Cover Image: Better Off Wed

Better Off Wed

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Miss Laura Hopkins has veered from the normal life of society and has taken on the role of Lady Sterling - a champion for mistreated and abused working class women. The novel opens with Lady Sterling pursuing the latest lord with bad morals to help a housemaid who has solicited her services. The night mostly goes without a hitch but her dealings have attracted the attention of the British Army intelligence, who is looking to recruit a new spy. Captain Jeremy Addison is tasked to track down this Lady Sterling to see what she is all about. And that’s when things start to get juicy — did I mention that Captain Addison is actually Lord Sterling?

This was an enjoyable novel! It was an easy read that I gobbled right up anxious to see what our two protagonists got into next. Lots of mischief and improvising together as they worked see the next lord with bad morals get his comeuppance. 4 stars.

Review based on digital Advanced Reader’s Copy from Net Galley and Kensington Books.
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Laura is a one woman vigilante who goes by the name Lady Sterling.  She helps women  who were abused by their male employer by stealing from the men, and when possible, using blackmail to deter them from future abuse.  Jeremy is a code breaker for the British government who also happens to be an impoverished  Lord Sterling.  The plot becomes convoluted, unbelievable coincidences, secondary characters with no depth.  As for the main characters, Jeremy  is perfect.  Almost too perfect.  He’s honest, handsome, listens to Laura,, admires her work and he blushes.  Laura is a bit self important and not very likable.   The ending tied everything up in a few pages which was satisfying.  .
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This book has so many holes where people just figured things out without any problem at all.  An intelligence officer who works on decoding codes is sent to investigate a woman calling herself Lady Sterling who robs men who have treated women badly and then gives the money to the victims.  Our hero actually is Lord Sterling.  He figures out right away who the woman is, finds her, and then without any consultation at all besides some significant looks, they decide to pretend they’re married.  

They’re investigating the evil earl who not only sexually harasses his female servants but is also, apparently, in charge of codes to send information to the French.  We are never told what sort of information he has access to or why the French use him to send all their messages.  

None of it makes much sense, but hey, we can have a pretend couple who have to share a bed and will fall in love over a week together.  Sure.  I didn’t buy much of any of it.  

I voluntarily reviewed an advanced reader copy of this book that I received from Netgalley; however, the opinions are my own and I did not receive any compensation for my review.
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"Lady Sterling" got my attention from the beginning. I just found out this is a book part of a series, which is good to know, I will be reading more books by this author. Love her character as a brave and smart woman!
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The Love and Let Spy series is my first introduction to Susanna Craig and I couldn't be more thrilled. This takes all the fun of historical romance and expands it to spycraft and intrigue without getting too bogged down in the politial aspects of the time that would requre a ton of exposition for the reader to understand. 

I love how Susanna writers her characters and particularly how she places then in the confines of their time with a modern lens. Laura is independent and unwilling to sit by while men take advantage of people without agency around them. In contrast to that Jeremy is a man with a title but still little options and he uses his skills to serve the Crown and hunt down Lady Sterling to see if she can help.

