Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey
Real rating: 3.5 out of 5
I first got into this book because I thought it would be a bit like a parody of the old school regency novels and provide an Oscar Wilde approach to the Ton and all their drama. I didn’t quite get that with this book, but this novel was still quite a bit of fun although a little bit predictable and kind of boring at parts.
Juliana is a girl that just wants to chill with her ladybugs – or, well, whenever the book remembered that. But Juliana really likes her little buggies and just wants to get her father’s and her research published about them. However, she’s forced by society’s challenges and she must go to parties in puffy dresses and be all proper lady-like. Enter in Spencer who is just a guy, spying on those in his home country – or maybe it’s for the sake of it? After saving Juliana in a hilarious moment, the two keep running in each other, and perhaps, a little something, something is blooming between to them. There is an enemy in the local ton’s midst, and it is up to Spencer and Juliana to save them. Will they succeed?
The two things that I loved the most about this novel is that very first scene with Juliana hanging over the side of the cliff and worrying about her propriety instead of, you know, danger. I thought it was so completely and utterly witty. It could have been take directly out of a Wilde play, and it will go down in history as one of the wittiest scenes I’ve ever read. However, for me, that was about the only real funny part I got out of the novel when I thought there was going to be a lot more. The lack of major funnies didn’t really bother me, though, and I did like Cindy Anstey’s writing style enough.
The other thing that I liked the most was the friendship between Carrie and Juliana. So many times female friendships get thrown to the wayside in a novel, and at times, I so thought Carrie would choose Vivian over Juliana like so many friends do in YA books nowadays but she never did. I appreciated the lack of angst in that part. There is only such much angst this girl I can handle, and most of the time I can’t even watch Mean Girls without having fits over the angst of Janet, Cady, and Damien. The horror! The trauma! I also enjoyed how even though Carrie was far more boy crazy, Juliana never judged her for that. I liked that a lot, and was thankful I didn’t have another Judge Judy on my hands.
The romance was good. No real insta-love. And is it sad that my biggest ship was Carrie and Bobbington? Seriously, they were giving me feels. Spencer and Juliana were too, but still.
The only real big issue I had with this book is that sometimes it fell a little flat for me. I would read a whole page and not realize what I even just read and had no desire to go back and read it again. I’m not quite sure how memorable this book will be in the long run. Nothing really happened much either. Like, I’m not entirely sure I would be able to describe the plot if I had to. I also lost track a few times with who was who. All the bad guys? And the other workers in the Office? They kind of all blurred together. I still have no clue who the heck Bilursy (is that even his name??) was and what side he was on and even his role in this novel. I agree that there was a bit more telling then showing, but in all honesty, it wasn’t enough to detract for me. Those things I did mentioned were, and that’s what knocked it down a star for me.
Overall, this was a pretty solid read. This is my fourth read from Swoon Reads, and I’m not gonna lie but they’re pretty good for me so far. I will definitely be giving Ms. Anstey’s work another go, since I liked her ability to craft a story. This wasn’t quite the story I thought I was getting when I first picked it up, but I did enjoy it nonetheless. There were some things that could have gone better, but still a good read!
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