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Love, Lies and Spies

Review

Love, Lies and Spies

A damsel in distress? Check. A knight in shining armor? Check. A secret spy who is suddenly enamored with a young lady who observes beetles? Check. LOVE, LIES AND SPIES by Cindy Anstey has all of this and more.

Juliana is unlike most girls. Instead of getting excited by pretty dresses and handsome men, she is excited by the prospect of a colony of lady beetles (or ladybugs, as we call them). Spencer, too, is unlike most men. He isn’t looking for marriage, nor is he interested in the idea of courtship. But when these two souls cross paths, they are bound to reconsider their feelings.

"I enjoyed the fluttery feeling the courtship between Spencer and Juliana brought, the gasps of surprise as Spencer’s plans were slowly revealed and the overall pleasure this book brought me on a rainy day."

Let me start by saying that I adore historical fiction. I love books that take me back to a time and society that is totally different from what I experience daily. Unlike the stuffiness that most young readers associate with this time when societal constraints dictated people’s lives, I find it is refreshing to look at times different from our own. I found the craftsmanship of this book to be impeccable. As cheesy and cliche as this might sound, reading it definitely gave me the feeling that I was in the book itself. More specifically, the use of third person proved to be the correct choice for this book. When I think of English society two hundred years ago, I think of a certain kind of detachment. Most people were governed by a rigid social class and the need to impress others. This translated into a formality (that has arguably eroded over time). Anstey’s use of third person creates exactly this kind of atmosphere and helps the reader feel drawn into the book.

Personally, I felt that the relationship between Spencer and Juliana as told from Spencer’s point of view should have been more developed. As soon as he sees her, Spencer talks about how he is physically attracted to Juliana. Very little attention is given to the reasons Spencer actually falls in love with her --- an emotion that is hopefully based on more than just physical qualities. I admittedly felt a little hesitant about believing in the speed at which the relationship between Spencer and Juliana developed, as both entertained the idea of changing their views on marriage very soon after meeting one another. One would assume that the strong aversion both harbored towards the institution of marriage would have taken longer to break, but it was not so. However, I believe their changing views were not the result of character flaws, but rather confusing indications of the passage of time. This element could have been better highlighted, as I often struggled to grasp quick changes in scenery because there was no clear indication of time passing. Nonetheless, I was left feeling satisfied and content at the end of the story.

Overall, I enjoyed the fluttery feeling the courtship between Spencer and Juliana brought, the gasps of surprise as Spencer’s plans were slowly revealed and the overall pleasure this book brought me on a rainy day.

Reviewed by Pranshu A., Teen Board Member on April 26, 2016

Love, Lies and Spies
by Cindy Anstey