Help A Bitch Out

HaBO: Spy Lady

Rani writes in asking for help with a book she read 10 years ago, or thereabouts:

It has been driving me crazy not being able to recall this book. Please, please post this to your readers so I can finally get some relief.

Read it about 10 years ago and it’s stuck with me this whole time.

It’s 1800s. Girl somehow ends up in the spying business. She has a spymaster, who was the guy she ends up falling for. The thing that stood out was that they were in a location that I wasn’t used to in romance novels.  Eastern Europe. Prussia? or Russia? Maybe Vienna? and not in England. I think she lost her father. Her father was the spymaster of her spymaster. That’s how she gets involved.

For some reason, I also remember the book having a purple cover. Very nondescript cover. No half naked pic of her instead like a glasses or something.

I remember this book being so interesting because it was one of the first spy romance novels I had ever read where the girl becomes the spy. Unlike the guy being the spy and just bringing the girl along.

If nothing else, can anyone else suggest some good historical romance spy novels? Something in the same vein as Joanna Bourne’s Spymaster’s Lady?

I admit: I love spy stories. I even tried to write a spy romance long, long ago before I started this site. Love them – so, anyone recognize this book, or have really standout spy romance to recommend?

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    miz_geek says:

    Maybe one of Mary Jo Putney’s Fallen Angels series?  Petals in the Storm was about spies and had a pinkish/purple cover.

  2. 2
    handyhunter says:

    I don’t think this is what you’re looking for, but what about Tracy Grant’s Secrets of a Lady (formerly titled Daughter of the Game)?

  3. 3
    donna ann says:

    I don’t know the one your asking about, but if interested in female spy’s in historicals a few years ago read a trilogy by Andrea Pickens that was enjoyable.  Premise was school for female agents in regency (I think it was) England. Each book had an agent sent off on a mission.  The 3 books were:  The Spy Wore Silk , Seduced by a Spy , & The Scarlet Spy

  4. 4

    Jenna Petersen wrote a trilogy of lady spies: From London With Love, Desire Never Dies and Seduction is Forever. I liked them enough to put them on my “must reread” list.

  5. 5

    I know these aren’t what you were thinking of but what about the Pink Carnation series by Lauren Willig.  Those are spy novels around the time of the Napoleonic Wars.

  6. 6
    Hannah says:

    Caroline Linden has written several books featuring spies—You Only Love Once, For Your Arms Only, and A View to a Kiss are the ones I recall.

  7. 7
    Isobel Carr says:

    I know it wasn’t Grant’s Secrets of a Lady/Daughter of the Game, but man do I love that series!!!

  8. 8

    I really hope someone figures this out, because I adore spy romances.

  9. 9
    lilywhite says:

    The mention of “The Spymaster’s Lady” made me realize I’d never reviewed it at Amazon, and when I went to do just that, discovered that they fixed the cover:

  10. 10
    Karenmc says:

    I don’t recognize this book, but there’s a trilogy of lady spy books written by Samantha Saxon that I enjoyed a lot: The Lady Killer,The Lady Lies and The Lady’s Code. I’ve never found anything else written by her, which is too bad.

  11. 11
    Maria says:

    Wish I could help, but I’d like to thank everyone for adding to my wish list!

  12. 12
    Jessica says:

    I’m no help on the HaBO either, but there’s a massive list of spy romance novels at All About Romance.

  13. 13
    JBHunt says:

    Joanna Bourne’s latest, The Forbidden Rose, is fabulous, too. It features another very strong female spy.

    For something lighthearted, try Lauren Willig’s The Secret History of the Pink Carnation and its sequels.

    Both are French Rev/Napoleonic Era.

  14. 14
    Gennita Low says:

    Not your book but highly recommend Adele Ashworth’s Winter Garden. It’s a keeper.

  15. 15
    Emily says:

    What about Nita Abrams?  The Exiles is set in Vienna.

  16. 16
    lilywhite says:

    @JBHunt -

    OMG Doyle and Maggie!  I hadn’t seen that this book even existed.  I’m so delighted!

    Now she has to write one about Adrian.  I’d love to see what sort of woman he’d end up with!

  17. 17
    Sarah Elle says:

    Hmm, maybe the HABO book is Violet by Jane Feather? The cover is absolutely purple and definitely non-descript.

