Calling all Jane Austen fans, come welcome Sophia Rose to the blog with a romantic suspense audiobook you’ll want to grab as Pride & Prejudice characters are populating a Cold War espionage romance thriller.
by Karen M. Cox
Narrator: Elizabeth Grace
Length: 9 hours 37 minutes
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Purchase*: Amazon | Audible *affiliate
Narration: 5 cups Speed: 1.3x
…if I endeavor to undeceive people as to the rest of his conduct, who will believe me?
-Pride and Prejudice, Chapter 40
During the last gasp of the Cold War, Elizabeth Bennet, a young, forthright counterintelligence officer, embarks on an exciting assignment that would make her late father, a fallen CIA operative, proud. She transfers to Europe to investigate the legendary and elusive William Darcy, an officer in line for the coveted Soviet station chief position who’s suspected of being a double agent.
William Darcy appears to lead a charmed existence, but now he finds himself fighting for his career and against his growing feelings for the young woman he doesn’t know is watching his every move.
Elizabeth wants to throw the book at him, but the facts don’t match her preconceptions. Is Darcy being set up? Are there darker forces at work? Or is William Darcy a skilled double agent after all? Nothing is as it seems, however, and the closer Elizabeth gets to the truth about Darcy, the more she spirals into danger.
Undeceived, the new novel by award-winning author, Karen M. Cox, is part romance, part spy game suspense—a compelling variation on Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s classic tale.
Sophia Rose Review’s
Queue the thrilling music that screams danger and excitement, dim the lights, and prepare for some old style spy action. Jane Austen’s well-loved Pride & Prejudice characters are populating a Cold War espionage romance thriller.
While it was fun that that Undeceived is flavored by Austen’s P&P, I found it a lovely twisting page-turner in its own right. Readers don’t need to be familiar with the classic this one is based on since really all they have to like is a good spy romance.
I loved that the author set this one in the Cold War Era which was definitely a time that I associate with the need for intelligence and counter-intelligence work. Defections, double agents, and everyone uneasy about what the other side is doing. There was a nostalgic tone, but there were also intense, tough moments. The setting, backstories, and plot all felt authentic to the time. Darcy and Elizabeth’s parents were part of the Vietnam era and Bay of Pigs fiasco giving good backstory. I liked how the author used fabulous exotic settings and even wrote in some spy gadgetry, codes, and mission work.
The reader can see what the heroine can’t. She is an otherwise intelligent, strong-willed, skilled rookie agent that is compassionate and determined to do her job well, but she let her bruised personal pride blind her so she doesn’t have objectivity. She is attracted to the guy she thinks she can’t stand and she is grudgingly impressed by his superior skills and abilities. I enjoyed her fiery nature and respected how she handled being undeceived by the truth. She totally rocked the woman power without a chip on her shoulder.
As to the hero, I love it when one is never quite sure what to think in a thriller or romantic suspense. The writer chose to keep the reader in the know somewhat so this wasn’t the huge twisty surprise part. Darcy was a likable hero. He has enough flaws not to be too perfect, but his strengths make him total weak-knee hero material. Getting to his secrets and seeing the truth about him when it came out was an absolute pleasure.
The rest of the cast of characters were interesting and I enjoyed how they wove into the story and the parts they played. I liked how many of them had secrets, skills, and agendas that played into the story so they weren’t just there to prop up behind Darcy and Elizabeth.
The plot itself with its mystery of who the double agent was and how that person would be stopped was furious page-turning stuff. I had my suspicions about things and I got most of it right, but even then, I barely figured out the last twist before it came. Love it when an author can surprise me like that.
The story is a pretty equal balance of romance and suspense which worked well, I thought. There are hints of spice in the romance which was slow to build since they were more hostile than loving for much of the story, but I liked how they felt equal and made good partners even if not sure of each other. The suspense propelled the romance and vice versa.
And as a side note, I don’t normally point out covers, but isn’t this one gorgeous and perfect for the story?
This was my second outing with Elizabeth Grace as narrator and I have to say that it was sheer pleasure listening in to her mildly husky tones and captivating way of voicing her characters. The book was already engaging, but her narration work took it to a new depth. I didn’t want to stop listening once I started. She especially shone when she caught the sizzling attraction underscoring Elizabeth and Darcy’s dialogues and scenes.
So all in all, my enthusiasm never dampened and I was riveted for much of the book. This spicy, intriguing romantic suspense is a definite recommend to romantic suspense lovers especially who want to get nostalgic over a Cold War spy romance. For Austenesque lovers, this is most definitely for those who enjoy a modern(ish) retelling.
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