Harry Harmon goes by many names as spymaster extraordinaire and master of disguises. At the moment Harry needs a smart and beautiful courtesan to gain entrée to a country house party in order to spy on enemies threatening England, and, above all...she mustn't lie.
As a beautiful, young, genteel lady Simone Ryland is desperate for funds to keep her brother in school. With no references and nothing left of material value to sell, Simone decided to approach Mrs. Burton's bawdy house in search of work. Harry's friend Mrs. Burton recognized Simone to be everything Harry was looking for to assist him, Simone also turned out to be more of a temptation than Harry bargained for as well.
*** One thing I've learned is that one should never begin a book by Barbara Metzger in the evening, especially if one must get up early the next morning. First of all I couldn't stop myself from picking the book up to study the beautiful cover. Yes, I know you don't judge a book by it's cover but the artwork on the last few of Ms. Metzger's books, i.e. THE HOURGLASS; TRULY YOURS; and THE SCANDALOUS LIEFE OF A TRUE LADY are simply outstanding! However, fantastic covers are just bait, because once you start reading, you are firmly caught up in the original, sensual and humorous romantic Regency world that is a trademark for this master wordsmith.
Metzger has continued this second novel (the first being TRULY YOURS) with the theme of a blessed/cursed family trait handed down to male issue of knowing the `truth' when they hear it. Not all have the same reaction to lies, and in Harry's case, he tastes it! Unlike his poor cousin Daniel, who itches in some very embarrassing places. With the war over, Harry wants only to complete his service to thwart a ruinous plot to overthrow the government and to finally bury his main alter ego of Major Harrison. The author first introduced Harry in TRULY YOURS as the illegitimate issue of the Earl of Royce setting the plot, giving him motivation and finally this story. Simone was also a gem. Smart and savvy and I loved the way the author reasoned out why her last valuable asset, her virginity, was hers to bestow knowing as an unprotected female living in genteel poverty, it would only be a matter of time before it might be taken by force. This story boasts a plethora of memorable characters especially the assorted mistresses who were oftentimes scandalously funny. I really loved cousin Daniel and hope Ms. Metzger is planning his story next, as with his reaction to lies it is bound to be hilarious!
Bottom line - This is one of the most amusing and original stories you'll find in this genre by an author who continues to satisfy and charm her fans!
Marilyn Rondeau, for www.Ck2skwipsandkritiques.com