythe are in moods not that they can reveal it, because their "everyday" lives for the past five years have been just as false as the identities they have adopted in the line of duty. Both are drawn in for one last case, however: to locate the murderer of the Prime Minister's brother. Encountering each other in the damp basement where they receive the assignment is appalling and fascinating, but with the hopes of regaining their former positions hanging over their heads, Sophia and Adrian agree to work the case simultaneously.

Both being more than adequate as spies, this murder case should be something simple but presents many challenges that neither would have expected in something so mundane. Equally as challenging is overcoming the idea that their marriage is mundane; far from it, actually. Working together and finally free to be themselves in their spouse's company, Sophia and Adrian manage to overcome most of the hindrances to their relationship. However, there is still the matter of not-so-friendly competition for the one Barbican position open to the two of them Sophia and Adrian each come to love their spouse, but can they trust the spy with whom they're sleeping?

Though the mystery leaves something to be desired (this ain't a mystery novel, sweetpea, so put it down if that's what you wanted), the action scenes, though few, are still much more exciting than what you'd expect from a Regency romance. It won't keep you on the edge of your seat and it certainly won't satisfy romantic suspense groupies, but it's a nice twist on the Regency genre, if not a terribly new concept.

--Sarrah Knight

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