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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really 4 1/2 stars -- Lively, Well-Written Regency Romance with an Appealing Hero and Heroine
"Beauty and the Spy" is Julie Anne Long's third Regency-set historical romance and I am happy to report that her writing seems to be getting more polished with each book. I was one who *liked* but did not *love* her debut effort, "The Runaway Duke", so I was expecting to be slightly underwhelmed with "Beauty and the Spy" as well. I was vastly pleased to discover that...
Published on April 28, 2006 by ellejir

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok but not as heartwarming as previous
I first read Long's TO LOVE A THIEF and was enchanted with her pygmalion story. But somehow Kit and Susannah just never caught my fancy as well as Gideon and Lily. Susannah is a bit too spoiled (reminding my of Jane Austen's Emma) and Kit behaves like an adolescent despite being a mature man of 37 (drinking, carousing with married ladies, and being set down by his...
Published on August 27, 2006 by Amazon Customer


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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really 4 1/2 stars -- Lively, Well-Written Regency Romance with an Appealing Hero and Heroine, April 28, 2006
By 
ellejir "ellejir" (Virginia, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beauty and the Spy (Warner Forever) (Mass Market Paperback)
"Beauty and the Spy" is Julie Anne Long's third Regency-set historical romance and I am happy to report that her writing seems to be getting more polished with each book. I was one who *liked* but did not *love* her debut effort, "The Runaway Duke", so I was expecting to be slightly underwhelmed with "Beauty and the Spy" as well. I was vastly pleased to discover that "Beauty and the Spy" lives up to all the positive buzz that it has been generating. Although there has been no shortage of Regency nobleman/spy heroes in recent historical romances, "Beauty and the Spy" has a very fresh feel to its characters and prose that transcends its well-traveled storyline.

This book is the first in a series of stories about the three young daughters of Richard Lockwood, a respected Member of Parliament (and spy!), and Anna Holt, his mistress. When Richard is murdered while trying to expose a government traitor, Anna is framed for the crime and must flee the country. She leaves her three little girls (Susannah, Sylvie and Sabrina) in the care of Richard's friend, James Makepeace. Seventeen years later, Susannah Makepeace, is a lovely, pampered young lady, having been raised by James, a wealthy importer (and spy!), as his own child. When James himself is mysteriously murdered, Susannah's well-ordered existence is shattered when it is discovered that James was deeply in debt. Penniless and jilted by her handsome, titled fiance, Susannah accepts an offer to go live in the country with James's relation, Aunt Frances.

Almost immediately upon arrival in the country, Susannah stumbles over the hero of the story, Kit Whitelaw, a viscount (and former spy!) and heir to the local earldom. Kit has been forced to rusticate by his father who has become concerned by his son's increasingly wild behavior while in London. Kit has been assigned by his father the task of creating a folio of the local flora and fauna, and as Susannah happens to be a talented artist, he engages her help for the illustrations. It soon becomes apparent that someone is trying to kill the unsuspecting Susannah, and Kit is forced to solve the mystery of her birth and expose the traitor who killed Richard Lockwood in order to protect her.

Kit and Susannah are both very engaging characters--attractive but charmingly imperfect. Susannah is unabashedly materialistic and a bit spoiled, but she has a restless, slightly reckless heart that is a perfect match for Kit's own. Kit has the requisite history of an unhappy love affair in his youth that led him to harden his heart to all women, but amazingly he never seems like a cliche. The story is very well-written and moves along well with only minimal dragging in the second half. There are still too many plot coincidences for my taste, that is only a minor quibble. The villain (and villainess!) are pleasantly nuanced for evil-doers in a historical romance.

In summary, "Beauty and the Spy" is a well-written historical romance with a very engaging hero and heroine. Julie Anne Long's prose is a pleasure to read and refreshingly free of the usual romance cliches. The next book in the series ("Ways to Be Wicked") is the story of Susannah's wilder sister, Sylvie, who has been raised by a French opera dancer. The preview at the end of BATS looked delightfully original and I look forward to that story as well.

