Cover Image: Better Off Wed

Better Off Wed

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Member Reviews

I enjoyed the story but had no trouble putting it down for long periods of time. I generally liked the characters because both of them had such very interesting vocations and either of them could have made for a really, really interesting book. The trouble is – neither of those vocations really had any spark in the story. I think the whole story was just bland. The characters were bland, the plot was bland, there was no real sitting-on-the-edge-of-your-seat excitement and there wasn’t really any spying. Still, I liked it well enough and never had a thought of just putting it down. That could be because I liked the potential of the characters and the premise of the story and kept waiting for it all to get interesting, exciting, and to – well – happen. I guess the bottom line is that it is a sweet story about two very sweet and caring people – and that is why, in the end, I kept reading.

Laura Hopkins was orphaned at twelve and went to live with her very sweet and loving Aunt Mildred who lived in Clapham where all of the residents had one cause or another. The streets were filled with the voices of those society called radicals. Her aunt supported many of those causes – and Laura did as well. Laura created the persona of Lady Sterling in order to anonymously help employees (mostly women) who had been mistreated and wronged by their employers. As Lady Sterling, she would take something of value from that employer – and would leave them with the firm knowledge that she knew his secrets and if he didn’t change his ways, she’d expose both him and his secrets.

Captain Jeremy Addison, Viscount Sterling, is a spy for the Crown (I wouldn’t call him a spy – he is a code-breaker). His sister admires Lady Sterling, and his mother is dismayed at the name association. Jeremy’s boss, General Zebadiah Scott, tasks him with tracking down Lady Sterling and determining whether she could be a credible asset for the Crown – or a danger.

Laura is on the public stage heading to Kent in order to aid a potential victim when the coach overturns and she is injured. The other passengers help her to travel to the nearest Inn, but there are no accommodations to be had, and she is at a loss about what to do. However, two things happen, and they change the trajectory of her investigation totally. First, the employer who she is investigating, Lord Thornton, arrives at the same Inn – and then, the real Lord Sterling arrives and quickly surmises who she is. Uh-Oh! She quickly manufactures a ruse and hopes Lord Sterling will play along – and luckily, he does. Of course, that ends up meaning they have to play a newlywed couple.

When Jeremy realizes that Lord Thornton could actually figure into one of his own investigations, his support of Laura only increases. You see, Laura is injured and cannot conduct her normal investigations – Jeremy has to do it for her.

Jeremy and Laura fit each other perfectly. Both are very nice, very caring, very supportive, etc. and I enjoyed that synchrony. For me, I liked the story, but I wouldn’t read it a second time. If someone gifts you with this book, by all means, give it a read.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Great premise, blah execution. I liked the idea of what the heroine, Laura, does, but somehow it ended up being so boring, not to mention convoluted. And she and Jeremy lack any real substance or chemistry whatsoever, it just made the story drag reading about them.
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This is the 3rd book in the Love and Let Spy series. This is the story of Laura Hopkins, aka Lady Sterling, thief taker and Captain Jeremy Addison,aka Lord Sterling.
Laura has dedicated her life to helping those women who have been abused by the Lord's of the manor.  She goes undercover and takes something of value from them to help support these women. Then she also tries to find out something in their life that she can use as blackmail to prevent them from destroying anyone else's life.
Jeremy Addison is a Captain , a spy who works in the coding division. He is given an assignment in the field. His assignment is to find out who the identity of Lady Sterling is. 
When Captain Addison and Lady Sterlings paths cross and their assignments coincide, they decide to work together. 
This leads to many adventures and the bonding of the two together.
I enjoyed the independent spirit of Laura and that she was willing to help those in distress. 
I loved that Jeremy was so supportive of her
5 stars. I want to thank netgalley for the opportunity to review this book.
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Better off Wed by Susanna Craig is the third book in the Love and Let Spy Series.  The series is a bit different from others as it has some unexpected characters and situations which make the series more fun to read.  I honestly found the twist in this one interesting!   

Laura Hopkins is beautiful, intelligent and a heiress.  Instead of following the usual path and getting married, she is determined to take down by blackmailing some of the most creepy men from the ton - men who take advantage of women.  She goes by Lady Sterling and for her - this is justice.

Then she meets Lord Sterling and her cover starts to unravel.  He does help her maintain it and helps her become safe, but unfortunately some things still interfere.  I love the length they go to.  I love how much I enjoyed their discomfort with each other.  I was not happy with Lord Sterling the entire time - but his mother took care of the kick in the pants he needed!  

Better off Wed by Susanna Craig was an interesting book to read.  The level of deception that was used to get creeps away from their female servants makes Lady Sterling a hero to me!  Better off  Wed by Susanna Craig was a good read.
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I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.

