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Monday, April 4, 2016

Review: To Steal a Heart (Secrets and Spies #1) by K.C. Bateman


Print Length: 314 pages
Publisher: Loveswept (February 23, 2016)

From Goodreads.com: In a dazzling historical romance that’s perfect for fans of Sabrina Jeffries, Lisa Kleypas, and Courtney Milan, debut author K. C. Bateman brings Napoleonic France to life as a master spy and a beautiful thief find love and intrigue in each other’s arms.

Forced to do the bidding of a corrupt government minister, Marianne de Bonnard agrees to plant incriminating evidence in the offices of France’s most notorious spymaster. Under cover of night, the tightrope-walking thief puts her skills to good use—until her aerial stunt is foiled when her target appears in the window and, with consummate poise, helps Marianne off the wire and into his lair. The tremors that run through her body are not just from fear; there’s an unwanted frisson of desire there, too. But is it because of her elegant, wickedly handsome host . . . or his proposition?


Nicolas Valette has had plans for his graceful trespasser since he witnessed her unique skills at the Cirque Olympique. Sinuous as a cat, Marianne is perfect for his next mission, but she refuses his generous offer for fear of disobeying her family’s tormentor. When their mutual enemy auctions off her virginity to the highest bidder, Nicolas leaps at the chance to purchase her cooperation. Keeping her will be like trying to tame a wild animal, but what’s life without a little risk? Besides, Nicolas and Marianne both want the same thing: revenge—and, perhaps, something else that’s equally delicious.


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My Rating: 4 stars out of 5
For the most part, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. There were some parts that seemed to drag on, and others that I wish the author had spent more time on, but on the whole this was an engaging read. 

The characters were complex and vastly different from one another, which is part of the reason I think they worked so well together. Marianne was born the daughter of a count and countess, but lost her parents in a fire. Due to those circumstances she ended up under the thumb of a vile and corrupt Uncle and  became a thief who thought of little else but keeping her younger sister safe (and stealing). Nicolas holds an (English) title and is hell bent on revenge - or perhaps avenging the death of a loved one is more apt. Apart they are on fire, but together? They are scorching! The chemistry between these two was undeniable, even when they were at each other's throats. There were parts of this novel that were so realistic that I felt like I was there with them. I felt their apprehension, their fear, and ultimately their joy. 

On the flip side of that - I found it hard to believe that Marianne at first went along with the plan considering she knew the truth about Nicolas "buying" her and her sister. I also found it a bit hard to swallow that all of these events happened in just a weeks time. While the story at the forefront (the "love" story between Marianne and Nicolas) perhaps makes sense to have happened during that time frame, I find it hard to believe she accepted her sister's eventual marriage (considering if I remember correctly her sister was but sixteen). After everything they went through, I find the fact that Marianne didn't get to know him better or at least talk to her sister beforehand a bit hard to swallow. 

There are some pretty dire circumstances, some amazing escapes, and a whole lot of subterfuge involved in this story however, and ultimately that is why I kept reading. In the end it wasn't about whether or not they would have their happily ever after together, or whether separately they would fulfill their ultimate goals.

Overall, I would certainly recommend this novel to anyone who enjoys a good historical novel that focuses less on the romance aspect of things and more of the overall story. 


DISCLAIMER: I received a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review. This has not affected my review in any way. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are 100% my own.

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 To Steal a Heart (Secrets and Spies #1) is available from Amazon.com

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