Highly recommended.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vast improvement, March 11, 2006
This review is from: Beauty and the Spy (Warner Forever) (Mass Market Paperback)
I acutally couldn't finish Long's first book, The Runaway Duke. The "hero", Connor, grated on my nerves so badly, I finally gave up. But, this book is wonderful. I absolutely loved Kit. He is all that a hero should be. Long has totally improved her writing with each book. This one had me riveted. Her dialogue was intelligent and so quirky that I was totally engrossed. Her master of the little ironic statement was priceless. I love authors who are good writers and Long is. To me, she is in a class (with this book) of Karen Marie Moning, who can positively transport me to her faery world with her words. I am anxiously awaiting the next effort by Ms. Long.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunningly good, August 1, 2006
This review is from: Beauty and the Spy (Warner Forever) (Mass Market Paperback)
I had the pleasure of reading this book on a plane recently, and I don't know why I put off reading it. It was recommneded to me some time ago, and I guess I put it off because so often I hear raves and I'm disappointed. And she's been compared to Loretta Chase, and I find it hard to believe that anyone is as good as Loretta Chase. :) But I was enchanted. The story is unique and unforgettable and the characters are so multi-faceted and real and so sexy. The prose is beautiful, and I loved watching their romance develop, and I loved the laughter and the quiet moments. I won't summarize the plot, since others here have done such a good job of that, but I will say the story was a pure delight. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I've bought all of Ms. Long's other books on the strength of this one. She has a voice I just love, and though it's different from Ms. Chase's, I would say the spirit is quite comparable.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Destined for Keeper Shelf, August 9, 2006
By 
M. Rondeau (West Springfield, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Beauty and the Spy (Warner Forever) (Mass Market Paperback)
Viscount Kit Whitelaw, top spy in His Majesty's secret service had been flying high with wine, women and song - that is until his father gave him an assignment that clipped his wings. Banished from London's pleasures he was sent to the country where he was spied upon.

The ton's little darling, Susannah Makepeace had an indulgent father; a fiancé who was heir to a Marquis; and quick as a wink it was all gone... Penniless she found herself stuck in the sleepy little town of Barnstable. Sketchpad in hand she came upon a sight she'd never see in town - a man bathing naked in a pond, which she most certainly had to record - in every delicious minute detail. When Kit caught her in the act and confiscated her sketches, he realized that perhaps his stay in the country wasn't going to be so dull after all - especially when numerous accidents seemed to indicate a bit of foul play in the air and directed towards the ever beguiling Miss Susannah.

Julie Anne Long first came to my attention with her debut novel THE RUNAWAY DUKE which I, and many others, found to be full of wit, passion, and romance. A great start for a budding romance author. Now with BEAUTY AND THE SPY, the first installment of her brand new trilogy; THIS is an effort I predict will catapult her to the top! It is a profoundly passionate and brilliant piece of work that will entice you from the prologue to the very end. It was totally intriguing and unusual as one might expect a rakish spy to be doing his best to bed the virginal miss, but what Long did was give her characters true substance. Extremely well-developed they took their time to really `know' and `care' for one another with intelligence, wit, and compassion. Definitely `keeper' material! I can't wait for the rest of this saga to unfold!

Marilyn Rondeau, RIO - Reviewers International Org.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very good, June 15, 2006
By 
Annie (Pearl River, NY United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beauty and the Spy (Warner Forever) (Mass Market Paperback)
I thoroughtly enjoyed this regency by Julie Anne Long,

