With additional Whispersync Audio that worked a good deal of the time. I read it in 2016 and 2017 on 12/21 to page 34, on 1/2 to page 65, on 1/3 to page 142 and on 1/4 to the end. I really liked it and recommend to Romance fans of that flowery time in England that is, I think, Victorian age… a time when looking at a girl at a dance may be understood to be almost a proposal for marriage.
I struggled mightily with this book. I believe in the “Acknowledgments Melanie called it “Regency Romance”. I don’t have words for it.
I will not watch Lifetime Movie Channel (for women) as it is more addicting than heroin, and I speak from experience. The withdrawals are slightly easier on the nerves, stomach, and other nasty things but like any addiction you can’t have even one or you’re back on the stuff. I’ve never went for this kind of Romance novel as I feared it would be as addictive as Lifetime Movie Channel.
The book…. I was not able to suspend disbelief. After Mr. Langdon asked a question from Miss Grey she concludes “he obviously wanted to be mysterious”. This was early in the book and it seemed to me that to conclude what she did from the question he asked, was a pretty wild jump. In reaction she promptly attempts to trick him into revealing more information. I was unimpressed. I did think that if I could stomach the “culture” being portrayed as it was, the story could be interesting enough.
We begin with a British soldier, Nicolas Langdon, injured in battle (with France, I figure) and another soldier commissioned him to deliver a diary to someone back in England of utmost importance. Having looked over the diary, in code he did not understand, he copied the diary for some rational sounding reason.
When he went to deliver the diary he is promptly mugged by a group of men who only took the diary. He reports this to is military superiors and people he was supposed to give it to. They were discouraged until Langdon confessed he had made a copy “if that were helpful.”
Turns out the diary, decoded by higher officers, find the information extremely valuable. This is interesting enough and may appeal to fans of Jack Reacher, Jason Borne, or even Jamie Fraser but it is “the season” in London. And that means balls.
Balls. The dances where women are in pursuit of a husband and the rules and etiquette are such that I could barely struggle through each one and there was a ball every other scene, it appeared.
After a while I figured out all the nuances… like a woman had to have family money and a dowry to actually be a “lady” and men as well had to have money and land or some kind of standing. If either lacked the appropriate wealth then they couldn’t be properly matched with someone of a different standing or class. Worse than the old India cast system with the untouchables and such. Anyway, I figured it out and despite the boredom started paying better attention.
Here’s the thing, it is a book that you know how it will end by the time you figure out why it has the title “A Spy’s Devotion” instead of “50 boring balls”
Balls of dancing, gossip, and unlikely beliefs among women based on how many times any single man may ask them to dance on any given night or ball. At some magical point in the book, it isn’t boring. You care about the characters and you really want to know what is going to happen next even though you are 95% certain how it ultimately end, then you stay up all night at least two nights because you just have to know what happens next.
So if you like, “I’ll lose sleep on this one” books, this one can get you there once you get pass the Victorian London culture. Then again, some women romanticize this kind of thing, and for them, you should take my 4 stars and keep adding stars until you exceed double the maximum rating.