A Necessary Deception is a new Regency England era historical romance by Laurie Alice Eakes.
Lydia Gale feels like a failure at everything. She always disappointed her father with her "unladylike" painting. She married Charles Gale, despite being advised against it. And she failed as a wife. Now a young widow, Lydia doesn't necessarily miss her husband - their short marriage wasn't as love-filled as she had thought it'd be - but she does feel an obligation to his memory. That's why when given the opportunity to help a French prisoner that aided her husband in the war, she takes it. She helps him obtain parole.
But then, shortly after, Lydia's told that the very man she assisted in leaving prison is a traitor to Britain and loyalist to Napoleon. Instead of focusing on her sister Cassandra's wedding arrangements and her youngest sister Honore's coming out to London Society, Lydia's Season is suddenly veiled in suspicions, blackmail, and espionage.
And when the French prisoner at the hub of the confusion enters her parlor, his good looks and kind demeanor throw her off all the more. Is he Britain's enemy or friend? Can she trust him, or those who say he is plotting against the country?
And what on earth will she do if her attraction to him grows stronger?
A Necessary Deception is set in 1812, one of my favorite time periods as I am a HUGE fan of Jane Austen. So every time I get a book set in the time period, I hope with all my heart that it will be good. Great news! A Necessary Deception is!!!
Lydia is likable, as are her sisters and family. The setting feels real and detailed in a natural way. I needed no convincing I was in Regency England. And the espionage-like spy-jinks were diverting, giving the novel a little more spice and plot.
The romance was sizzling and almost reminiscent of Jane Austen-like chemistry (I said ALMOST, it'd be hard for me to go higher than that) mixed with a truly intriguing wartime Napoleon-era plot. I was concerned that this part of the novel would come across as cheesy or just really, really inauthentic - but Laurie Alice Eakes managed to make Lydia being tangled with spies believable. It was subtle, not at all overdone. I was impressed!
I was constantly wondering who was lying, what the secrets were, and what the truth was, all the while being charmed by the organic 1812 London Season, populated by three Misses Bainbridge (Lydia, Cassandra, and Honore). The three sisters are startling independent minded, strong, and easy to root for. And when I say they were independent, I am not referring to an unrealistic level of independence in this era but more an Elizabeth Bennett or Emma Woodhouse type of individuality and intelligence.
Before I was even finished with A Necessary Deception I knew that I would want the next book in The Daughters of Bainbridge series. I was sucked in - I was feeling the crush of the ton, the scandal around the corner, the hustle and bustle of the balls - all as if I was there with Lydia. Plus, the romantic elements were scrumptious like a good cup of tea and buttered biscuit after a long day in fitting for new gowns.
With surprising twists, luxurious detail, excellent characters, and an inspirational but not heavy-handed message about forgiving yourself, A Necessary Deception is a great read for any of you bibliophiles who, like me, revel in Jane Austen and Regency-era England. Check it out!!!
*Available October 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.
*I received a copy of A Necessary Deception from the Baker Publishing . Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.