"Beauty and the Spy". The developing relationship between Susannah Makepeace and our hero, Kit (very dashing in a nice way) was engaging. You could see the relationship move along in a logical fashion; there was nothing forced or unrealistic in its development. I enjoyed her Aunt Perriman, Kit's Dad and especially the story background on who Susannah was. All of it was tied in nicely. Too bad about Kit's friend, John, who I am guessing will appear in another story. I look forward to the next sister's story. One of the issues I did have with the story was that it was actually a bit too long. There was not that many lose ends to tie up that needed it to be quite so long. Also her father, James Makepeace, it was strange how he was so in debt and no one knew, not only the government(he was a spy and spy's must be on the up and up or they could be in danger of selling secrets for money) but especially her fiance's family. Douglas, said fiance, was the heir to a Marquess, and as his mother made him break off the engagemnet when Susannah became penniless, would not his family have discussed settlement's with James? Since he was so in debt, there would have been nothing to use as a dowry, and the marriage would never have taken place anyway.

It was interesting to see Susannah, who was not only beautiful and rich, go from a life luxury, to her Aunt's simple cottage and having to make her own fire.

It was refreshing to see our heroine, Susannah, not be so missish about her attraction to Kit and her enjoyment of his maleness. It would have made for an entertaining ending to the story with Susannah and Kit appearing at a Ton ball to see the reaction of Douglas and his new wife, Susannah's former best friend, to her marriage of the year.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Different kind of Hero; a likable Young Heroine ..., October 30, 2006
This review is from: Beauty and the Spy (Warner Forever) (Mass Market Paperback)
I have been skeptical of Julie Anne Long's novels until this book. I really liked this novel. The Hero Kit Whitelaw is unique and different, he is a spy, but unlike the typical Regency Lord/Spy, he is not brooding, dour, but more optimistic and good natured. Which is a fresh surprise. Susannah is a young, spoiled heroine, with a reckless nature. I usually do not like young heroines who are flighty and reckless, even when I was their age, they just seem so idiotic to me. Susannah however is quite endearing and surprisingly strong with that drive that made us love Scarlett O'Hara. This is the first novel in a trilogy about sisters, the daughters of a spy and his mistress. There is a twist in this novel, but I had it figured out even before the middle of the story. The coincidences are also so predictable, but the hero and heroine are unique and likable enough that I overlooked those annoyances. I definitely look forward to reading about Sylvie's story.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT characters and story! Fast read!, March 23, 2006
This review is from: Beauty and the Spy (Warner Forever) (Mass Market Paperback)
I highly recommend this book. It has characters that are well developed and an interesting story. I can't wait to read about the next sister!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Julie Anne does it again - another keeper, February 20, 2006
By 
This review is from: Beauty and the Spy (Warner Forever) (Mass Market Paperback)
Julie Ann Long just keeps on getting better and better with her writing. In this book, everything just flows together, that you just don't want the story to end.

Susannah is living the life of luxury and the next thing she knows she is living a simple life in the country with her dead father's aunt. Kit is a spy, which few people know about. His father sends him to Barnstable as a means to keep him under control.

What I liked about this book was the fact that you get to see the relationship grow between Susannah and Kit, from a chance meeting at a pond, to employer/employee, victim/protector and then as they slowly fall in love with each other. You will also fall in love with Aunt Frances a secondary character.

Kit becomes very protective of Susannah when accidents start to happened, together they try to figure out who is trying to kill her and why.

I loved the main characters and Julie gives you a twist at the end. I'm a sucker for a good epilogue.

This is the first book of a trilogy about 3 sisters who were separated when their real father dies. There is an excerpt at the back of this book that gives you a teaser about the next sister.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magnificent!, August 30, 2006
By 
Neilisa (Tulsa, OK United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beauty and the Spy (Warner Forever) (Mass Market Paperback)
The story opens with Richard and Anna. Richard is a spy for his majesty's secret service and he has just discovered that a high-ranking official is selling secrets to France. Before he can turn over his evidence, Richard is murdered and Anna, his mistress, is framed. Richard and Anna have three daughters, Sabrina, Sylvie, and Susannah. One of Richard's friends is able to get Anna out of the country and hide all three girls.

