by Celeste Bradley

February 2005
ISBN: 0-312-93116-6
Reviewer Graphic Button St. Martin`s Press
Mass Market Paperback

Author Celeste Bradley knows a good plot when she sees it. Continuing the same chronology she established with her Liar’s Club series, she embarks on her next historical quartet: The Royal Four. And what better way to start than with the most powerful one of all, the Cobra.

The Royal Four are an enigma. Four noblemen with deep-seated patriotism and unquestionable honor, the Cobra, Fox, Falcon and Lion compose this elite secret order who works with the Prime Minister to protect Britain from her enemies, at home and abroad. Nathaniel Stonewell, Earl of Reardon, has made the ultimate sacrifice. He allowed his public persona to be exposed as a traitor while he infiltrated a group of French sympathizers. He has become “Lord Treason” and is rebuked by both society and the working class. This excommunication has allowed him to pursue his quarry unimpeded with the ton’s usual amusements. He is hot on the trail of Sir Lucian Foster, one of the final pro-French faction members, when he is thrown from his horse and rendered senseless.

Willa Trent meant to spring a poacher’s trap with the rock, really. It is much harder to use a slingshot than she expected, and her shot went awry. Those hornets were really upset when their nest was disturbed, and that poor horse was definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time. When Willa discovers the handsome stranger unconscious on the road, she does what any other Good Samaritan would do - she pulls him to the shade and plans to go and fetch some help just as soon as those hornets stop circling overhead.

This inauspicious beginning puts Nate and Willa in a very compromising position and they find themselves wed by the village vicar. The well-meaning townspeople have no idea that the marriage is not legal since the groom is a peer and subject to the Marriage Acts. Willa hopes that her bridegroom will not suffer the same fate as her previous suitors. The very idea that she could somehow be responsible for a series of accidents is ludicrous. But too many strange things happen to men who are interested in Willa.

So readers will have plenty to keep them busily reading the pages of To Wed a Scandalous Spy. From the “curse” to the traitors, Nate and Willa will have their hands full. There is Reardon’s family to deal with as well as the rest of “Lord Treason’s” enemies. With sparkling dialog and lots of wit, this series is off to a great start.

Reviewed in January 2005 by Paula.

Read more reviews of Celeste Bradley books.Click Here