Sunday, March 13, 2016

Persuasion (The Spymaster's Men #2)

15810830Amelia Greystone was deeply in love when the Earl of St. Just abruptly ended his courtship and left Cornwall ten years earlier. So she is stunned when Simon returns, recently widowed. Now she must forget the past they shared and his betrayal and console him as any neighbor would. Simon has changed; he is dark and haunted now but he can still make her reel with a single look. When he offers her the position of housekeeper, Amelia knows she must refuse. But for the sake of his children, she throws all caution to the wind.

A British spy, Simon Grenville is now playing both sides in a time of war, his goal to keep his sons safe. Yet when he is brought face-to-face with the woman he once loved, he realizes nothing about his feelings for Amelia has changed; if anything, they are even stronger. Still, Simon knows he must stay away from Amelia; his life is too dangerous now. But sometimes passion is too strong to be denied.

*May Contain Spoilers*
The title was the first thing that caused me to pick up this book. Persuasion immediately made me think of Jane Austen. The love story intrigued me. Reunited after ten years, two people who were in love once have another chance. But it was the spy aspect that sold me. I'm a huge fan of spy novels (and movies). They add a certain intrigue to a character and a sense of adventure to the plot.  And let me tell you, Persuasion, by Brenda Joyce did not disappoint.
Amelia is the main character that readers follow throughout this novel. She's overly compassionate, faithful, extremely loyal, persistent, and very nosy. Readers will understand her remaining heartbreak from the first time Simon Grenville was involved in her life. And they'll definitely know that she's still in love with him, before she realizes it herself. Her character is quite loveable and understandable. She's a trusting woman who knows her morals yet still pushes the boundaries.
Simon Grenville is a man who does anything to survive. A man who is willing to do anything to protect his children. He's also a spy for Great Britain as they face France in 1794. But when he was caught, he also swore to be a spy for France. Playing the double agent is a dangerous game and Simon knows it. He's terrified of what will happen to him and his family. Readers will understand this and acknowledge (at least) his attempt at keeping his two (three?) lives separate. Simon is a dark and twisted character. He's witnessed too much terror and death to be able to escape it.
The plot of Persuasion hinges on the death of Simon's wife where Amelia sees Simon for the first time in a decade. She sees how much Simon and his children are hurting and she can't look away. Her compassion leads her to interfere, wanting to help in any way she can. Soon she takes the position of Simon's housekeeper in order to take care of the children, and Simon. Her feelings for him haven't disappeared, no matter how much she tries to fight it. And his feelings for her have only increased. As Simon tries to save his family from the war, Amelia tries to save Simon from himself. The story line was quite intriguing, kept me turning pages. The war sections were a little confusing to me. I am not a history buff and the whole double agent play mixed me up a few times. I found myself skimming through the details of his work, reading just enough to get the gist. Persuasion wasn't as light and easy a read as other romance novels, very serious and lacking in the witty sarcasm that some romance authors use, but it was still enjoyable. However, a war time love story is an enduring love story. Joyce did a great job at keeping the love story aligned with what was happening in the country.
Rating: 4/5 Cups

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