It is London 1662, and plots abound against the king. Oliver Prior, haunted by the death of his sister when still a child, enters the world of espionage. Beatrice Short’s goal is to go on stage, but she must work as a servant. While cleaning, she finds ciphers and invisible script. After the king’s undersecretary finds her snooping, he blackmails her into going undercover as a spy. While Oliver and Beatrice bond to discover the backbone of insidious schemes to kill the king, they learn who runs the plots. He is a man steeped in hate, and he must be put down.

RHFL Classification:

Romanti Historical Fiction

Time Period: 17th Century England

Heat rating: 1



Katherine Pym lands you smack in 17th Century post-Cromwell England with her accurate, heart-tugging descriptions and fabulous grasp of the mores of the period. The two main characters are beautifully drawn and appealing. They carry you along on their journey, which is a spy/murder mystery/adventure with romance entwined.

Beatrice finds herself spying for the Crown quite by accident when her skill for deciphering codes is discovered, her goal is to sing on the stage, and she’s determined to get there by hook or by crook. Oliver is an appealing fellow spy with his eye on Beatrice, merely to keep them both from falling into danger, he tells himself, although he finds her increasingly attractive. And there is plenty of intrigue and skullduggery at foot. I loved the intrigue and the touch of romance. I wanted to see the likeable characters end up together, but I also loved the humor, at times bawdy, but also at times delightfully subtle.   A well-written and very entertaining read.


About me: I live in a pretty historical country town in Australia with my husband, our cat and the demanding wildlife. Our children have left the nest and my free time is spent reading and writing historical romance and mystery novels, gardening and watching movies.


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