Only When You're There to Catch Me in Love, Lies and Spies

Love, Lies and Spies
Cindy Antsey
Genre: YA Historical Fiction, Romance, Mystery
Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.
Review copy provided by the publisher thru NetGalley

Too often than not, I've encountered fathers and/or father-figures in historical romance who are either tyrants or negligent. Of course, those dads are not limited to that genre (see the YA Parent Syndrome[s], Bumbling Parents); however, the fact that the dad trope/factor has a huge play in the background and fortunes of a young lady in our chosen genre today is worth delving into.
A Study in Fathers and Father-Figures in Historical Romance
(I love Dad Andrew, Uncle Leonard and Uncle James)

1) The Pimp

This historical romance father is more concerned with extending the family wealth and income. Often in collusion with mama-pimp, he parades his progeny to the most eligible [read: wealthy, landed, titled] of bachelors or daughters of lords and merchant princes. He deals in contracts and dowries.

2) The Unconcerned

The 'Yes, dear' husband. This dad leaves it all to his wife to manage the upbringing and welfare of the children (yes, I know it was typical of the time period). He often escapes to his study or to the gentlemen's club. 

3) The Indulgent

This is a father who fulfills every wish and want of his children especially if they are the favorite. He smiles at their quirks; he laughs at their antics. He is not really bad; but the indulgent trope often is blind to their child's faults.

4) The Exemplary

Give this father the Dad-of-the-Year award. He's a good husband - understands the idea of co-parenting. He might be busy seeing to the land or trade but he has time to be a father and is truly concerned with the affairs of his children. A family man. He doesn't patronize.
What stood out about Love, Lies and Spies is the treatment of the fathers and father-figures of the MC here. They were not tyrants nor were they assholes; they were not wholly concerned with wealth and station. But most of all, they did not patronize Juliana at all. They listened, they taught, and they guided. Kind but firm.

Where the Boy Did Not Insult a Lady's Intelligence
....and where the lady returns the same courtesy

This was a time period when the intelligence of the fairer sex were not held up to a higher standard... or rather the standard set by the gentlemen of this era. Women showing a higher intelligence in public that was not acceptable in polite society was labelled a bluestocking - which was not a very complimentary thing to say in those days.

But Spencer Northam here maybe an exception to the norm (as some of our Jane Austen heroes). Our hero accepted and, in fact, in awe of our heroine's smarts and tenacity (stubbornness, I say).

The heroine recognized that and returned the same courtesy...

The book overall

...Which leads us to the book overall.

Actually, I should give kudos to those two - if at all. For such an adorkable (if not rediculous) arrangement they had to solve the mystery/quandary they had which involved a [much] larger endeavor that affects the whole of the realm. Like really, guys, it was cut but I didn't buy that.

All in all, if you love Jane Austen, tosses it with a bit of chick-lit mystery goodness and a 'let's thwart that pint-sized pretender in France' then Love, Lies and Spies is for you.

That's it. That's the book.

Ayanami Faerudo

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