The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne
June 1, 2010
Paperback, 400 Pages
Why I read: Received for review from the publisher and The Spymaster’s Lady is one of my favorites.
Favorite Quote: I cannot have him. I shall want him every day of my life.
Marguerite de Fleurignac is part of an underground operation in France called La Fleche, to save those destined for the guillotine. She has a large network set throughout France, a country in turmoil. But things start to unravel after her estate is burned to the ground. Fleeing from those who hunt her, she meets another man. William Doyle, although an independent agent, is a British Spy. Marguerite’s father has a very special list that Doyle wants to get his hands on. When he comes upon Marguerite, neither give up their true identity. However, Doyle, having been a spy for many years and is extremely gifted, soon realizes that the very woman he has captured is de Fleurignac’s daughter.
Hoping she will lead him directly to her father, they set off for Paris. Trust soon grows between them, but even more than that, attraction. Doyle has never let a woman make him stupid on an assignment, but this time might be his first. When Marguerite’s father goes missing, and her vengeful cousin cannot be trusted, Doyle is the only one Marguerite can turn to. Along with Adrian Hawker, a young thief Doyle has taken under his wing, the three of them venture into the heart of Paris, where the guillotine is hard a work. With a danger around every corner, they must look upon each other for support, trust and love.
The Forbidden Rose is a prequel to Joanna Bourne’s The Spy Master’s Lady and is a book that is just superbly written. The attention to detail that Joanna Bourne writes is amazing. Her research of the time period shines through and the characters she gives us are so vibrant and full of life, I savored every page and every word.
William Doyle is smitten with Marguerite from the moment he lays eyes on her. Their romance is so rich and sultry. They know it is dangerous to be seen together, even more stupid to find time to be alone. But as Marguerite says, “I do not know how not to love him.” They come together, full well knowing that their love and passion may never have time to by explored in this very dangerous world.
One cannot put the fruit back on the tree. One cannot unbreak the egg. She could not, not ever again for all of eternity, unknow what she knew of his body. Someday, when she was old, she would take this knowledge out as if it were a letter she has treasured. By then, the pain would be thin and crackly, like old paper.
This is a very sensual book and the honesty of Doyle and Marguerite’s feelings for each other contrasted with all the secrets they keep for their “real life” really play off each other well. Besides falling in love, Doyle and Marguerite have a common goal of helping those wrongly accused. Their network is vast and dangerous and you never know who to trust. Joanna Bourne does a beautiful job weaving the romance and danger together to make a story that will leave you captivated.
Another great character, who we meet in The Spymaster’s Lady is Adrian Hawker. Here he is a young teenager, taken off the streets as an adept thief. He loves what he does but would never admit it. He has a sharp tongue and just enough sass that he gives it back to Doyle as good as he gets it. It is so much fun to learn how he first starts and how Doyle slowly smoothes out his rough edges and makes him into the amazing spy he is to become. Joanna Bourne is currently writing his book, due out in late 2011.
The Forbidden Rose is Joanna Bourne’s best work yet. If you loved The Spymaster’s Lady, you will love this one even more. And if you have yet to read Joanna Bourne, you are missing out!