I've been dragging my feet with this one. Part of the reason is that any review I do will inevitably fail to do this book justice. To put it simply: I am in awe...and I'm so green with envy that I can barely stand myself. (g)
Quick FYI: I'm putting together a contest to help promote Jo's book. I haven't figured out all of the details yet, but I'm working on them. More when I know more. :)
Okay...Read more. (g)
I shudder...SHUDDER to try a synopsis. *deep breath*
Brief Synopsis: Annique Villers grew up mastering the art of The Game. Known as the Fox Cub, she is one of the most elusive and capable French spies in the field. Able to play whatever role is required of her, her small physique and innocent appearance allow her to slip through her enemies' fingers time and time again. That is, until she comes up against one Robert Grey, British spymaster.
Thrown into captivity together, they reluctantly team up to make their escape. Once free, Grey is determined to uncover the secrets Annique holds--secrets that could spell doom for England. But does she have them? And can he resist the charms that have bewitched so many others before him? Chased by forces on both sides, Grey must both protect and betray her... But is he good enough to do both without giving in to temp... erm...
Yeah, Okay...I'll stop there... it's getting really bad. LOL.
Okay...IGNORE my really clumsy synopsis. This is a FANTASTIC book. I honestly felt this empty space in my chest when I finished. No WAY did I want it to end, and for the first time in a long time, I wanted to turn right back to page one and begin it all over again. Le sigh. It makes me so damn proud to know Jo...and oh so happy to think maybe an inkling of her talent has ingrained itself _somewhere_ in my brain.
Annique... WOW. She's a character. LOL. Her sense of humor is spot-on and she made me laugh out loud many times. She's such a contradiction. She's this young girl who's been thrown into a very harsh world, and without really compromising herself, she's able to survive and do extremely well. Her voice, her general outlook and calm acceptance of things around her were just really endearing. I want MORE. *cries*
Grey...Again, a great character. He's definitely a take charge kind of guy, and yeah... I thought he was great. He always seemed to be a step ahead of Annique. I found it both wildly amusing and slightly annoying (for her sake). But he was always her protector, and man, what more could you want from a hero?
One of the best things about this book -- the secondary characters! Anyone who's having trouble fleshing theirs out should use this book as a study aid. They were all SO real. No puddle characters here, people... they all had unique and very strong presences in each scene. I never felt that they were mere dressing, but living beings who jumped off the pages just as much as the H/H. O'Doyle...so funny and charming. Adrian (fans herself) was simply wonderful. And the antags...great.
The plotting was extremely well done. It had lots of twists and turns that kept me turning the pages in nervous anticipation of what would happen next. The writing is simply beautiful. The dialects...SUPERB. The *cough*sex*cough* scenes...WHOO!! And the ending just lovely. *big sigh*
Folks, I know there's a rather beefy pic on the cover. I KNOW. But let me tell you, do not let it fool you. Go...RUN...right now and get this book. I promise you won't regret it.
Buy or Rent? BUY -- In fact, while you're at it, buy copies for all of your friends.