Berkley, Mar 2009, $14.00
Only twenty-one year old wealthy widow Lady Phillippa Benning benignly rules the Ton. However, she hides from Polite Society her ennui with all the inanity that accompanies galas. Her only rival is the harlot Lady Jane Cummings; her adversary since they were students at Mrs. Humphrey’s School for Elegant Ladies. Both are interested in the Marquis of Broughton.
However Phillippa’ dropped glove ploy leads to Mr. Marcus Worth instead of the lord. Soon she realizes what Marcus’ truth worth is when she concludes he is the notorious Blue Raven spy and fantasy of every female’s dreams. Phillippa blackmails him into making her his partner in his effort to capture his adversary the French agent Laurant, who has escaped his efforts for ten years. He rejects her extortionist proposal, but changes his mind when he realizes there is substance beyond Almack inside this courageous young woman. However, the Frenchman has not been so elusively successful by not observing his enemies.
This is a terrific tale of “love and war” that contrasts the overabundance of Regency High Society with the dangerous world of espionage. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Phillippa knows who the Blue Raven is and never slows down as the pair team up to catch the wily Frenchman. During their adventures, the lead couple learn the true manning of a “bargain is a bargain is a bargain”.