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All art is unstable. It's meaning is not necessarily that implied by the author, There is no authorative active voice. There are only multiple readings. David Bowie, 1995

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

gentlemen such as he...discarded women like they discarded a spentcheroot

A Lady's Secret Weapon (Nexus series #3) by Tracey Devlyn

English nobleman, Ethan deBeau, Lord Danforth, notorious rake and Nexus spy has been set upon. Badly beaten he is rescued by a mysterious figure, The Spectre. His wounds are attended to by a maid.Charged with finding a young boy, an English traitor Lord Latymer, and a French spymaster LaRouche, Danforth's search places him within the orbit of one Sydney Hunt. The puzzling thing is that he comes across her posing as an empty headed do-gooder at a place of interest, Abbingale Home, an orphanage for boys.Nexus it seems is a secret spy organization hidden in the bowels of the English Foreign Office dedicated to protecting English shores from forays by Bonaparte's agents tasked to prepare England for a successful French invasion.Sydney Hunt, is in actuality a benefactor and reformer who heads up an employment agency as part of her cover to help those who find themselves in need due to the extreme, careless and often cruel actions, of some members of high society towards their servants. She helps those in need, hurt and often destitute to find new situations. She also compiles information about the employers themselves and their treatment of their often powerless dependants.Obviously there are dark and tragic secrets in Sydney's background. Hints of such are constantly implied from the beginning.  Sydney's stress about being alone with a man and the devoted loyalty and protection of her loyal twin footmen confirm that there lurks a greater cause for her anxiety.In fact there are dark secrets surrounding many of the characters. No one seems exempt. Well except perhaps for Tanner, Danforth's much put upon butler. I do like him.The thing is Sydney's attraction to Ethan deBeau, Lord Danforth, the transition from prim agency owner to woman deeply appreciative of and tantalized by Danforth's obvious good looks seems extreme. I'm still trying to figure out where this wanton woman act comes from. Her inner fantasies seem to jar and I'm not sure why. They come out of left field when I and Sydney least expect them. What they do tell us is that despite her inclinations towards the opposite, Sydney is a passionate and aware woman, alive to the attractions of the opposite sex. Somewhere she has been betrayed and deeply hurt.It is when Sydney declares, 'No  Ethan, you did not upset me...you've begun to heal my soul, ' that we at last begin to make headway into the enigma that is Sydney Hunt and the dark secret she harbours.

I am unsure as to why a minor character I enjoyed was killed off. I am hoping this is a hook to be resolved in future novels. This is not the only secondary character whose story left me wondering.
I must admit that I kept feeling that I was constantly missing something with this story. That there was a background that was important. When I realized that 'Secret Weapon' is the third in a series (the Nexus series) things began to make more sense. Unfortunately the ARC hadn't included that piece of information.  As things hinted at, and left unsaid, kept niggling at me I was able to see that these previous stories linked the characters and were the 'raison d'ĂȘtre' for their off screen interplay. I did purchase the rest of the series to read at a later date as I am now curious about the other members of Nexus and how the pieces of the puzzle come together.Despite my misgivings, I obviously enjoyed 'Secret Weapons' enough to want to read more.

A NetGalley ARC

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