Overflowing with twists, turns, and suspense. Gripping.
Marguerite de Fleurignac "Maggie" is part of an underground movement which helps people flee France to London. However, her network has recently been exposed from Paris to the coast. It is time for her people to run, to take new names, and set up elsewhere. Her family's chateau has been burned down. The roads are teaming with scavengers, bandits, deserters, and Jacobins. Before Maggie can leave the area, she is captured by the man named Guillaume LeBreton.
William Doyle is one of the best British spies. He is going by the name of LeBreton. He and his "servant boy", Hawker, know they are being watched. But their observer turns out to be a lovely female. Though Maggie does not give her real name at first, William is not fooled for even a moment. Her father is the Marquis de Fleurignac, who escaped before the Jacobins came to arrest him and drag him back to Paris, to the guillotine. William has come to France to put a stop to the assassinations in England. Maggie's father has a list of those to be killed. William wants Maggie to lead him to her father. But during a time when Death stalks Paris, could William keep his real identity a secret while still protecting the heroic young lady that has managed to wiggle her way under his skin?
***** FIVE STARS! My synopsis only covers the first half of this amazing story. To tell anything of the second half would reveal spoilers. Therefore, I will only say that I found many twists, turns, and lots of suspense. Author Joanna Bourne has crafted a tale so vivid that I could almost hear the feet scampering in the night and smell the fear that scents the dark air. The plot remains true to historical facts, which proves the author has done her research thoroughly. This suspenseful tale will ensnare your imagination right from the start and keep it enraptured until the very end. Excellent! *****
I love her spy series so far, and this one doesn't disappoint. I'm eagerly awaiting the next one!
Stellar historical romantic suspense; full of intriguing and charismatic characters
With //The ForbiddenRose//, Joanna Bourne has proven herself a master of suspenseful, page-turning stories stuffed with extraordinarily ordinary characters. This book goes back a few years before //The Spymaster's Lady// and //My Lord and Spymaster// to tell Doyle's story. From page one Bourne brings to life the fear and wildness of the years after the French Revolution but just before Napoleon rose to power. Doyle and his spy-in-training, Adrian Hawkins, pose as simple French peasants to uncover the whereabouts of a French aristocrat whose list of names has led to the deaths of prominent English soldiers. The aristocrat happens to be the father of the heroine, Marguerite de Fleurignac, who has secretly run an organization that smuggles aristocrats out of France. They join forces, but at cross-purposes, to travel to revolution-torn Paris, where a number of allies and adversaries await their entrance into "The Game."
//The Forbidden Rose// goes beyond the confines of historical romance and tells an extremely nail-biting story of espionage, double-agents, and double-crossings. Doyle and Maggie are well-matched and their instant connection is romantic and sensual.
Though the book could pass for romantic Historical Fiction, it is emotionally satisfying and leaves enough tidbits to hook you into reading the two preceding books and eagerly awaiting the next. For those looking for historical romance with extra bite, //The Forbidden Rose// is a must-read.
Great writing by Joanna Bourne -- fresh and unique!
"A great story of adventure, romance, passion and courage in one of the most dangerous times in history"
I've read Joanna Bourne's first book, The Spymaster's Lady, and loved it. She has a way of writing that is fresh and unique among all the historical romance novels out there. Not only that, but she has the ability to write strong, complex characters and a love story that is able to transcend difficulties and overcome obstacles that would have felled lesser men.
However, when I heard that she'd written about Maggie and Doyle in The ForbiddenRose, I wasn't inclined to read it, for these two had appeared in the first book and I wasn't too impressed with them. I mean, they didn't leave much of an impression, as I was too busy being impressed with Annique and Grey, the lead characters. As should be. But when reviews extolled this book's virtues, I decided, what the hell. I might as well give it a try.
I wasn't disappointed.
Ms. Bourne held me in her grip from the first page all the way through to the end. She has a way with words that held you spellbound, and I would've read the book in one sitting in one day if time had permitted.
Ever read an opening chapter where the heroine was having a conversation with a rabbit and be intrigued and hooked by it? No? Then you haven't read The Forbidden Rose.
Marguerite de Fleurignac leads a dangerous double life as a French noblewoman and as the Finch, the leader of an organization that smuggles people out of France to safety during the French Revolution. She came up against English spy William Doyle when he was hunting for her father in her burned down chateau. For his own purposes, he agreed to escort her to Paris, where she meant to flush out the mole who was betraying them.
From the start, both Maggie and Doyle lied about their identities to protect themselves, yet nobody was fooling anybody. I love this twist in the usual concept of hidden identities, yet their personalities shone through the facade they're employing, causing Doyle to decide he liked this woman. Very much. Thus did their romance start, not with lust for an appreciation of the other's physical attributes, although there is that, but much more, there's the appreciation of each other's intellectual capacities and abilities. Both of them were sly and cunning and masters in their field, and it was a joy to watch them gang up together to outdo the enemy and to see the silent rapport they had established as they bonded on the way to Paris.
I like Maggie. She's smart, really smart, not pretending-to-be-smart like some of the other heroines, but she was really clever and able to think on her feet, because well, how else could she devise strategies to bring so many "sparrows" out of France and get them out of so many jams? Only someone as sharp as William Doyle could match her cunning and her strength. He was described as a great lummox of a man, a "walking lump", yet there is kindness in him, something that also drew Maggie to him. Alone, they are capable of a great many things, but together, they were invinsible.
The humor is sly and subtle, much like the characters themselves, and the action is fast-paced and gripping. The characters intrigued and engaged me so much I didn't want their story to end. In fact, I'm going to pick up my copy of The Spymaster's Lady and browsed the parts that contained Maggie and Doyle.
The back cover summary is a tepid teaser to a great story of adventure, romance, passion and courage in one of the most dangerous times in history. Ms Bourne brought the situation and chaos of the French Revolution to life, making this book one that is steeped with the flavor of the time without overpowering Maggie and Doyle's story. Recommended for all lovers of romance.
A glittering French aristocrat is on the run, disguised as a British governess. England's top spy has a score to settle with her family. But as they're drawn inexorably into the intrigue and madness of Revolutionary Paris, they gamble on a love to which neither of them will admit.