Genres: Historical Romance, Romance
Published by Sourcebooks Landmark on June 4, 2013
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Purchase Links: Amazon ✦ Barnes & Noble
Book Links: Goodreads
A deadly game of deception
A notorious beauty with a shadowy past
In the time of Napoleon, Vidia Swanson appears to live a gilded life of ease and luxury. Beneath this façade, however, she works for the Home Office as an ‘angel,’ coaxing secrets from powerful men who may or may not be traitors to the Crown. In the course of her latest assignment, matters take an alarming turn when she realizes that her spymaster suspects that she is the one who is tainted--a double agent working for the enemy.
Lucien Carstairs is a fellow agent with his own dark secrets--unless he is setting an elaborate trap to reveal her own supposed treason. Backed into a corner, she can only hope to stay one step ahead of the hangman in a race to stop the next war before it destroys them--and destroys England.
Tainted Angel offers up a compelling game of cat and mouse in which no one can be trusted--and anyone can be tainted
I requested to read Tainted Angel by Anne Cleeland because the premise sounded promising. Who wouldn’t want to read a Regency historical romance novel with a female lead who is essentially a spy? Needless to say my expectations for this book were pretty high.
I had some conflicting emotions while reading this book. To begin with, I did like this book overall, but there were times I didn’t enjoy reading it. My major complaint about this book was the extremely slow pacing of the plot; at times it seemed as if nothing was happening at all. It was a slow read during the first half of the book, but thankfully my interest in the story and the characters remained intact.
I think what I liked most about Tainted Angel were the mysteries surrounding the main plot of the story and the identities of some of the characters. The heroine of the story, Vidia, was one big mystery herself. It took some time for Vidia to reveal who she truly was to the readers as well as to the hero of the story, Carstairs. As a result, I had a difficult time trying to figure out her motivations and what her true personality was. Which I guess worked well for the story overall. Either way, it was fun trying to figure out who she was before the author revealed her true identity.
Carstairs and Vidia together romantically were as compelling as the characters themselves. While I enjoyed their interactions, it was a little difficult for me to buy how quickly their romance progressed. Especially since both lied quite often and kept secrets from one another. It’s not surprising there was a lack of trust between the two. But I did enjoy the game of cat and mouse they played; they each worked hard to get the upper hand. I will say one thing: Vidia met her match in Carstairs. Talk about a complex relationship. In a way, they were perfect for each other, because no one else would have been able to keep up with them.
In the end, Tainted Angel was an eventful read. Anne Cleeland did a respectable job with her first novel in what is to be a Regency historical fiction series. Sure the pacing was a little slow in places, but the overall quality of the story, the compelling characters, and the juicy revelation near the end of the book made this a satisfying read. (Reviewed by Quiana – The Book Lover).