Alice Dearlove works for the secret organisation the Agency of Undercover Note Takers, or A.U.N.T., staffed by spies and agents disguised as ladies’ maids, butlers, footmen, and other household staff who mostly go unnoticed by the higher classes, but are usually in a position to see and hear everything. She’s one of their top agents, known within A.U.N.T only as Agent A. Usually, Miss Dearlove works alone and gets excellent results while doing so.
Now she faces one of the biggest challenges of her career. Not only does she have to cooperate with someone on her next mission, but her partner is none other than her biggest rival within A.U.N.T., the elusive Agent B, Daniel Bixby. Now Agents A and B have to learn to work together, while also pretending to be married. There’s a plot to assassinate the queen, and Alice and Daniel have to pretend to be pirates, happily married, and fool an entire houseparty full of eccentric, murder-happy ladies and their husbands while trying to locate the potential weapon and foil the plot.
Since they’re consummate professionals, both Alice and Daniel are determined to complete the job quickly and efficiently while remaining strictly platonic the whole time. When more public displays of affection aren’t necessary to play their parts, of course. Obviously, wanting to be convincing in their assumed roles, they might have to practice the duties of husband and wife in the privacy of their own rooms, as well. It’s not like they’d get carried away and fall for one another, just because they are forced to be fake married, sharing a bedroom (with just one bed). After all, A.U.N.T doesn’t allow for any affection between agents, and once their mission is done, Alice and Daniel will be going their separate ways, possibly never seeing one another again.
This might not be a 5-star book for all readers, but as the culmination of the Dangerous Damsels trilogy that India Holton started with The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels works on pretty much every level for me. Alice Dearlove and Daniel Bixby, whose acquaintance the reader makes briefly in The League of Gentlewomen Witches get their own novel and a chance at their own HEA, since clearly from their first meeting in the previous novel, they are perfect for one another.
Full review here.