Apr 252016

unfrontSpies and Speculation

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. 😉

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  35 Responses to “Undeceived – Karen M. Cox”


    Oh dear, yet another book to add to my wish list and definitely near the top too!!! I loved 1932 and this sounds really good as well. When I do get it I will definitely be in touch for the meaning of the spy terms as you have already gone to the trouble of investigating. Thanks Meredith


      Yes! Definitely add any and all of Karen Cox’s books to your wishlist!! Her stories are truly unique! I found most of the spy terms explained by simple google searches. I’m sure veterans of the genre didn’t need some things explained, but I’m pretty new to it!


    I love all of Karen’s books! And spy thrillers are such fun.


    That sounds SO exciting! I usually stay in 1812 with my head under bonnets, but something tells me I’ll take my bonnet off to Karen’s book (yep, ‘[s]he who puns would pick a pocket’, that’s what the lovely doctor said in Master and Commander’ 😉 )

    Thanks again for spotting lovely gems and intriguing stories, Meredith!


    As always, a thoughtful review without spoilers! Thank you. Glad you enjoyed it. I understand it’s been a labor of love for Karen Cox for over two years.


    I finally got this one in the mail and look forward to reading it. Thanks for the blog. Jen Red


    Great review! I have this book on my wishlist and I’m hoping to order it next month.


    this is on my TBR


    I absolutely loved this book. It is one I will re-read if in the future. Yes, I do have a lot on my TBR pile but sometimes I just like to pull out one that I know will be of the best quality for re-reading purposes. Good review, Meredith.


      Knowing how much you read–that is praise indeed! That’s wonderful, thank you!


      Thank you, Sheila! I really do appreciate you reading my reviews when you have already read the book yourself and written your own! 🙂 Glad this one was such a favorite with you! 🙂


    This is my favorite book by Karen, but then again, you can’t go wrong with any of her books. Lovely review and I highly recommend her Spotify playlist, titled “Undeceived,” to accompany this story. It’s wonderful!


    This one hit the spot. I always loved the old Ian Fleming thrillers and even modern Tom Clancys. Love spy stories and it was fun to see the P&P references just like you said.


    Meredith – thanks for your kind and thoughtful review, and all you do for fans of Jane! I’m glad you enjoyed the story 🙂 Here’s the link to the Undeceived Spotify Playlist mentioned by justjane1813, if any are interested: https://open.spotify.com/user/kmc1512/playlist/4qfyHDdskisCjYvullF8jF


      My pleasure, Karen! I love your stories and the places you take us! I’m having some trouble with the spotify list getting to play, but I’ll try again later! Thanks!


    This is a great book – exciting and full of twists and turns for our favorite characters! If you’ve ever seen the TV show The Americans, you’ll love this! And Karen is brilliant!


    This adds to an already exceptional back list of fine Austen-inspired novels by Karen Cox. Like her other books, you can’t put it down. I loved that I was guessing on the identity of the villain until the very last minute, as even though I had ideas, they kept changing. Great review, Meredith!


      Thank you, Suzan! I agree it is always so much fun to try and puzzle it all out with the characters and to find out you were wrong the whole time! 🙂


    I really love the sound of this book. Definitely on my Wish List. Great review Meredith. As someone who HAS read quitr a few Cold War spy novels in the past , I probably won’t have your problems with the terminology!


    Good to hear this one was a good read! I think I might need a Spy Glossary as well but I’m very eager to get to Karen’s new book!


    I love spy stories and this one sounds fabulous! Congrats, Karen, and thanks for sharing your thoughtful review, Meredith!!


    Loved this book, it was a wild ride!

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