Monday, February 17, 2014


Title: Her Royal Spyness
Author: Rhys Bowen
Publisher: Berkley Hardcover
Pages: 336

You know that the heroine of Her Royal Spyness is decidedly unique and singular when she admits, in the second chapter, that she had a life-changing experience while on the commode. And then to make things better, for someone, who is a minor royal, she admits to being clumsy and unladylike, with a tendency to, gasp!, sweat. And then, she will talk about sex and admit to not getting any, and all this in 1932.

Her Royal Majesty, the Queen of England, desires a marital alliance between Prince Siegfried of Romania and Georgie, her cousin, 34th in line to the throne, as part of Britain’s strategy to cement ties with potential enemies in Europe. Georgie cooks up a story about a friend in London needing her help in making wedding preparations.

When her brother’s marriage and her sister-in-law's unsympathetic nature, and the lack of any suitors or marriage prospects, forces her to think about her life, she moves to London to get away from it all. In London, she finds herself wholly incapable of performing simple tasks such as lighting a fire or getting the boiler to work.

When accidents begin to happen to her, no one finds it suspicious. After all, Georgie has always been accident prone. But now she is forced to admit, that there is someone among her circle of acquaintances, who is out to kill her.

Then the dead body of an unpleasant man shows up in their bathtub, and the police find her and her brother guilty. And that really perks your interest in the whole proceedings. But that happens only at the end of Chapter 11, just when you’re about to give up on the insipid romance between Georgie and the uninteresting Darcy. Yes, he is boring, in spite of the Austenian name he is endowed with.

Too much time is spent on stressing Georgie’s and Binkie’s dire financial straits. It is only when Georgie starts her business airing the London homes of country-based gentry that things begin to look up.

This light read does have its moments though. The couture accident bits are described well and make you laugh. And Belinda Warburton Stoke is the kind of friend to have around when you are in a crisis. 

The writing isn’t very good though. Almost every sentence begins with I, and that makes for very weary reading for the hapless reader. 

Every character in this hodge podge of a tale is quirky and interesting. Unfortunately, the sub-plots don't seem to come together.

There are so many things happening here, and none really taken to a conclusion. But then I read that this is the first of a series of books on Georgie and her escapades, and I realized the author was only trying to set the stage for the rest of her books.

With a title like Her Royal Spyness, there seemed so many possibilities that Georgie could have found herself in. But she got too busy trying to find love, and became uninteresting herself.

(I received a free Kindle version of this book from NetGalley.)

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