Lady, Lover, Smuggler, Spy by Alicia Quigley

Regency drawing rooms to Smuggler’s City

My rating:  3 out of 5

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Valerie, after dismissing the advances of her employer’s son, finds herself out of work and travelling to stay with a friend.  Following the theft of her money she is obliged to accept the assistance of a well dressed fellow traveller.  What  follows is a Regency romantic romp, with interesting historical sub-stories and plenty of drama.

The main lady-lover-smugglerspypart of the story is set in England; later the action moves to the City of Smugglers in Gravelines, France.  We are taken into the time of the Napoleonic Wars; a time when a woman’s life in England is very insecure with limited choices.

This is a book with many themes, these include :

  • a great Regency romance
  • a door to the history of this time period
  • a fascinating social history of women in the 1800s

I found myself consulting Google frequently throughout the book, often to find out more about the history being referred to, and also to find out more about what was being written about.  For example what a “guinea boat” was, what a “whisky” carriage and a “curricle” looked like and many other uncommon words (at least to me) that I did not know.

There are a few “sensual” sections of the book – I skipped these, and didn’t seem to miss out on any of the storyline.

This is the first book I have read by Alicia Quigley, it worked well as a stand-alone book, and I am sure will entice other first time readers of this author to read her other books.

In deciding on my final rating, I was veering between a 3 or a 4.  Finally I decided on a 3 as for me the lack of depth of information about the cross Channel smuggling was frustrating, as was my need to look up many of the expressions used.  However I am quite certain that many (most!) lovers of Regency romance will disagree with my rating, and enthusiastically give it this book a 5.

This would be a perfect book/series for a TV programme or film.

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