Thursday, October 25, 2012

Mini: Her Ladyship's Companion by Joanna Bourne

Her Ladyship's Companion
LOVE AND PERIL ON THE CLIFFS OF CORNWALL — Beautiful Melissa Rivenwood was leaving Mrs. Brody's Seminary for the Daughters of Gentlemen for a new life. But when she accepted the position as companion to the formidable Lady Dorothy, spirited Melissa could not have known that she would soon be caught up in a web of passion and intrigue at beautiful and remote Vinton Manor.

Giles Tarsin, her haughty employer, is maddeningly aloof--and irresistibly attractive. Darkly handsome Sir Adrian Hawkhurst admires her undisguisedly with, Melissa suspects, the most impure intentions. Harold Bosworth, a family connection, appears to be ever the gentleman. But why is seven-year-old Robbie, an orphan like Melissa and the future Earl of Keptford, so terrified? Before long, Melissa is struggling to unravel dark family secrets that will lead her suspicions to center on just one man...the one man she loves!
You might wonder why Her Ladyship's Companion is Spymaster #0? Well, that's because this book is actually where Hawk's character is introduced -- Sir Adrian Hawkhurst that adorable teenager and later awesome spy! In this story he is an adult, and of course he's an investigator and Giles Tarsin's friend, not the hero of the piece, but nevertheless a fascinating character.

Her Ladyship's Companion was written by Joanna Bourne and first published in 1983, and it was one of her early books. There is much to like about this historical, for example I enjoyed Bourne's prose and love how she sets the tone for the gothic atmosphere that permeates the whole story. The male characters, both Giles and Adrian, are early examples of Bourne's later characterization of Spymaster males, and of course there's a certain ruthlessness of character to some of the secondary characters (one female in particular) that did not come as a surprise at all.

The plot itself is not the greatest in my opinion. It is a Gothic historical and there's a certain level of predictability in how it is developed, plus lack of those fine details found in Bourne's later works. However, I do believe that some of my concerns about the story are mainly due to the female protagonist, Melissa Rivenwood. Melissa is sadly lacking in judgment and not necessarily the brightest bulb when it comes to deduction. She's impulsive and doesn't trust her instincts, so that when she makes mistakes they have dire consequences. The romance itself seems a bit unlikely if Melissa's doubts about Giles and her actions are taken into consideration.

All of the above makes for a slightly above average historical romance read. But was Her Ladyship's Companion worth reading? Absolutely. I enjoyed it regardless of its flaws. For me the best reason to read this book is that it is one of Joanna Bourne's early works and that it is the building block to what would later become her fantastic Spymaster series. I absolutely recommend it for fans of the series and this author.

NOTE: At Amazon, a new print copy of this book is going for $1,049.29! A used print copy for $26.52, and the ebook edition for $3.99.

Category: Historical Romance
Series: Spymaster Series #0
Publisher/Release Date: Regency Reads/January 10, 2012 - Kindle Ed.
Grade: C+


  1. Wow! I knew Hawk's name sounded familiar until I realized it was him! LOL
    And that's like BAD with the whole pricing thing! just get the ebook! :D

    thanks for this review, I think Adrian's is the only story I've read of the spymasters series.

    1. Alex, yes! I was quite surprised to find Hawk in this novel. O_o I was shocked when I saw those prices for the print novel, but I bought the Kindle edition, so yeah... $3.99. LOL!

  2. I LOVE LOVE LOVE The Spy Master's Lady. LOVE. Not sure if I want to spend $3.99 on a prequel.. but wait. Is it a novella or a full length novel? And is it lending-enabled?

    1. Christine, that's a wonderful series! What's not to love?

      But, this is not a prequel at all! This is actually a novel (not a novella) that she wrote in 1983, and in reality it is a precursor to the Spymaster series. She introduces Hawk here, and if you read this novel, you can recognize some of the characterizations she uses later, BUT this is a Gothic historical romance. *g*

      And yes, it IS lendable. Shoot me an email when you're ready to read it. ;P

  3. I had no idea this even existed! I love Bourne's novels so even though the plot isn't the greatest I'm sure I'd like it. Thanks for the heads up.

    1. Tracy, this novel was recommended to me at amazon and I purchased it back in February! I never heard about it before either. I'm sorry it lingered in my TBR that long. :(

      I'm sure you'll enjoy it. I did too, regardless of niggles, etc. :D

  4. I haven't read this author yet. I've heard a lot of good though and now I wonder if I have the first book in my TBR pile. Might LOL. When I recognized the author's name, I was wondering if this was self-published. Wowzer, I hope you got the ebook format, Hils!

    1. Nath, this is not self-published. This book was published in 1983, and this is the digital edition published this year. If you're going to read her work for the first time, I suggest you begin with her Spymaster series, though... it is much better! And, of course I purchased the ebook!! I'm crazy, (and pay lots of money for books) but not THAT crazy! LOL!


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