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True Spies
by Shana Galen
(Sourcebooks, $7.99, R) ISBN978-1-4022-7602-6
****
Though I apparently rated the first book in Shana Galen's spy series, Lord and Lady Spy, with three hearts, I do not recall the reading of said novel with any fondness. This latest in the series, True Spies, though this one is a keeper. Everything that I found lacking in the first novel (namely originality, readable dialogue, and chemistry) has made a spectacular appearance this time around.

Lady Elinor Keating is done spending evenings waiting around for her husband to make an appearance. Though she's been fairly certain through all of the years of their marriage that it is business and not pleasure that keeps him away, she's tired of sympathetic looks from her own servants and her children never seeing their own father but in passing. She's going out on her own now. Maybe she'll even have an affair; Winn wouldn't mind, if he happened to notice.

As it turns out, Baron Winslow Keating is a spy for His Majesty, kept busy and away even after Napoleon's fall at Waterloo. He has just realized that the daughter he recalls fondly as a toddler is now a teenager and after walking into a ball where his wife more closely resembles a courtesan than the woman he married has decided it is time for a long-delayed leave of absence.

Unfortunately, there are hijinks afoot, and the foreign assassin who brought them seems to have focused on Winn and knows who Winn's family is. So, if Winn wants this long-awaited time with his family, he's going to have to drag them into this mess to save them first. Partnered for the first time, and with the Wolf at that (who readers will recognize from Lord and Lady Spy), Winn and his unfortunate baronness must do their duty to their country in order to put their family and romantic lives on track.

The premise may seem not as titillating as one might be looking for in a spy romance, but I think married readers especially will be able to relate to Elinor and Winn and their marital follies. As expected, Galen writes a fun, action-packed tale that moves quickly, and Elinor's frustrations really push the romance aspect along. Romance is not just for the singles, you know!

--Sarrah Knight


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