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Love, Lies and Spies


In which plans for a season without romance are unapologetically foiled.

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Swoon Index

  • Heat

    6 (5 ratings)

  • Tears

    6 (2 ratings)

  • Laughs

    8 (9 ratings)

  • Thrills

    7 (5 ratings)

Full Description

Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She's much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she's determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana's traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.


Despite squishing her toes into the rock face as tightly as possible, Juliana’s heels were only just barely accommodated by the jutting amalgamate. The occasional skitter and plop of eroding rocks diving into the depths of the brackish water did nothing to calm her racing heart.

Juliana swallowed convulsively. “Most embarrassing.” She shivered despite a warm April breeze. “I shall be considered completely beyond the pale if I am dashed upon the rocks. Aunt will be so uncomfortable. Most inconsiderate of me.”

A small shower of sandy pebbles rained down on Juliana’s flowery bonnet. She shook the dust from her eyes and listened. She thought she had heard a voice.

Please, she prayed, let it be a farmer or a tradesman, someone not of the gentry. No one who would feel obligated to report back to Grays Hill Park. No gentlemen, please.

“Hello?” she called out. Juliana craned her neck upward, trying to see beyond the roots and accumulated thatch at the cliff’s edge.

A head appeared. A rather handsome head. He had dark, almost black, hair and clear blue eyes and, if one were to notice such things at a time like this, a friendly, lopsided smile.


"It’s Jane Austen meets Jane Foster in Anstey’s debut novel, which serves up a delightful combination of Regency romance, scientific curiosity, and spy intrigue for a tale that will have readers rooting for love and science." —Entertainment Weekly

"A tongue-in-cheek nod to Regency romances, Anstey’s lighthearted novel is perfect for readers looking for an Austen-inspired tale of intrigue and romance. The story gets an additional boost from Juliana’s many humorous scrapes, which are unbefitting of a nineteenth-century lady. This would make a nice companion for Garth Nix’s farcical Newt’s Emerald." —Booklist

"An adorable little romp in Regency-era London, perfectly-paced and delightfully entertaining. It had me grinning from ear to ear, cover to cover. And the best part of all is that it seems to be a stand-alone with none of those ridiculous miscommunications. It really was just a pleasure to read!" —The Starry-Eyed Revue

"I never want it to end. I cannot tell you how much I love this book. Juliana, Spencer, Bobbington, ALL of them are just so utterly wonderful. This is BETTER than Georgette Heyer. YEP, I SAID IT. It even reminds me of my absolute favorite—the regency romances by Jude Morgan. … Just wonderful!" —Kelly Zekas, co-author of These Vicious Masks

"A wonderful read with a loveable quirky heroine. Just what I needed for thrills and entertainment over the holidays!" —Christine Sarah, Swoon Reader

"What a delightful read! I saved this for the winter holidays and was not disappointed in its value for escape, chuckles and lighthearted fun. The characters are well fleshed out, the dialogue believable and the plot engaging. I feel as though I took a vacation in Regency England, so real did that historical period seem as it leapt from the pages." —Deborah, Swoon Reader

"A quirky witty heroine, a dashing gentleman, a dirty scumbag, loads of intrigue and a charming ending...a lovely story indeed." —Pocahontas, Swoon Reader

"Such an enjoyable read! It had some of the very best of what I like in Regency novels, including a plot twist (or two!) and a happy ending. I couldn't put it down!" —Leslie Moon, Swoon Reader