In book #3 of the Love and Let Spy series, Lady Sterling is the alter-ego of Laura Hopkins.  She helps women in need that were harrassed or even impregnated by their former male employer.  Lady Sterling robs the male of funds to help the women and tries to find piece of information that she can hold over them.  

Captain Jeremy Addison is a spy for the crown.  He is the true Lord Sterling and has been sent by his superior to find this Lady Sterling.   Their paths cross unexpectedly and they agree to team up against her latest victim. 

While carrying out their plan, more information than they expected was revealed and now not just the governess is at risk.

What a great addition to the 1st 2 books in this series.  I cannot wait to read #4.
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⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Better Off Wed is an intriguing, sassy romance.  Full of spies, vigilantes, and code breakers, this novel grabs your attention on page one and doesn’t let go.

Captain Jeremy Addison, Viscount Sterling, is a spy for the Crown.  Miss Laura Hopkins, a genteel-bred young lady, becomes Lady Sterling at night – an avenging angel for abused and assaulted women.  Through chance and fate, the couple is thrown together and combines their skill sets to help a woman in need.  Jeremey is the ultimate gentleman yet is haunted by a dark past that threatens his future happiness.  Laura is smart, savvy, and full of spunk.  Her moral compass is sound, and she risks everything for those women who are used terribly by powerful men.  

Jeremy and Laura are both stand-out characters.  They breathed life into this seductive, intelligent plot.  Their attraction is instantaneous, and their youthful innocence is endearing.  The storyline had depth and focus; it moved well and kept my attention throughout.   The marrying of spy and vigilante themes was unique and memorable.  The couple’s connection is honest and comes from tentative sensuality.

Better Off Wed is the third book in the Live And Let Spy series.  This was a clever, witty, passionate book.  Susanna Craig has combined action and passion for creating a vivid, unusual romance.  I loved the intricate plot, excellent and lovable characters, and deep, emotional dialogue.  This romance kept me turning the page and wanting more!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advance copy of this book through Netgalley and the publisher.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Lady Stirling meets Lord Stirling and things heat up. This is a fresh look at history and how being a Lord or Lady has its problems. Fun story with some interesting twists and turns. Pick it up if you want some light reading.
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I really love this series! Historical romantic suspense with spies and strong female characters? Yes please! In Better Off Wed our heroine is secretly an avenging angel, stealing from predatory men and giving it to the women they leave in their wake. Our hero is a spy and codebreaker, told to find and recruit her. The story was a lot of fun, a bit steamy, and does a good job of low key integrating with past books in the series. It's not my favorite of the lot- our heroine sustains an injury partway through which makes her more passive than I would like, and there are some plot things that you don't want to look to hard at, but overall a very solid installment in a fantastic series. I received an advance copy of this book for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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I absolutely loved this book! Susanna Craig's writing is always so detailed, so thorough. I loved the previous novel in the series, and this one is a wonderful addition. 

This novel centers around Captain Jeremy Addison, or Lord Sterling, and Miss Laura Hopkins--Lady Sterling. But they're not married! You'll have to read the novel to find out how all of this works, but I promise you, it makes sense once you read it. Jeremy is the most adorable beta male--bumbling, awkward, smart. He's precious. He's also a code-breaker for the British army. Laura Hopkins is a lady in British society, but she's harboring a big secret: she's a Robin Hood-type vigilante who steals money and secrets from the rich and powerful to right the wrongs that these men have done to others, mostly helpless females. She's loud, opinionated, strong, and brave. She makes an excellent HR heroine. This is most definitely a grump-sunshine situation, and Craig does an excellent job navigating it. 

My favorite part of the the novel is that this strong, independent woman falls in love first. Not only does the reader not expect this, but neither does Laura! It takes Jeremy a little longer (because he's pretty clueless.) The only sort of problem I had with the novel is the lack of steam. The other novels had more, and I missed that in this one. Other than that, this book was wonderful, and it is another excellent addition to Craig's series.
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2 stars

For a book that is supposed to be about loving and spying, there is not a lot of either. 

Having read the first two books in the series (which are very loosely connected), I figured picking up the next one would be a breeze. Turns out I was wrong. This book requires a fair amount of prior knowledge from the second book, which I read back in March, and the precious little context that we were given here didn't really help. It took me quite a bit of time to get into the groove of this story because of that.

Another issue that I had with getting into the action was the somewhat bland nature of the characters. They don't really have any discernable personalities to make them interesting and while they have intriguing professions, they spend so little time actually doing them! I found it hard to care about the spy plot or their love story when we are just meandering through a series of lengthy conversations. 

