Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
CIA, the Cold War, counterintelligence spies? Doesn’t sound like your typical Pride and Prejudice retelling, does it? Oh no, my friends, it certainly is not!
Freshly minted officer Elizabeth Bennet, who specializes in linguistics, is assigned a covert mission to investigate the famous and memorably arrogant William Darcy. Chosen because of her fluency in Hungarian, Elizabeth travels to Budapest to be Darcy’s interpreter, all the while studying his actions to determine if he is indeed a double agent botching up missions and leaking information to the enemy.
Very true to their natures, Darcy and Elizabeth don’t think very much of each at their first meeting. Darcy assumes Elizabeth is too “wet-behind-the-ears” and Elizabeth believes he is an infuriating jerk with no heart. Now of course, Elizabeth’s opinion may be slightly colored by the incriminating tale she heard from fellow counterintelligence officer, George Wickham. Who was quick to share how Darcy’s actions (and inaction) in Prague, makes him believe Darcy might be going rogue… Will Elizabeth be able to discover the truth or is Darcy’s career in the CIA virtually over?
I’ve been a long-time fan of Karen Cox and have always loved and appreciated the beauty and originality of her stories. In her latest tale, Karen Cox raises the bar and transplants Jane Austen’s characters not just to another time period, but to another page in history. With meticulous detail and skill, Karen Cox constructs a story that is filled with engaging spy missions and travels to over half a dozen countries and cultures, all the while, fitting it into significant events that marked our nation’s history in the 1960’s and 1980’s. I loved how authentic this made the story feel.
One aspect of the story I greatly enjoyed was the exhilaration and intrigue of the spy game – I always try and figure out answers alongside the characters! But I think what I loved more was spotting Ms. Cox’s clever allusions to Pride and Prejudice hidden throughout the story (I say hidden because most of the time they weren’t very overt!). She also had a fun game going where she would take a Jane Austen quote and put it in another character’s mouth who would then use it in a completely different kind of situation from the original. She was very crafty! In addition, I loved the surprising twists with the families of these characters. While I did guess a couple of things during the spy game, that was one element that caught me by surprise. 🙂
In this retelling, Darcy and Elizabeth are forced engage in some flirtation as a cover for their interactions. Which with their instant attraction for each other was very fun to witness! However, I did sometimes think that the romantic developments in this story often felt a little abrupt and blunt. They were very fast-paced, which maybe was the author’s intent since the story itself was fast-paced and action-packed. But I wouldn’t have minded seeing more of these characters in their “falling in love” stage.
With her latest release, Karen Cox delivers an incredibly unique and riveting tale that brilliantly blends together action, high-stakes danger, espionage, history, and Jane Austen! I love the adventure and the time travel through history this story took me on! I cannot wait to see what Karen Cox writes next!
Note: With some use of profanity and intimate scenes between characters, I’d recommend this story for Mature Audiences.
Personal Side Note: While there is a great Author’s Q&A in the back, I would have loved it if there was a little Spy Glossary as well. I don’t typically read spy thrillers so a lot of terms like dead drop, M16, Stasi, were completely new to me and needed to be looked up. 😉