THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK – Alyssa Alexander
A Spy in the Ton Novel , #1
Berkley Sensation
ISBN: 978-0-425-26952-7
January 2014
Historical Romance

Devon England, 1813

Lord Julian Travers is known as the Wandering Earl because of his many pleasure-seeking travels. Given the dissolute natures of his father and grandfather, the ton doesn't expect much of him besides his good looks and charm. The ton is wrong, however. Julian in no way wants to follow in his sire's footsteps; he wants his life to have meaning. The Travers reputation does serve him well in one area, however, no one would ever guess he is a valuable spy for England. And now—because of someone's betrayal—it seems he's of no more use abroad. Luckily, he comes up with a way to serve the cause in England. Unfortunately, to do so means returning to his home estate in Devon, a place he hates. It seems someone is smuggling dangerous information to the French from nearby.

The Devon coast is a hotbed of smugglers, and among their number is one Miss Grace Hannah, a poor relation of a local minor baron, who uses her as a servant. Grace and her friends are “honest” smugglers…i.e. not traitors to their country. Nevertheless, she and the men come under suspicion, and Julian, Lord Langston sets out to get to know her. He turns on the charm and, for the first time, has trouble keeping focus on his work.

THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK is many-faceted. Julian and Grace are attractive protagonists whose worth is revealed as the story progresses. He's noble with a tragic past. She's generous, caring and widely liked in the area—especially by the common folk—in spite of her uncle's poor treatment of her. The plot thickens as the hunt for the traitor heats up until suspense and danger run side by side with a very troubled relationship between Julian and Miss Gracie (as the local call her).

I highly recommend this novel. The writing is first rate and, luckily for us, it's just the first in a series. Next comes a story featuring another spy, a marquess whom we meet briefly in this one. Watch for THE SMUGGLER WORE SILK and, later on, IN BED WITH A SPY.

Jane Bowers