The Lady's Code (Berkley Sensation) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Aug 2006
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
September 2, 2006
Rating: 4 Stars
In THE LADY'S CODE by Samantha Saxon, Lady Juliet Pervill has become the talk of the town, having been caught by her current suitor Lord Robert Barksdale in the arms of another man. Juliet was with Lord Harrington against her will, and Lord Harrington was trying to ruin her reputation to take revenge on her father. Now, Juliet's life is ruined, but she is not one to let something like this get in her way.
Juliet, ever the unconventional lady, decides to make use of her education, that of a background in calculus of all things, and applies for a job with the Foreign Office. She soon becomes the expert at deciphering code, working for Falcon and finding clues that will help the British win the fight against Napoleon.
At her new job, she is now working beside Seamus McCurren, who has a difficult time focusing when he's with Lady Juliet. She drives him nuts, in more ways than one, and the two of them bump heads as they try to decipher the French code. Of course one knows that eventually the two will fall for each other, but it takes a while before either of them realize that there is a mutual attraction between them. It does make things difficult when it appears that Juliet is much better at her job than Seamus is!
I loved this third novel by Samantha Saxon. For those who enjoy historical romances featuring strong women in roles traditionally held by men, this is highly recommended. Lots of humor and fun characters abound. Juliet represents the type of woman that is not afraid to break tradition and go against the grain. And it is always satisfying when the hero falls for a woman who does not epitomize the conventional description of a beautiful woman.
*** Though there was no real feeling of danger or suspense, this is a credible romance. Juliet is an interesting heroine, managing to be unconventional without being zany, a welcome relief. ***
Reviewed by Amanda Killgore for Huntress Reviews.
can i say i have been totally enjoying this series so far? can i say that this book was so good i finished it in one day? can i say this author has made me a fan who will be purchasing her books as soon as they hit the stands?
you bet i can.
this story was a perfect blend of intrigue, chemistry, witty dialogue, sensual intimacy, and intelligence. when i got to the end i was so disappointed it was over!
synopsis of the plot:
lady juliet pervill has just been ruined by an enemy of her father and is shunned from ton events. being the very bright and clever lady she is, she knows she will die of boredom if she doesn't find something to occupy her time until the ton forgets and her reputation is restored (if ever). she cries over what is lost, but eventually makes her way to the foreign office and volunteers her services. she just so happens to be brilliant in calculus, having received an honorary degree from oxford, so this isn't just talk. she really IS brilliant.
so of course the head of the office, lord falcon, enlists her and pairs her up with fellow cryptologist seamus mccurren, who just so happens to be both brilliant AND handsome. the sparks fly immediately as they take turns cutting each other to bits with their barbs.
the thing is, juliet isn't the conventional beauty. she's petite, has freckles, and at times is mistaken for a child because she looks so young (she's 22). she knows her looks aren't all that great, but she knows she's smart and that's what i totally love about her. not only is she smart, but she loves men and admiring the male form. this isn't to say she's promiscuous. it means she does not cower away from a man if he shows attraction for her. she speaks her mind and has a clever response tinged with sarcasm for every ocassion. she was just everything i love in a heroine and that made me care about her and root for her to get her man.
and seamus...what a man he is! he's so smart he feels like an outcast in a land of mortal men, so handsome the women throw themselves at him, so in control of all aspects of his life. this makes him all the more endearing as the reader watches him struggle with his attraction for juliet. the smart, controlled man is suddenly clueless and uncontrolled when it comes to his attraction for juliet.
the author did a great job of giving the reader a multi-faceted rendering of both juliet and seamus. they aren't perfect. they're stubborn, prideful, vulnerable, and will ocassionally say things they know will hurt the other because they're hurt. that's what made this romance so real. these characters were real to me.
the chemistry? BURNING. their first kiss completely took me by surprise and the way it was instigated had me both laughing and nodding my head as i felt that moment where a person finally finds someone who is a perfect match mentally...that's a true blessing. mind you, there isn't all that much sex in the book and what sex there is occurs late in the book, but there are plenty of sizzling encounters and the author does a fantastic job of creating just the right touch of emotional intensity and details so that i felt almost as satisfied as the participants. it wasn't too clinical or too purple.
secondary characters? for the first time since the julia quinn bridgerton series, i'm totally in love with all of the secondary characters. to be fair, i've read all three of the novels in this series so i've had plenty of time to aquaint myself with them. i would suggest you purchase the first two books, not because you need them in order to understand this story, because you don't. it works well as a stand alone. however, it's obvious that all of these characters will be featured as heros and heroines in future books, so it's a good idea to get to know them. saxon doesn't just cookie cut her characters. they all have distinct voices and yet are complex enough so that at times i was surprised at some of their actions. they actually added to the story instead of making me feel as though i was being cheated out of time with the leading couple.
the subplot regarding the cracking of the code was also compelling. while the identity of the villian is made known to the reader rather early on, the suspense kills as you wait to see how juliet and seamus will figure it out and catch the evil doer. as another reviewer said, the villian might have been bad, but the reader definitely understand why they're motivated to behave in the manner they have. the good thing is that that part of the story didn't take up a ridiculous amount of the book as a whole. this was focused on the romance for the most part, which is my preference.
i do agree with the other reviewer who said seamus took a bit longer to recognize his feelings for juliet than i would have wanted, but hey...sometimes guys really ARE bullheaded like that.
so if you like the idea of diving into characters with some depth to them, enjoy feasting on sensual encounters that titilate, love a hero and heroine who have a cumbustible chemistry and are intelligent enough so that their banter really IS witty and biting, are partial to romance stories with just enough intrigue to keep the story interesting outside of the leading couple, and a secondary cast that makes you want to really get to know those people better, then this is the story for you.
When she is "ruined" by a slimy peer intent on revenge againt her feckless father and deserted by her cowardly suitor, Lady Juliet decides to offer her services to the Foreign Office to help in breaking French codes during the Napoleonic wars. She is teamed with Seamus McCurren (brother of Daniel from THE LADY KILLER)who is almost instantly enthralled by a woman whose intellect is more than a match for his own. Of course, Seamus refuses to acknowledge his romantic interest, instead treating Juliet as an irritant. However, her talk of differential calculus arouses him so much that he finds himself kissing her passionately! Juliet, who is surprisingly honest about her fascination with men's bodies and charms, returns his passion. Both confused by the encounter, they each go on the offensive and the battle of wits begins.
Saxon's books feature a large cast of characters, the secondary characters being almost as interesting as the heroine and hero. However, none of her characters spends much time in reflection and (unlike in the work of Mary Balogh, Jo Beverley or Mary Jo Putney) readers do not learn enough of their interior lives to really care deeply about any of them. On the other hand, Saxon spends a surprising amount of time delving into the minds and motivations of her villains and even - I think this is a first in my experience - offers some sex scenes involving the villains! There is also an unexpected amount of vicious bloodletting.
This book ends with an obvious leadin to the next in the series. If Saxon continues with her fine plotting, it will be worth reading. If she would do some more work on her characters' hearts and souls, it may also be worth keeping.