Based on the end of this book, there is going to be a fourth installment in this series. I'm honestly going to have to think long and hard if I am going to continue as well.

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington Books for an ARC of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review!
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<b>"As I tried to tell you before, it was not he who asked me to find you."
"Who, then?"
"Someone who found it amusing to send Lord Sterling in pursuit of Lady Sterling."</b> 

<b>Genre: </b> historical romance 
<b>Tropes: </b> reluctant allies, one bed, fake marriage, forced proximity 
<b>Series: </b> Love and Let Spy #3 (can be enjoyed as a stand-alone)
<b>Cliffhanger: </b> No
<b>Spice: </b> 2/5
<b>Rating: </b> 4.5 ⭐ 

<i>I have received an ARC through NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own and left voluntarily. Special thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this copy. </i> 

<b>"Outrageousness can itself be a distraction."</b> 

This book was a delight! I couldn't put it down and I'm really looking forward to read the rest of the series! It was a definite page-turner and I enjoyed every second of it. It's the first time I'm trying something from this author and, even though Better Off Wed is #3 in a series, it was a great stand-alone that made me want to read the previous two books as well. And I'll definitely pick up future works signed by Susanna Craig. 

<b>》》<u>The Plot</u>《《</b> 

Laura Hopkins is a young lady who, assuming the alias of Lady Sterling, has decided to avenge the girls who have been mistreated or compromised by their employers. Even though some may call it theft and blackmail, Laura considers it the least bit of justice those girls deserve. 

Captain Jeremy Addison, ex army and current spy for the Crown is surprised when his superior delegates him to find the notorious Lady Sterling and persuade her to lend her abilities as a spy for the Crown as well. Especially since the reason he was chosen for this job was his viscount title: Lord Sterling. 

So when the two of them meet and are forced to pose as newlyweds, thing get interesting. Forming unexpected alliances, spying, playing chess, sharing one bed and being in a constant state of admiration and distrust are just the tip of the iceberg. 

<b>"It sounds like the plot of one of those ridiculous plays Aunt Mildred and Julia adore."
"It sounds like a happy ending."</b> 

I loved this waaaay more than I was anticipating and I thought it had the perfect balance of romance and mystery. It was fast-paced, but the relationship between Laura and Jeremy wasn't rushed, as it was developed marvelously and in such a way that it wasn't only enviable, but also believable.

<b>"Stab him, you mean?"
"Yes, indeed."
"Good heavens! Where?"
"In whatever soft spot he is ungentelmanly enough to expose to you." </b> 

The side characters were also pretty well portrayed and the general feeling of authenticity was a great plus. There were lots of great scenes, like the moment they had to start playing newlyweds, discovering the peculiar set of chess or unexpectedly being poked by a book while kissing, the dialogs were always smart and enjoyable and the ending was fulfilling and nice. 

<b>》》<u>Characters and Relationships</u>《《</b> 

👩🏼 <u>Laura Hopkins - Lady Sterling</u> 

<b>"Lady Sterling had been born of darkness.
Not the darkness of night, though much of her work was done between dusk and dawn. No, her name had been forged in the dark souls of men."</b> 

She was a great female MC, with a lot of compassion, sharp wits and clever observations. No damsel in distress, a bit intriguing and with plenty of bold ideas, she was lovable from the beginning and definitely worth the attention. 

🧑🏻‍💼 <u>Jeremy Addison - Lord Sterling</u> 

<b>"Laura." That voice again, that wonderful, scolding, scandalized voice, the vowels of her name shaped by a hint of laughter. </b> 

The way he says 'Laura'....*chef's kiss*. Ahhhh, the feels...
Anyway, Jeremy was sweet and hot at the same time, had that perfect look that steals hearts and there was no way you could go through this book without daydreaming about him. 

🧑🏻‍💼👩🏼 <u>Jeremy and Laura</u> 

<b>"I don't think you're concussed. But say something clever so I'll know for sure."
"And what makes you a suitable judge of my cleverness?"
That cross answer earned her a lopsided smile. "See? Right as rain."</b> 

Banter, forced proximity, fake relationship and one bed trope? Come on, what more can you ask for? The dynamic between the two of them was perfect, the relationship had a great built up and it was simply a delight to witness the two of them going from strangers to allies and then to something more. 

<b>"I did not think I should ever find any man willing to let me be ... myself."
"As changeable as a spring wind, in other words."
"Yes."
"My very favorite season," he whispered.</b>

<b>》》<u>Conclusion</u>《《</b> 

It was a great read and I simply couldn't put it down. I'm happy I have discovered this author and I will most definitely pick more of her books when I'll be looking for catchy historical romances with well-written characters and relationships. 

