Joanna Bourne: My Lord and Spymaster

Jess Whitby's father, a wealthy tradesman, has been wrongly accused of selling secrets to Napoleon. To save him, Jess has to use her connections to London's underworld to find the real traitor. She suspects Captain Sebastion Kennett, who believes her father is guilty - but it is really him?

The book has an interesting premise. I don't mean the fact that a romance novel heroine does everything to save her beloved father from a horrible fate; this has been done countless times before. But Jess is a bit different: she used to be a burglar as well as a kind of pet to the king of London's underworld. After that, she became a master tradeswoman and devised an impressively efficient accounting method for her father's trading company when she was only 16 (this, by the way, seems to be much too far-fetched even for a romance novel). Considering the fact that Jess is supposed to be this smart, experienced woman, her attempts at proving her father's innocence remain remarkably inefficient. Also, Sebastian very soon decides that Jess is his responsibility and never lets her do anything on her own. In the end, the solution to who is the real traitor comes very unexpectedly - there are no hints before, the author just tells us who it was and that's that. I think Ms Bourne needs to work a little harder on her plotting. This is a "satisfactory" book (Grade C).