  18. 18
    Mimi says:

    could it be moonlit obsession by jill gregory?  i believe the heroine is wearing a pinkish-purple dress that takes up most of the cover…

  19. 19
    Lyssa says:

    Nita Abrams wrote a wonderful series of Spy novels set in the Napolionic war about a family of spies. I remember the novels being both interesting and different when I read them. (The family is Jewish and in England at that time you had to be ‘Church of England” to be an officer, also it was ‘forbidden’ for cross religious marriages) 

    Here are the covers:

    spamword :longer35 I have been reading romance novels longer than 35 years.

  20. 20
    Rani says:

    Thank you so much for your responses! Even if it isn’t figured out, I have so much to add on my reading list. 

    I searched each suggestion and so far no go.

    I thought you figured it out with Moonlit Obsession but hero is American and I remember that he was British.

    I just read Caroline Linden’s You Only Love Once and Bourne’s Forbidden Rose. Currently reading the Spy who Wore Silk by Pickens.

    to lilywhite: you’re so right. I can’t wait for Adrian’s story. Whoever that heroine is, she’ll have to be one hell of a girl to match him.

  21. 21
    cate says:

    @Karenmc : I loved that series of Samantha Saxon too. Does anyone know if she’s still writing ?
    @ Rani, Soundrel by Elizabeth Elliott rings a bell, but the cover’s red

  22. 22
    dick says:

    Might it be “The Guarded Heart” by Barbara Hazard?

    Blurb:Beautiful Erica Stone left Regency England for Vienna with a husband she barely knew. But she found her husband mysteriously murdered and herself alone in a city of romance, where women were playthings and words of love were lies.

    Owen Kingsley, the handsome, cynical Duke of Graves, promised her protection if only she would spy for England among the licentious lords of Europe. Erica, of course, expected that she would be tangling with danger and intrigue and barely raised an eyebrow when her noble targets offered her dubious pleasures at the price of honor. But Erica never dreamed she would soon be wrestling with her own blazing passion for the tantalizingly reserved duke, whose first achingly tender kiss sparked a burning desire in her more powerfully exciting than her heart had ever felt before….

  23. 23
    Cat Marsters says:

    I can’t wait for Adrian’s story. Whoever that heroine is, she’ll have to be one hell of a girl to match him.

    I think she said it would be Justine, who has a part in The Forbidden Rose. That’s going to be a really interesting courtship: they’re both very old souls even in TFR when they’re still children.

  24. 24
    Jo Vandewall says:

    This is probably farther from romance than you want to go and historically they only go back to the cold war, but if you want to expand in the spy genre, anything by Helen McInnes is well worth reading. Also Anne Armstrong Thompson wrote some lovely spy novels. (I remember a very hot scene—though not explicit—in Message from Absalom that involved lace underwear.) These have more emphasis on spying than romance but, maybe because they’re written by women, there’s an awareness of the male-female dynamic that spy novels by men seem to lack.

  25. 25
    Barb says:

    @Jo Vandewall
    OMG! Someone else who has read Message From Absalom.  I loved that book!!  I read all of Thompson’s and that was my favorite of hers.  I was also a big Helen MacInnes fan, though some of her later books got very dark (she was not above killing off main characters!) Decision at Delphi and Venetian Affair where ones that I re-read often.
    Thank you for jogging my memory.

  26. 26
    Jo Vandewall says:

    It’s so rare to find anyone who’s even heard of Thompson. And I LOVE a good spy novel. I think she only wrote 3 books of which Message was the best. (If you know of more, please let me know.) I’ve read all of McInnes’, too. Wish she was still around to write more.

  27. 27
    Barb says:

    @Jo Vandewall
    Yeah, I read all three of them, too.  All written in the mid-late 1970’s.  The Library of Congress online catalog only lists the three titles for her.  And no one has done a Wiki for her.  So I really don’t know any more about her.  Don’t know what happened that she only did the three books.

  28. 28
    JBHunt says:

    lilywhite and Cat—Yes, I think the next book must be Adrian and Justine’s story. I can’t wait!

  29. 29
    Kirsten says:

    I second Mary Jo Putney’s Petals on the Storm. It takes place in France but some of the characters are Prussian. Her father is killed in France while they are traveling, and she poses as a Hungarian countess. Her partner is a British spy, and the head spymaster is friends with the hero.

    I love love love all the Fallen Angels books.

  30. 30
    Rudi_bee says:

    I’m pretty certain that this isn’t it BUT this made me think of Amanda Quick’s book Slightly Shady. In any case I now have a whole bunch of new books to check out.

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