<b>"Well, those who danced must pay the piper, as the old saying went. 
And tonight, she meant to present the baron with his bill."</b>
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3/5

Laura Hopkins is a woman on a mission, masquerading as Lady Sterling to help women in need--specifically, those that have been harassed, assaulted, or otherwise mistreated by their employers. Do her methods involve blackmail? Yes, but these men are sexual predators, so I don't care. Her scheme is thrown off by the arrival of a Lord Sterling, however, who has actually been sent to investigate her.

Yes, this does leading to Laura and Lord Sterling (Jeremy) posing as newlyweds. Yes, this book has both a fake relationship and the only one bed trope. If you're in the mood for a caper, it's a quick, fun read with a good bit of heart. Laura is a genuinely good person, and it's lovely to see her caring for other women and ensuring that the men responsible for their harm receive their comeuppances. Similarly, Jeremy is a great guy--bookish, kind, and a virgin hero! Cheers for virgin heroes all around!

There really isn't much that I can critique about this book. It's well-written, entertaining, and gives us a couple of things that we don't often see in historicals--the outright feminist heroine (okay, this is becoming more and more common, but still) and the aforementioned virgin hero, which is a favorite trope of mind. Also, dirty chess. We love dirty chess!

I will say, however, that I kind of had a hard time with fully connecting with it. I think that Laura and Jeremy being just like... good people doing good things... Kind of threw me off a bit. I wish there had been more internal conflict within either one of them. Jeremy was a bit bland for me.

In a similar vein, this book does have heat, but I think Craig waited a bit too long before deploying it. I didn't feel as if the characters were actually longing for each other until about halfway through, and there honestly could have been a lot more tension. It kind of felt like Jeremy drank a bit too much respect women juice, and didn't fully get that sometimes, you kind of want to be........ less respected. In the right setting.

But with that being said, if you're after a read with two pretty unproblematic people making sure that justice is done, this is the one for you. It's fun, cute, and entertaining. I would compare it to Evie Dunmore's books in a lot of ways. If you've had success with those, you will most likely enjoy this one.

I received this ARC from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Better Off Wed is the third book in this series about members of the British Army’s intelligence service during the Napoleonic War…and the women who fall in love with them.  Laura Hopkins is an unusual lady of her time.  Under cover of her made up character of Lady Sterling, she avenges powerless women who work for men of the nobility who feel that they are entitled to “have their way” with them. Governesses, maids, cooks who are sexually abused by the Lord of the manor and then cast out when they become pregnant.  Lady Sterling steal money from these men to give the the homeless women and she takes something to be used as blackmail should they try to abuse household staff again. She also leaves her calling card for these men so they know who the retribution is for.
Coincidently, the real Lord Sterling is a code breaker for intelligence service and he’s assigned to find Lady Sterling and determine if she might make a good spy for the Crown too.  They meet and sparks fly! Will Laura become the real Lady Sterling or continue her masquerade?
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I love Susanna Craig's Love and Let Spy series. Who's That Earl was absolutely spectacular, as was One Thing Leads to a Lover. Better Off Wed was also pretty good, although it was much slower than the other two, and the stakes seemed a little less high due to the nature of the characters, unfortunately. It doesn't make me any less excited for the fourth installment of this series, but it did feel like a placeholder compared to the other two books. I would have liked more intrigue and scenery and I feel like the characters could have been more fleshed out. However, General Scott seemed even more enigmatic in this one than in previous and that in and of itself is an intriguing concept going into the next book.
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I was hooked by the “love and let spy” on the front cover of this book.  Romance and intrigue coming together in one fun book?  Thank you!  Laura Hopkins moonlights as a mercenary to right the wrongs men have done to women.  For Laura, it is a small measure of justice.  However, she does get in a bit over her head and runs into someone who is named Lord Sterling and claims to be her husband.  Then the fun begins.  Lord Sterling really is a spy for the crown.  He’s been on a lot of missions, but might be ready to settle down.  While Laura and Jeremy know they are just acting the part, they begin to wonder if their feelings for each other are real.  The chemistry was definitely there for these two characters, but as a reader you could tell that they appreciated each other’s cleverness and talent for the spy business.  They were both good at what they did.  I really enjoyed this book.  It was a fun, fast read and is a perfect weekend read.
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Thank you to NetGalley for an eARC of this book!
This is my favorite Susanna Craig yet! I loved the name coincidence , I loved the way the plot came full circle , I loved the virgin hero!!! Jeremy was so dreamy. And did I LOVE Laura! 
Read this right away you won’t be sorry.
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She’s an avenging angel…who tempts him like the devil…
If Miss Laura Hopkins desired a husband, her beauty, brains, and fortune would make it easy to acquire one. Instead, Laura prefers to put her charms to another purpose entirely. Using the alias Lady Sterling, Laura helps young women who have been mistreated or compromised by their employers. Some might see it as theft and blackmail. For Laura, it is a small measure of justice. But while in pursuit of her latest target, Laura is unexpectedly aided by a gentleman who announces that he is Lord Sterling. 
As a spy for the Crown, Captain Jeremy Addison, Viscount Sterling, has been assigned all manner of dangerous missions, though none as complicated as investigating the beguiling Lady Sterling. Forced to pose as newlyweds at the home of a disreputable earl, Laura and Jeremy forge an unexpected alliance…and a passionate connection. But can such a dangerous masquerade possibly lead to a real, lasting love?
 Lady Sterling and Lord Sterling, an infamous couple.
Laura and Jeremy are the best part of this story!
Susanna Craig has written a marvelous story.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. This in no way affects my opinion of this book which I read and reviewed voluntarily.
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I received a copy of this book from the publisher, through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 
This is my first read by Susanna Craig and I was pleasantly surprised. I generally don't enjoy romances that double down as mysteries but this was well done and, in some aspects, quite refreshing. I didn't care much for the feminist vibe or for the bonkers coincidences (of names, of a biological father showing up just when he was supposed to, and several others that left me rolling my eyes and saying "seriously?!") but the characters are engaging, the dialogues witty and engaging and the story is nice. My favorite thing about the book was the hero who was not the usual alpha we find when he is in the army or in Royal service. Jeremy was a bit of a nerd which made him adorable and a lot more believable. Loved him. All in all, a satisfying read.
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I knew I would love this as I have loved the first two books in this series, and I was delighted to be proven correct.

