Rogue Spy by Joanna Bourne

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For years he’d lived a lie. It was time to tell the truth…even if it cost him the woman he loved.

Ten years ago he was a boy, given the name Thomas Paxton and sent by Revolutionary France to infiltrate the British Intelligence Service. Now his sense of honor brings him back to London, alone and unarmed, to confess. But instead of facing the gallows, he’s given one last impossible assignment to prove his loyalty.

Lovely, lying, former French spy Camille Leyland is dragged from her safe rural obscurity by threats and blackmail. Dusting off her spy skills, she sets out to track down a ruthless French fanatic and rescue the innocent victim he’s holding—only to find an old colleague already on the case. Pax.

Old friendship turns to new love, and as Pax and Camille’s dark secrets loom up from the past, Pax is left with a choice—go rogue from the Service or lose Camille forever…

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Publisher and Release Date: Berkley, November 2014
RHL Classifications:
Time and Setting: England, 19th century
Genre: Romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4.5 stars

Review by: Claudia

Rogue Spy is the fifth book in Joanna Bourne’s Spymaster, series but also works perfectly as a stand-alone. Naturally, reading the other books in the series will give the reader more insight into the characters, but the story and characterisations are so well done that the book is a pleasure to read, even without knowledge of the series.

The book tells the story of Pax (Thomas Paxton) and Cami (Camille Leyland) – both are former Cachés, children raised by the French to infiltrate the British government and British Intelligence Service. Both were placed in important positions but Cami has lived most her life in a quiet rural area with ladies to whom she refers as the Fluffy Aunts. One day she receives a letter which tells her to go to London if she does not want to be exposed. She has no other choice but to follow these orders, but as a former spy intends to confront the threat. Once there, she meets Pax by accident. Pax and Cami were very close as children, but are now full of suspicion, as they do not know how to trust or if the other is spying for the French.

In the course of this book, Ms Bourne weaves together Cami’s and Pax’s stories and brings to life a beautiful story about honor and love and how they influence our choices. It is beautifully written and the plot is intelligent and gives the reader something to think about.
Both Pax and Cami are quite complex characters – maybe Pax moreso than Cami, and I felt that I got to know him the better of the two. He is an honorable man who hates himself for some of his past choices, and is willing to face the consequences. He is quiet and unassuming, and fades easily into the background, but is also able to inspire honor and friendship in people. Cami, on the other hand, is more lively and full of spirit. Both are clever and resourceful and make a wonderful couple.

I loved how they worked together but during the middle of the book I sometimes found it difficult to really feel their love for each other. In the beginning I could instantly feel that they were connected, but for me, the step from distrust to trust, from friendship to love, from enemies to lovers was a bit too smooth to believe it at that moment. In the third part of the book, however, there was no question about it anymore and I loved their dedication to each other.

The secondary characters are quite interesting – and if this book is read in order of the series I am sure the reader will be happy to hear more about old acquaintances. Some of the characters stand out more than others, like Adrian Hawker. He is a good friend of Pax and their friendship is very well written, with a lot of respect, affection and has some great dialogue. My personal favorites in this book are the Fluffy Aunts, who give the story some necessary humor.

All in all, Rogue Spy is a special book with an interesting plot, a deep-felt romance, and much to say about the importance of friendship. I loved reading it and although it was my first book by Joanna Bourne, it will definitely not be my last.

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