Cinderella's Secret Agent
Now this is more like it! Not only do we get a sweet love story with very likable lead characters, but we also see some action take place on stage instead of off, as has been the rule with this series. In the 11th of the A Year of Living Dangerously mini-series, we meet Simon the terrorist in all his slimy glory, and for the first time in a long time, Jonah, the elusive head of SPEAR makes an appearance.
Del Rogers is a SPEAR sharpshooter. He has taken down any number of bad guys but has never killed anyone – he doesn’t need to – he is that good. SPEAR has discovered that operatives linked with Simon have been around a certain building, so Del and his partner Bill have been staking it out. Near the building, there is a restaurant where Del has been eating his meals. He has become good friends with Maggie Rice, one of the waitresses. Maggie is a cheerful and happy young woman who is 9 months pregnant. She thought that the man who is the father of her child loved her and was crushed when she learned of his lies and deceit. He was married. But her basic optimism remains high and she is looking forward to her baby.
Maggie goes into labor at the restaurant while Del is there and he delivers her daughter. In between stints of watching and waiting for Simon to show his hand, Del becomes baby Delilah’s honorary uncle and Maggie’s best friend. She thinks of him as her Knight in Shining Armor and begins to fall in love with him. Del also begins to love Maggie – really, who could not? She is always happy, looks to the future with hope and is as kind and loving as they come. No she isn’t a Pollyanna – the author truly succeeds in portraying a heroine who is just plain and simply good.
The conflict comes about because of the secretiveness Del has to practice as a SPEAR agent. He can’t tell Maggie about his real work and makes up a story about being a businessman. After she had been lied to by her baby’s father, Maggie prizes honesty and Del’s secrecy comes between them. Del also has a secret in his past which destroyed a former relationship; he is loathe to tell Maggie for fear it will turn her against him. Her reaction when she learned of Del’s secret was heartwarming and further proved her loving and kind nature.
There are a lot of little things in this book that I enjoyed. Del has a gorgeous body and Maggie is frank in her admiration of it. As for Maggie, she has had a child and rather than snap back like a rubber band, like some characters I’ve read, she describes her post-childbirth body as looking like “overrisen bread dough”. That’s much more realistic. She also suffers from postpartum depression with the tears that accompany this type of hormonal flux; her tears came across to me as realistic and poignant rather than annoying or frustrating.
As mentioned earlier, there is quite a bit of action in the latter part of the book and the action actually takes place in front of the reader rather than off somewhere else. I don’t think Clive Cussler is in any danger from Ingrid Weaver as a writer of action scenes, but she does a perfectly competent job with them. It is not a spoiler to say that Simon escapes yet again, and in the next book, which completes the series, Jonah and Simon will have a showdown.
So far, this series has been rather disappointing. I thought that it would be a good mix of romance and adventure, but so far the romance has been of the average type and the adventure has been practically non-existant. Cinderella’s Secret Agent is more of what I had hoped the books in this series would be like, and I ended up very much enjoying it. Next month is Jonah’s story and I’ll be there. Stay tuned.