I loved the setup for the story -- fake marriage and only one bed tropes are great fun -- and Jeremy and Laura were wonderful characters to root for. I also loved the way they based their deceptions on scandalous plays. Also can I just say that having General Scott order Jeremy (reluctant Lord Sterling) to find (and marry!) Laura (pseudonym Lady Sterling) was just. Chef's kiss.

The villains are dastardly and the way Lord and Lady Sterling's occupations collided -- rooting out traitors and punishing men who force themselves upon their staff and then throw them out -- was both convenient and allowed them to rapidly become closer. The fake marriage and Laura's injury also helped with that, as it forced them into close proximity and to rely on one another.

I loved that their attraction was based a great deal on one another's cleverness. I appreciate cleverness myself, and finding a hero and heroine who are each not only clever but can appreciate the cleverness of their unwitting accomplice / partner is rare. I also greatly appreciated that neither expected the other to give up the occupation they cared deeply about in order to have a life together. This was a departure from previous books in the series and highlighted their mutual respect for one another.

This story relied quite a bit on coincidence but not enough that it bothered me. And the characters and their dynamic made up for it. I read it in a day and was thoroughly invested in it the whole time. Often in books -- especially romance -- there comes a section where the story drags and I put it down for awhile. With this one I stayed up late, reading past my bedtime to reach the end.

I hope there are more books in this series coming because I will absolutely read them.

*Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for providing an e-arc for review.
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Thanks to NetGalley, I received an ARC from the publisher.. This in no way impacted on my view.  I love how different and exciting this series is.  Give me a good spy romance any day.  This book can be read by itself but the background characters are a bit more fleshed out if you've read the previous two.  

Miss Laura Hopkins is living a life she sees as worthy, important and necessary.  To the best of her ability, she rights the wrongs of women who were in some way abused by their employers by using the alias Lady Sterling.  She uses her cunning, quick mind and beauty as tools of her trade.  That is, until she meets the ACTUAL Lord Sterling.  

Captain Jeremy Addison is a master code-breaker for the crown and only recently discovered he is next in line for a title.  He's fiercely protective of his mother and sister and is doing his best to rid the debts of the previous Lord Sterling.  Jeremy and Laura are going about their sneaky business when they are forced to team up and pretend to be a married couple to infiltrate the home a serial sexual harasser and possible spy for the French.  

I love how honest and sweet Jeremy is towards Laura as they slowly get to know each other and become comfortable in their forced proximity.  (At one point the phase "only one bed' is written, which I LOVED. *trope air horn sound*) It is also specifically stated that Laura's life is already complete but would certainly be enhanced by Jeremy's presence in it.  Great reveal towards the end moves the last of the barriers for this couple's HEA.  Love this series!
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