Tuesday, May 30, 2017

2 Wine Glass #Review of Wed to a Spy by Sharon Cullen

33388083Title:  Wed to a Spy
Series:  An All the Queen’s Spies  #1
Author:  Sharon Cullen
Format:  eBook 273pgs
Published:  May 23, 2017 by Loveswept
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N 
Source: NetGalley
Reviewer:  Kimberly
Rating:  2 out of 5 Wine Glasses

Blistering seduction meets international intrigue in the Highlands as a veteran spy infiltrates the court of Mary, Queen of Scots. There he matches wits against a tantalizing enemy: his new wife.

Simon Marcheford wants nothing more than to settle down on the land bestowed upon him by the English crown. Queen Elizabeth, however, is not about to let her best spy retire so easily. Simon will have his reward, she decrees, after he completes one last mission in Scotland. But no sooner has he sussed out a diabolical plot up North than Queen Mary weds him to her cousin—an exquisite beauty with troubled, soulful eyes—and orders Simon to watch her every move.

Aimee de Verris is no spy. But her life may depend on becoming one. Banished from the French court by Catherine de Medici, Aimee finds herself tasked with reporting on Queen Mary’s activities in Scotland, where she’s unnerved by the frigid weather and brutish customs. Worst of all, Aimee’s been married off to a most uncouth lout. But when murder strikes, she learns to appreciate Simon’s talent for shielding her with every inch of his muscular frame. If Aimee desires her husband, perhaps she could trust him—or even love him.

Kimberly’s Thoughts:
Simon has served Queen Elizabeth faithfully for many years but now he is ready to retire back to his manor. However, Elizabeth wants one more assignment out of him, to find out if Mary of Scotland and Philip of Spain are conspiring.
Aimee wants to marry the love of her life, Pierre, but her aunt Catherine wants her to spy on Mary before she will consent to the marriage. Aimee is no spy and instead finds herself married to an Englishman.
Simon and Aimee have found themselves pawns in a larger game but their hearts won't be controlled.

 He'd been sent to Spain and ended up in Scotland, married to a French woman. 

With a stunningly gorgeous cover, Wed to a Spy is book one in All the Queen's Spies series. We are introduced to Simon, Will, and Tristan as Elizabeth of England sends them off to gather information about Mary of Scotland. This first book focuses on Simon and even though he is sent to Spain, through what seemed an unnecessarily tangled way, he winds up in Scotland and Mary's court. Simon seems nice with his desire to get to know his younger sister and retire to home. He's twenty-five and claims to be world weary from working for Elizabeth but we don't get any solid information or stories of his background for us, as the reader, to really sympathize for him.

Our heroine, who for most of the book I assumed was sixteen or seventeen, is twenty-one and a very immature one at that. The vast majority of the story she languishes for her lost love Pierre, which we see through very southern belle hand on forehead and clutched to chest letters written by her. I just could not connect with this heroine, she wasn't given much substance. She mopes about a lot about her circumstances and lacks the backbone I personally like seeing in my heroines. I felt the longing for Pierre went on for far too long, especially when we never get to meet the guy and then she decides being turned on by Simon disrobing means she is in love with him; sex with Simon seemed to cure her longing for Pierre.

As I mentioned, Elizabeth and Mary make appearances in this story, along with other real historical figures and the murder of Mary's private secretary Rizzio, plays a main part. Even though this was set during a tense political time, I felt like the story was slow moving. The suspense of the time is touched on but more of a little sprinkling than intricate weaving and our couple lacked the chemistry and emotional relationship that keeps me locked into stories. Having Aimee pining for Pierre didn't so much as create angst but acted more as a wall between the romance and Simon and Aimee. The latter second half felt like sex scenes suddenly thrown in for stimulation but I found them lacking because of the dearth of emotion. This story kind of boiled down to people in fancy clothes banging for me, which for the less historically inclined, may just hit the spot.

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