There's much to like in Loretta Chase's latest book and I am happy that I finally decided to pick it up. The setting is 19th century Italy, especially Venice, I liked that. Then the characters are a courtesan and a jaded spy who, instead of spending the day torturing himself about the past, has a pretty cynical and humourous view of the world and how the others see him. How refreshing!
It's been five years since Francesca's husband divorced her and ruined her socially, she had to flee England for the continent and, decided to live her own life and get back at him, Francesca becomes a successful courtesan. She can support herself without belonging to any man. When she left her husband she brought with her some compromising letters, he had betrayed his country and worked for Napoleon and those letters prove it.
So, not only Francesca's husband is desperate to get those letters back and employs several people to find them but also James Cordier and his superiors want the letters so he can unmask the traitor who was responsible for his imprisonment during the war...
I really enjoyed the relationship between James and Francesca and how they dealt with the attraction between them, they were both mature people and questioned that attraction and were it would lead them. James knows he has a job to do and that it must be above his feelings for her. In fact he just wants to finish it and leave because he is tired of the life he leads. Francesca has a good life, she doesn't want to jeopardize that and even after she finds out what James is there for she questions his motives and why should she help him. I thought she shows the sense of self preservation that most heroines don't have and most need.
This book is part of a series and I will definitely look for the others.