Author: Vanessa Kelly
Genre: Historical Romance
My Copy: ARC courtesy of Zebra
Add to: Goodreads
Synopsis: Whether as spies or lovers, the Renegade Royals—illegitimate sons of England’s Royal Princes—are bold, skillful, and a force to be reckoned with…
A war hero returned from Waterloo should be able to indulge in a bit of bad behavior. Instead, Captain William Endicott is summoned by his father, the Duke of York, to investigate an assassination plot. The unlikely suspect: William’s former sweetheart. Will can’t believe that innocent Evie Whitney could be mixed up in anything so nefarious. Then again, almost everything about Evie has changed—except for his body’s instinctive response to hers…
Just as Evie’s life is finally coming together, Will saunters back into it. Should she slap him—or seduce him? Even as she tries to decide, scandal pushes her toward marriage with a man she can neither trust nor resist—and into the heart of a deadly conspiracy…
I love reunited lovers plots and can’t say no to anything involving spies especially in historical romance. When the opportunity came to participate in the blog tour for Vanessa Kelly’s How to Plan a Wedding for a Royal Spy, I couldn’t say no! Besides I’m always looking for new historical romance authors to read and Kelly has been on my radar, but I haven’t had a chance to read anything she’s written.
We have good character development and Kelly spends an equal amount of time with each of her characters so we get to know them really well. Evie Whitney is quiet and always gets in trouble despite not causing it. It was pretty easy to understand which twin her mother prefers (Evie’s twin is Eden and she’s rambunctious and isn’t afraid to make a scene) and you really do feel for Evie. I wish at times she had stood for herself, but I understand why she didn’t. Then there’s William Endicott, a captain in the army who went to fight for king and country during the Napoleonic Wars. He’s made no secret of his upbringing: he’s a bastard son of the royal Duke of York. I had mixed feelings regarding Will and at times he could be quite the hero especially when it comes to defending Evie, but overall he’s quite flat. The real treat in How to Plan a Wedding is Will’s cousin, Alastair. I adored Alastair and sadly, he stole the show. We have a few secondary characters that play a role including Michael, who’s a rival for Evie’s heart.
What I really enjoyed about Kelly’s How to Plan a Wedding was the spy operation. While the “villain” was easy to uncover and the outcome a bit predictable, I liked the whole intricate plot at having to woo a former sweetheart while being on pins and needles at her reaction when she finds out the truth. I debated with the rating between a three and a four and in the end, decided on a three for two particular reasons. The first has to do with the overall set up of the book in terms of the first half; it was slow and I appreciate Kelly explaining things (such as history), but it felt drawn out and as a reader of historical romance, it felt like she was just regurgitating information. Now I understand a lot of readers may be not familiar with history or the customs of Regency England and Kelly does a great job bringing the reader up to speed, but for veteran historical romance readers, it just feels tedious. Secondly, I wanted to feel butterflies and walk with a spring in step during Evie and William’s romance, but we didn’t get that. I know in stories where lovers are reunited, there’s always a slow build up of trust again, but you can feel the attraction between the two characters and long for them to finally kiss, but Will and Evie’s romance just fell flat. In the real world, Evie might have still chosen Will because he’s familiar and comfortable, but I don’t think she’d really love him.
Overall, Vanessa Kelly’s How to Plan a Royal Wedding for a Royal Spy was a lovely read. If you enjoy slower paced historicals, you’ll want to check out How to Plan a Wedding. I can’t wait to go back and read the rest in the series and of course see what’s in store for future royal spies.
(click on the banner for the full tour scheduled organized by Tasty Book Tours)
Vanessa is hosting a tour wide giveaway! The grand prize is a $20 Amazon or Barnes Gift Card and 4 Runners Up will receive print copies of Secrets of Seducing A Royal Bodyguard and My Favorite Countess. Good luck!
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