Seventeen years later, Susannah Makepeace is sure of her place in life. She is the belle of the ball and about to be engaged to Douglas, a wealthy marquis who is besotted with her. But after the death of her father, Susannah's life is thrown into turmoil. Because of her father's debts, Susannah is left penniless and homeless, having to sell everything except her gowns. The only one who opens her home to Susannah is her aunt Frances, a poor widow who lives in a sleepy village called Barnestable. To make things worse, Susannah's rival is now engaged to Douglas and he wants Susannah to be his mistress. Enraged, she kicks him out of the house.

Kit Whitelaw, heir to the Earl of Westphall, is bored and out of his boredom, he is causing minor scandals in London. His father sees this and orders him to go to Barnestable for three weeks to work on his nature folio. Kit vehemently protests but obeys his father. A gentleman is not supposed to have a vocation but Kit has one, a secret one. He is a government spy who has just started looking into the death of one of his friends, another spy who was investigating Richard's death. Kit's father, however, orders him to drop the investigation and take a breather in Barnestable.

When Kit sees Susannah's talent in drawing, he hires her to help him with his folio. This is a perfect situation because the people who were behind Richard's murder have just discovered Susannah's true identity. Susannah's accidents at first seem innocent and random to Kit, until she is almost stabbed on the street. Kit grows suspicious and starts looking into the death of Susannah's adopted father. After that, this suspenseful tale really heats up with a roller coaster ride for Kit and Susannah that takes them into even greater danger and also brings Kit face to face with a mysterious woman from his past; a woman he had loved and lost seventeen years earlier.

There are a couple of things I loved most about this book. The first is character development. At the opening of the story, Susannah is the belle of London society with a handful of wealthy suitors from which to choose a husband. She is self-centered, sure of her place in society and the way of things, and quite a bit immature. From then on, Susannah begins to unfold like a new flower, facing new challenges (even attempts on her life), seeing things in a different light (she learns to manage money and helps Kit when his mare gives birth), and we discover what heart she has and the great courage contained in her. By the end of the story, Susannah is this mature woman who is full of courage, compassion and wit.

The second thing I loved about this book is how the plot unfolds. The author does a great job in painstakingly revealing each seemingly innocuous scene and weaving it into the main plot; allowing Susannah and Kit's relationship to naturally unfold into a passionate love affair. Kit is my favorite character. He evolves from a bored, shallow gentleman grappling for some purpose in his life into a self-assured hero.

I highly recommend this book. You will not be disappointed.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Place To Start, March 23, 2006
This review is from: Beauty and the Spy (Warner Forever) (Mass Market Paperback)
BEAUTY AND THE SPY by Julie Anne Long

This is actually my first book to read from Julie Anne Long and I loved it. Fun, witty, full of action..simply wonderful.

Not only has she created a H/H that everyone can love she has made a villian that will cause you to grind your teeth.

Living a charmed life Suzannah Makepeace is on her way to her own happy ever after. That is until her father, James Makepeace is found murdered. Now Suzannah life is turned upside down in the blink of a eye. Everything she thought she knew is now fiction. Jilted, penniless and nothing to call her own she is faced with her only hope...an aunt she's never met. She tries to put her life back together.

Viscount Christopher(Kit, as he's known)Whitelaw has angered his father to the point of threats. He has a choice Egypt or be exiled to a country home to do a folio. Not wanting to be far from London Kit decides he can do a month in the country putting a folio together to please his father, is the better of the two.

After a scandalous confrontation in the woods Kit learns that Suzannah might be useful to him, as she can sketch things very well. Employing Suzannah to sketch for him, Kit learns that someone is out to kill Suzannah and he has an idea of who.

Spending time with Kit seems to come with many dangers and not just the attemps on her life. Suzannah learns the secrets of her past and the meaning of true passion.

I adored this book and it will not be the last I read of Julie Anne Long.

Happy Reading.
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Beauty and the Spy (Warner Forever)
Beauty and the Spy (Warner Forever) by Julie Anne Long (Mass Market Paperback - March 1, 2006)
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