Laura Beers continues her Beckett series with the third installment, To Love a Spy. Because this is the third book in a series, I have to warn you that this review may contain spoilers for the first few books.
In this book, English spy Adrien finds his match with Eliza's sister, Kate, whose husband, Michel, was killed in the last story. Kate settles into a country estate, eager to live her life in peace. But Adrien arrives and fills her life with simple adventures, like climbing trees and wading in rivers. Slowly, Kate begins to dream of life beyond the simplicity of the estate. She comes back to London, and is subsequently caught up in the espionage that drives the series.
This is Ms. Beers' strongest book to date. I was caught up by the pleasant relationship between the leads and the growing cast of likable characters. The spy drama was less pronounced in this book, and I missed it, but the adventure pieces came through nicely. Kate has her stand-up moment of power, and still swoons for the hero. Ms. Beers has achieved a nice balance between historical elements and the modernized views of women and romance that make Regency romance the place of female fantasy.
As for the less positive, the book takes a highly romanticized view of abuse recovery. There are a few notably realistic moments - Kate's desire to live alone, her struggle to trust, and her desire for others to prove themselves - but the book comfortably steers clear of anything that might threaten the traditional Happily Ever After. Instead, love conquers all and, in the course of a few months, Kate has completely thrown over her past and made the choice to never be abused again.
Ah, if only it were that simple.
However, this is a romance - a Regency romance. So, while my inner literary critic may have longed for a bit more realism, the book accomplishes its purpose well. For readers of the genre, this should be a crowd-pleaser.