When the fine ladies at Smart Bitches Trashy Books recently gave high marks to Kate Noble’s The Summer of You, I went out to research this lady–and leapt with great abandon upon Revealed, her second book, which you should definitely read if you wish to read The Summer of You, since the two are linked by common characters and events.
I wasn’t all that moved by her first book, Compromised. But this one? Now we’re TALKING. Our heroine du jour is Philippa Benning, who’s cutting through the ton of London with singleminded determination, and who is delightfully snarky in all the ways that any longstanding fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer will remember from the character Cordelia. And, like Cordelia, Philippa at first seems to be focused upon fashion and social gatherings and men, yet eventually comes to prove that she’s got quite a bit more depth than that.
And what brings it about? Spies! In particular, Marcus Worth, who’s certain he’s uncovered a plot by a French nobleman to carry out strikes on London society functions–and who’s inadvertantly discovered by Philippa, who becomes convinced that she’s found the infamous Blue Raven. She boldly offers Marcus a deal: she’ll get him the cred he needs to attend the threatened gatherings, if he’ll let her finish off her own season by unveiling the Blue Raven and sealing her position as notorious queen of the ton.
Folks, I cheerily ate this one up. Marcus was a fantastic hero, the perfect sort of fellow for a spy: physically forgettable at first glance, lean and brown-haired and even wearing spectacles to read. Yet give him the right fashionable haircut, and SURPRISE! He’s actually handsome! Plus, we have bonus action scenes where Marcus gets shot, and OHNOEZ! Philippa has to be the one to take the bullet out! Okay, yeah, sure, it’s cheesy, but this book hit all the flavors of cheese I happen to particularly adore. ;)
There’s great mileage with Philippa snarking at her chief rival (who of course winds up being the protagonist of the next book) Jane, and some fine mileage as well with the masculine version of same going on with Marcus and his brother Byrne (who of course winds up being Jane’s love interest in the next book). One star off for resorting to the standard romance trope of Big Revelation to Make the Heroine Back Off Must Come Immediately After Smexxing–but other than that, this was a delightful read all around. Four stars.