I have to hand it to Kate Noble for really turning my opinion around with her latest release Revealed. For the first five chapters I couldn't stand the heroine, Phillippa Benning. Phillippa annoyed me right from the start. She is a widow and the darling of the ton. Her beauty and fortune is unmatched and she can ruin someone with the bat of an eyelash. In other words, I found her to be a stuck up bitch. She grated on my nerves because she came across as a snobbish, spoiled, and a bit mean. Phillippa is so un-heroine like. But then when she is introduced to Marcus Wroth, my opinion changed. Marcus sees Phillippa the same way I first saw her. But ever so slowly as his opinion changes about her, mine did also. By the end of Revealed I really liked Phillippa.
Revealed is a lovely historical romance. Even though this may seem to be yet another spy drama where the spunky heroine tries to help the hero, Kate makes sure to throw all those clichés out the window. Phillippa and Marcus make a great team. What you see is not what you get. They have two sides to their nature. One side is their performance, an act they put on for the benefits of those around them. The other side is what they hide inside; their true face that they eventually show to one another. These are two people who are intelligent and caring but also very sly. Phillippa may think she has Marcus wrapped around her finger, but Marcus knows what Phillippa is up to and handles her quite well.
When we are introduced to Phillippa she is flirting with the Marquis of Broughton who would be perfect as her next husband. If they married, they would be the king and queen of the ton. Phillippa almost has the Marquis in the palm of her hand, but her enemy Lady Jane Cummings also wants the Marquis. Phillippa and Jane have a long standing rivalry that goes back to their school days. Both give each other cutting remarks and want to win the ultimate prize in catching Broughton. Phillippa decides that some alone time with Broughton is needed and plans for him to meet her in the library during a ball. As she and Broughton are about to get to know each other much better, their host, Lord Fieldstone almost comes upon them. The room is full of priceless, ancient artifacts and Phillippa hides in a mummy's sarcophagus so she is not caught with Broughton. If this wasn't bad, she finds herself sharing the space with another man. That is where she makes the acquaintance of Mr. Marcus Wroth.
Marcus helps Phillippa after both Fieldstone and Broughton leave even though she is not at all grateful towards him. Before Phillippa can go back to the party, she must hide again because Fieldstone has returned. She also hears a very interesting conversation between Wroth and Fieldstone. Fieldstone is the director of the War Department and apparently Marcus works for him. Even though the war with the French is over, Marcus believes Laurent, a French agent and an old enemy, is on his way to London. Fieldstone wants Marcus to retire and that means the infamous Blue Raven will retire also.
Because Marcus has some difficulty in attending the most exclusive of Ton events, Phillippa agrees to help him gain access to these parties if she can unveil his identity at her own ball. Marcus is not amused because Phillippa is playing with fire and could get hurt, but Phillippa will not listen to reason and thinks of herself as his partner. As both Phillippa and Marcus go to various Ton events, some unfortunate accidents happen. Marcus will flush out this villain and try to keep Phillippa out of harm's way. But Phillippa has gotten under Marcus's skin and he doesn't want to let her out of his sight.
Revealed is witty and engaging and Kate Noble's storytelling is wonderful. There is also some great suspense, wonderful laughs and nice passionate love scenes. Again, you really have to hand it to Kate with the way she writes Phillippa. As we follow Phillippa's thoughts and actions, she grows on you, especially when she and Marcus begin to interact with one another. As Marcus's opinion about Phillippa changes, mine did also. Phillippa seems to be an empty headed beauty with a life of privilege; but she is very intelligent and cares for those around her. Her ability to remember things and keep a level head in the face of danger is admirable. Too bad she couldn't be a spy, because she would be quite good at the job.
I had no complaints with Marcus. He puts himself in danger even though he may not receive any reward for it. And when he becomes close to Phillippa and they essentially become friends, he has no choice but to fall for her charms. Even though Marcus cares deeply for Phillippa, he won't allow her to walk all over him. These two try to deny their feelings for one another, but when they can no longer push these feelings to the side, they come together in a passionate way.
Lady Jane also caught my interest because she keeps Phillippa on her toes as she tries to steal Broughton away from her. But she is also like Phillippa in the sense she is not whom she seems. Even Broughton has a unique personality and is not just along for the ride. He is there to add some tension between Phillippa and Marcus. I wouldn't mind seeing Broughton get his own story in the future.
Revealed is one historical romance that came as a pleasant surprise. I will definitely keep my eye on future releases from Kate Noble.