UGH! This book was awful mostly because of the completely repugnant heroine(s). Amy is as silly, mature, and self-absorbed as a 13 year old. We are meant to believe that she is intelligent because she's read historical books in there original language but she must of used up her entire allotment of smarts in that one go, because all we get to consume is incomprehensible stupidity with a side of utter foolishness. Our hero, Richard Selwick aka the spy known as the Purple Gentian inexplicably finds all of this enchanting. But of course I'm not sure he's the brightest bulb either considering they hang out having a lengthy tete a tete in the big bad's apartment practically inviting arrest and torture (which he gets). I almost wish de la Roche had succeeded in lopping Richard's head off despite the fact that I still had more sympathy with Richard's side of their "misunderstanding" than Amy's. Considering the demographic that reads romance novels I'm not sure that was the intention.
There are other things wrong - its riddled with cliche and contrivance, the parallel modern storyline is almost as repugnant as the historical. The jacket review compares this to Jane Austen which makes me shudder. Pride and Prejudice which I imagine this is meant to pay a little homage to has realistic characters - the prejudice developed is justified in the beginning so it is understandable ina character of sense. Amy is way more Lydia than Lizzie - if you can imagine a whole book with Lydia as the heroine though obsessed with playing spy rather than boys.
The only good thing that comes out of this venture is an introduction to Jane and Miss Gwen. And Richard's Mother is quite entertaining.
One final note: If you felt the same way as I did after finishing this book you may be reluctant to read any more in the seris. I actually started this series with book 3 which I am glad of as it was not bad. I think I will give a couple more books in the series a try despite truly disliking this book.