One Thing Leads to a Lover
This is the second book in Susanna Craig’s Love and Let Spy series about jaded spies finding unexpected love. The premise of the series is that the spies’ boss, General Scott, is match-making behind the scenes with his assignments. Like the first book in this series, Who’s That Earl, One Thing Leads to a Lover is a light, quick-paced story that will satisfy readers looking for a little intrigue, a sweet romance, and some witty dialogue along the way.
Sir Langley Stanhope is trying to regain his confidence as a spy in service to the Crown. He was recently knighted for his work but feels like the mission he completed (that resulted in his knighthood) was a failure. His assignment now is to retrieve a French code book (disguised as a French cookbook) that has accidentally fallen into the hands of the Countess of Kingston.
The Countess of Kingston, Amanda Bartlett, has been widowed for three years. Her sons (ages ten and eleven) are her joy, but her mother is not and is fond of reminding Amanda to “mind her step” in every way. Amanda is being romantically pursued by her sons’ guardian, Lord Dulsworthy who is, well, dull and there is no spark for Amanda in spite of her mother’s enthusiastic approval of his suit. Amanda is content with things as they are, but wonders if there isn’t more to life.
A woman could do worse, yes. But why, oh why, did so few ever consider whether a woman in her position might not want to do better? Might not want to remarry at all?
When Sir Langley shows up at her door and eventually divulges his assignment, Amanda is thrilled to find herself part of an adventure. She’s also thrilled to spend more time with Langley with whom there are sparks – even fireworks. Soon the two of them are working together to find the code book and save Amanda (and her boys) from a boring, and potentially dangerous, second marriage.
I was happy to read about two mature characters (Amanda is thirty-two and Langley is thirty-five) – both a little hemmed in by life, wanting to change their paths. Amanda is a devoted mother, a strained but devoted daughter, and a woman wondering if this is all life is going to offer her. She isn’t a secret mathematical genius invading men’s societies to present her theories, or a brilliant linguist translating Greek texts in her father’s study, or even an heiress trying to avoid the marriage mart and open a home for wayward girls. She’s a ‘regular’ widowed countess trying to do her best for her sons and mother – a breath of fresh air in a sea of over the top heroines populating HR lately. I liked her spunk but I also liked her realism.
I was also attracted to Langley. He grew up on the streets and was rescued by his now boss General Scott. He’s one of the good guys – humble, sweet, good with kids, sexy in glasses! He and Amanda made a delightful pair. Their attraction is believable and their banter is clever. There’s also a good amount of humor in the story – which is always a plus for me!
This is my second book by Susanna Craig and I’ve liked both – she is a good storyteller and the books have been fun, easy reads with heroines and heroes you can’t help but cheer for. But I do wish the intrigue in the books was a little more developed. Book two definitely had more convincing intrigue than book one, but I’d still like to see it cranked up a notch or two.
If you are looking for a fun, light romance with some intrigue on the side, I recommend One Thing Leads to a Lover.