Welcome to blog tour for The Gentleman Spy by Erica Vetsch! My goodness I am so in love with this series, and I have to wait until March for the next book. BOO! But, I know it’ll be worth the wait, because Erica writes the best stories!
ABOUT THE BOOK
He only wanted a duchess for a day–but she’s determined to make it a marriage for life
When his father and older brother suddenly pass away, the new Duke of Haverly is saddled with a title he never expected to bear. To thwart the plans of his scheming family, the duke impulsively marries a wallflower. After all, she’s meek and mild; it should be easy to sequester her in the country and get on with his life–as a secret agent for the Crown.
But his bride has other ideas. She’s determined to take her place not only as his duchess but as his wife. As a duchess, she can use her position to help the lowest of society–the women forced into prostitution because they have no skills or hope. Her endeavors are not met favorably in society, nor by her husband who wishes she’d remain in the background as he ordered.
Can the duke succeed in relegating her to the sidelines of his life? When his secrets are threatened with exposure, will his new wife be an asset or a liability?
I love a good series, and this series by Erica Vetsch is simply amazing. I adored book one, and thought nothing could top that, right? I liked this one even more (didn’t think that was possible)! First, you have spunky Charlotte. Oh her mouth got her into some trouble but boy did it make me laugh. And while it seemed troublesome to some of the other characters, she really was just trying to do what was best, along with speaking her mind. She was such a fantastic character!!
And then our hunky hero….who at first I didn’t think was going to make such a great hero. I can’t put my finger on it, but I just wasn’t really feeling his character. Then enter Charlotte, and I just couldn’t tear my eyes off the pages. Their chemistry fantastic, and frankly I liked who his character become around her. **sigh** Why does it have to be over?
Romance aside, Vestch weaves a brilliant plot full of mystery, compassion, difficult choices, and books! Yes our leading lady is a book lover just like me. Disclosure – there is a scene where something happens to her books, and I just about cried. It broke my heart! I know it seems silly (especially for those of you who have read and probably know what I’m talking about), but wow. What an unexpected way to get my emotions going!
This series is a must read. And while this book could probably be read as a standalone, there are a few things from book one that roll into this story, and so I think it’s best to read them in order. Now we just have to wait for book three!!
I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate.
Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks.
A self-described history geek, she has been planning her first research trip to England.
INTERVIEW WITH ERICA
Welcome to the blog today Erica! Let’s jump right into it. Though separated by two hundred years, readers will be sure to relate to your heroine, Lady Charlotte Tiptree. Can you share with us what her obsession is?
Charlotte loves books. She loves all books, but she has a passion for history books and novels. I guess you could say I patterned her a bit after myself since those are two of my passions. Her most precious possessions are the books in her little library, each one saved for, planned for, and loved. It was a joy to write Charlotte because of her pleasure in books—the look, feel, smell, and the words! Oh, the words!
At the time of The Gentleman Spy, Charlotte’s interest lies in ancient history, Greek and Roman to be exact. I always envision Charlotte moving from one historical era to the next to learn as much as she can. She has an insatiable curiosity about the past.
She also loves to escape into a good novel. Because her homelife is less than ideal, she feels safest and happiest when she can fall into the pages of a book and get away from her reality.
This is why I love her so much!!!! Why was it so scandalous for a woman to read books, and especially read a newspaper, during this period in history?
Chivalry and the protection of women were a large part of proper English society during the Regency, and it was feared that too much academic work or exposure to the more, shall we say gritty, elements of life were both improper and could be dangerous to the “weaker female mind.” I’d like to think the men of the era had women’s best interests at heart, or at least thought they did, but I suspect it was because they were afraid of just how smart women are!
Of course, Charlotte thinks this notion that reading is dangerous to women is a load of twaddle, and she reads as much as she can, even though she has to hide her books from her father. When she faces a problem, she turns to books to find the answers. And when she marries, she finds joy in being given run of the house library.
Oh to have my own library……. Marcus is set on keeping the various aspects of his life in boxes—his spy work, his responsibilities as a duke, and his marriage. How does that work out for him and what advice does he get from unlikely sources?
Of course his married friends, Evan and Diana from The Lost Lieutenant, try to disabuse him of such notions, but Marcus learns best by doing . . . and by losing his heart to a woman who won’t stay in the neat little box he’s constructed for her. The more he tries to keep the various parts of his life separate, the more they spill over and blend together.
He’s forced to realize that he can’t control everything, especially not his wife. And in the end, he doesn’t want to be controlling.
Marcus receives counsel from several people, including Evan and Diana, but also his boss, Sir Noel St. Clair, and his widowed sister-in-law, and even a former prostitute turned charity worker who is part of his network of informants.
Oh Marcus. I really grew to love him! A major part of the story involves coming to the aid of women involved in prostitution. That’s not a popular subject in Christian fiction. Tell us more about this aspect of the story and why you decided to make it a part of The Gentleman Spy.
Charlotte discovers early in the story that she has a half sister, the product of her father’s long affair with his mistress, and that both her sister and her sister’s mother have been tossed out to fend for themselves. Her sister, Pippa, makes the difficult choice to become a high-class prostitute in order to survive. Charlotte wants to help her newfound sister and forge a relationship with her, but Pippa doesn’t trust anyone, especially not a half sister who has all the advantages she never had growing up.
Portraying social issues like prostitution in Christian fiction is tricky. The last thing I want to do is write an “issue book” where I’m expounding my views on a particular theme or social situation. I don’t want my story to feel as if I’m standing on a soapbox on a street corner and shouting about how the reader should sit up and take notice of my cause and my views and do something! Any social issue, whether it is the treatment of veterans as in The Lost Lieutenant or the world of prostitution and exploitation of women and the double standards of society as in The Gentleman Spy, must be organic to the story and grow out of the characters’ lives and actions.
As Christians, we cannot be blind to these issues, but for me, as a novelist, the issues must be an integral part of the story I’m writing rather than something inserted with the purpose of preaching to the reader. If one of my stories gets someone thinking about what they could do regarding a social issue, that’s great. But it isn’t the primary reason for writing the story.
It do enjoy reading stories that have realism to them. We don’t all live in a perfect world, yet anyways! What can readers look forward to in the last installment of the series, The Indebted Earl?
Between the release of The Gentleman Spy and The Indebted Earl, there will be a bonus novella! Joy to the World: A Regency Christmas Collection releases in October of this year, and my novella, “Wonders of His Love,” is included. This novella takes us to Haverly Manor, the home of Marcus and Charlotte, for the Christmas season. Cilla Haverly, widow of the former heir, is wondering what her next step in life should be. Is she doomed to be the dowager’s companion forever, with no real place in society any longer? When an intriguing Scottish painter arrives to paint the portraits of the new Duke and Duchess of Haverly, he ignites in Cilla a spark of independence that has the dowager’s feathers ruffled and Cilla thinking thoughts of revolt . . . and love.
And finally, in March of 2021, the last installment of The Serendipity & Secrets series, The Indebted Earl, arrives. The story of Sophie Haverly, younger sister of the duke, The Indebted Earl takes the reader to the Devon coast as Sophie and Captain Charles Wyvern navigate grief, survivor’s guilt, rambunctious orphans, a dear woman suffering early dementia, smugglers, and a growing love that neither is sure is proper.
Squeeee!! I cannot wait 🙂
Have you read this series yet? What intrigues you about it if you haven’t?