Monday, September 30, 2013

A Heartless Design by Elizabeth Cole - Review and Giveaway

This review is in conjunction with a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Two randomly drawn commenters will each win a $10 iTunes gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

An enigmatic woman, a determined spy, and a design that could shake the foundations of Europe…

“Heartless” Cordelia Bering refuses every marriage offer she receives. Yet men still try to win her, drawn by her sharp wit and intoxicating green eyes. But Cordelia knows a marriage could reveal her deepest secret and truly endanger her life. Besides, she hasn’t met a man worth considering, until...

Sebastien Thorne, a spy in the service of Crown. One of the elite agents in the group known as the Zodiac, he comes to London determined to solve a mystery with roots on the Continent. He won’t let anything distract him. But is Cordelia a distraction, or the key to the mystery? As he learns more about the “heartless” woman, he becomes embroiled in secrets, plots, and a design that could change the future…and Cordelia is at the center of it all.

A HEARTLESS DESIGN is the first book in the Secrets of the Zodiac, a series that blends the sensibilities of modern romantic suspense with the rich background of the Regency period.

It takes a special historical romance to really get my happy juices flowing. I'm happy to say "A Heartless Design" hit all the right buttons!

Our heroine, Cordelia, is most atypical, something I realized from the start as I watched her training her maid. In fact, her household is full of exceptionally loyal and very different staff. I loved them all (and am grateful that it seems they will be part of upcoming books in the series). Cordelia is also a skilled engineer like her now deceased father, and has been carrying on his work in secret. This is what gets her into trouble ...

Our hero, Thorne, is most taken with Cordelia from the start unaware that she figures prominently in his latest mission. Thorne is part of the secret British spy network, the Zodiac, and has been tasked with finding plans for a ship design, rumored to be of the sort to turn the tide of the war with France.

While the plot of this story is certainly not lacking, the characters are what really make it stellar. From the most important to the least (note to the author ... will we see Jacques again?), each character is fully fleshed out, unique and interesting. I grew attached to them all, and am chomping at the bit for the next book to see where life takes them.

Well written, well plotted, well created characters and clean editing make this a book I can recommend to anyone, even if you're not a huge historical romance fan. It reminded me a bit of Amanda Quick (without the paranormal). Loaded with characters slightly outside the norm with quirks and fun and heat and mystery.

I completely enjoyed it and unreservedly give it 5 flowers. It's a keeper.

Elizabeth Cole is a romance author with a penchant for history, which is why she lives in an old house in an old city. She can be found hanging around libraries and archives, or curled in a corner reading, cat on lap. She believes in love at first sight. Then again, she also believes that mac 'n' cheese is a healthy breakfast, so don't trust her judgment on everything.

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  1. Thanks for the review! I'm glad to hear you liked the story! (and yes, you'll see Jacques again…though you might be surprised by how he looks!)

    1. Can't wait to read the next. I really loved "A Heartless Design"! Sounds like Bond and Jem and the rest will figure as well. Color me tickled pink :-)

  2. I'm a huge Amanda Quick fan, so if this is in the least bit like hers, I'm betting I'll love it.

    mnark111 AT gmail DOT com

  3. The reviews have been just wonderful. I'm putting this on my TBR list. I haven't read anything by Ms. Cole but I plan on reading this one. Thanks for the tour and allowing me to discover a new book and author.
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  4. Interesting characters

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com


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