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Beauty and the Spy    by Julie Anne Long Amazon.com order for
Beauty and the Spy
by Julie Anne Long
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2006 (2006)
Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Marie Hashima Lofton

Beauty and the Spy begins a historical romance trilogy, featuring three sisters separated when their mother, Anne Holt was accused of murdering her lover Richard Lockwood, and found her own life in danger. Richard held damning information about Thaddeus Morley, a very important man in the British government, and was silenced. Richard's good friend James Makepeace delivered the news of his death to Anna, telling her to run for her life. He assured her he would take care of the three girls.

The story moves forward seventeen years to 1820. Susannah Makepeace is a beautiful young woman, betrothed to the dashing Douglas. Susannah has lived a life of luxury, believing her father to be James Makepeace, who keeps to himself and hardly spends time with his daughter. When James is murdered, Susannah loses her fiancÚ as well as everything she owns, and is invited to live with James' spinster sister Frances Perriman, who welcomes her with open arms. Susannah now must accept a life without servants, and with barely enough food to live on - quite the contrast to her upbringing.

Viscount Kit (Christopher) Whitelaw has disappointed his father, who threatens to ship his son off to Egypt unless he can complete a folio of drawings and observations of wildlife. One day, as he swims in a pond, Susannah is out and about sketching and spies him au naturel. Kit realizes she's watching and surprises her. Eventually he hires Susannah to help him sketch wildlife for his folio. What Susannah doesn't know is that Kit encountered Thaddeus Morley as a young man. Though he suspects that Morley was involved in the deaths of James Makepeace and Richard Lockwood, he has no proof. As Kit picks up clues to the murders, Susannah's life is threatened. Will he be able to prevent a third murder?

Julie Anne Long is one of the best Regency romance writers today. She creates enjoyable characters, involved in stories that entertain with wit and humor. Beauty and the Spy was a delight to read, and I can't wait to read the rest of the series.

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