Published by Avon on June 30th 2009
Genres: Historical Romance
RUMORS AND GOSSIP ... THE LIFEBLOOD OF LONDON
When Olivia Bevelstoke is told that her new neighbor may have killed his fiancee, she doesn't believe it for a second, but, still, how can she help spying on him, just to be sure? So she stakes out a spot near her bedroom window, cleverly concealed by curtains, watches, and waits ... and discovers a most intriguing man, who is definitely up to something.
Sir Harry Valentine works for the boring branch of the War Office, translating documents vital to national security. He's not a spy, but he's had all the training, and when a gorgeous blonde begins to watch him from her window, he is instantly suspicious. But just when he decides that she's nothing more than an annoyingly nosy debutante, he discovers that she might be engaged to a foreign prince, who might be plotting against England. And when Harry is roped into spying on Olivia, he discovers that he might be falling for her himself ...
If I could describe this book in four words it would be this: Sweet and utterly charming.
These words have been used around blogland to describe this book and I’m so glad that the book measured up.
Olivia has been on the ‘market’ so to speak for a long time and she has turned down numerous proposals from suitors. She’s very beautiful and is aware of that fact, but she’s not vain. She first comes to hear of the Earl of Rudland when she finds out he is her new next door neighbour. Gossip also tells that The Earl of Rudland was rumoured to have killed his fiancé and Olivia’s curiosity is sparked. To satisfy her curiosity and to make sure that a killer wasn’t living right next to her, Olivia does what every young female in her shoes would do: Spy through her window. *grins*
Harry is well aware of what Olivia is doing and he’s very tempted to dance a jig on his table in his study to see what she would do. Harry is a spy for the government, but his work is centred on translating letters. He has still retained his skills from active duty, so it was easy for him to spot Olivia. He’s curious and somewhat irritated by her spying, and one day Harry catches Olivia. That particular scene made me laugh out loud, especially Olivia’s thoughts when she knows he saw her. Safe to say, from that day on, Olivia stops her spying.
Harry and Olivia finally meet face to face at a party, and Olivia is determined not to show him her embarrassment, and she comes off quite cold. Harry automatically thinks that she is a cold fish and takes a dislike to her which is returned by Olivia. Their dislike of each other, of course, hides the spark that runs between them. They are both fascinated by each other and they meet upon other occasions which will make you chuckle. In fact, you will find yourself chuckling through out the book, not only at the hero and heroine, but the other characters that feature. Especially Olivia’s brother and Harry’s cousin, Sebastian, who I hope gets a book of his very own.
When Harry is forced to spy not only on the Russian Prince, but Olivia as well, their attraction to one another comes to the surface. What I loved about this book was that there was no coyness or hiding their attraction from one another. Harry goes about getting Olivia, when he finally realises he wants her, and Olivia doesn’t stop him as she feels the same. There are no obvious obstacles, where the heroine must resist him at all costs and Harry must do the honourable thing. The scene where they come together for the first time was unbelievable sweet and so very straightforward- without any second thoughts afterwards. So, as their attraction grows into something stronger and the villain of the piece shows (I thought this was the weakest point of the entire book), Olivia still doesn’t stray from Harry. The ending of the book wrapped up beautifully. It was sweet, funny and for this book, a perfect ending.