I appreciate how Susanna gives both main characters their own points of view. It gives the story such a rich background within the time period and truly lets us get to know the characters without losing all the suprise.
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Better Off Wed is a spectacular historical romance by Susanna Craig.  Ms. Craig has provided readers with a well-written book populated with a stellar cast of characters.  Lord Sterling, Captain Jeremy Addison, is a code breaker but his newest assignment is to find Lady Sterling.  Laura Hopkins lived with her aunt.  She's also sly enough to make gentlemen pay for their abuse of women and leaves her card as the Lady Sterling,  thief-taker.  After almost being caught on her last escapade, she finds herself meeting Lord Sterling, the man that aided her escape.  Laura and Jeremy's story is loaded with drama, humor, spice, action and suspense.  I enjoyed every page of this book and look forward to reading more from Susanna Craig in the future.  Better Off Wed is book 3 of the Love and Let Spy Series but can be read as a standalone.  This is a complete book, not a cliffhanger.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book that I received from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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With the disclaimer that I have not read any others in this series, I thoroughly enjoyed this novel even as a stand-alone.  It has all the classics of road trips, only one bed, fake marriage, secret identities and little espionage to round it out.  The premise of a feminist avenging angel and a slightly stuffy hero getting wrapped up in derring do works really well.  The characters are smart and funny while the romance simmers (and sometimes sizzles) around a little spy versus spy mystery.  My only critiques actually stem from one of the aspects that I liked most about the book.  While Craig drops you right into the action and trusts the reader to connect the dots, there does feel like some backstory is left unexplained.  Granted this may be a result of not having read the previous books in the series (which I definitely plan to do!), but it did impact how neatly the plot wrapped up.
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This was such a fun, romantic romp with tropes galore! Fake marriage, only one bed, spy vs. spy—there's something delicious for everyone here. Some of the plot lines didn't weave together all that well:  Captain Jeremy Addison's surprise parentage felt underdeveloped, and it wasn't fully explained why Laura decided to work for the Crown at the end. Susanna Craig is doing a *lot* and it's only natural that not every strand came together in a satisfying manner. But I look forward to reading the rest of the series and I'm glad I made time for Better Off Wed.
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Laura, who goes by the name of Lady Sterling, is an avenging angel of sorts. She goes after gentlemen who have ‘compromised’ their domestics, leaving them often penniless and with child. She steals the gentleman’s money and gives it to the unfortunate woman. Jeremy works for the Home Office, poring over codes and maps. Then his employer charges him with finding this Lady Sterling to perhaps recruit her as a spy. He exhorts Jeremy to marry her as well, which Jeremy sees as a joke, though maybe not. 
Jeremy is able to catch up with her in Kent after she sprains her ankle. They have to masquerade as newlyweds as guests of Laura’s newest mark. And sparks fly as the charade goes deeper. Will they be able to work together and come together? 
This is a good tale but I had some problems with it. Things happen too easily to be believable. Just in the beginning of the book Jeremy visits the household of Lady Sterlings latest prey, Though he is not given any useful information from this mark, he has a quick conversation with the butler who tells him where to find Lady Sterling. If such information was that readily available surely Lady Sterling would have been found out by then or the butler simply wouldn’t have that information. Next, they find the pregnant victim who related that Lady Sterling had gone to help another but, without knowing Jeremy at all, she tells them exactly where. Again, Lady Sterling would have counseled everyone to keep her identity private and this military man, a stranger, is freely given the info. The rest of the book is not as obvious,however. The characters begin to become interesting in and of themselves and their falling in love becomes realistic.  I’m not sure I would recommend this book to my patrons.
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This is my first time reading a book from this author and it won't be the last.  I just realized that this book is part of a series but the story is not connected so it can be read as a standalone.  
Vigilante "Lady Sterling" runs into the real Lord Sterling and they need to join forces and pretend to be a married couple.  There is witty banter, intrigue and lots of sizzle.  Not exactly a believable spy story but definitely an enjoyable one.  Both the H/h are inexperienced and they hold off on consummating their relationship until they are free of the fake marriage. 
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a wonderful story with a delightful hero and heroine. Under the alias of Lady Sterling, Laura Hopkins works to find justice for powerless women who have been harassed or abused by their spouses or employers. She first crosses paths with Jeremy, a captain in the army who secretly works as a code breaker, by chance at Vauxhall Gardens when Laura is in disguise on one of her missions. Shortly afterward, they meet again, when Jeremy is sent to investigate Lady Sterling and determine whether she represents some kind of threat to England during the war with France. Jeremy actually IS Lord Sterling, having recently (and unhappily) inherited the title when a distant relative died. These two find themselves in a situation where their best option is to pretend to be newly married and work together to bring Laura’s latest target to justice. As they are forced to spend time together,  they learn to trust one another. Watching their relationship grow as they share their stories with one atnother is one of the best parts of the book--and the dialogue is excellent! This is another strong entry in a terrific series. 
Thanks to #NetGalley and #Kensington for a free ARC copy.
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In Susanna Craig's third instalment of the Love and Let Spy Series, Better Off Wed, we get to meet Lady Sterling and Lord Sterling.  Though when we start, despite the similar appellation, neither the heroine, Laura, nor the hero, Jeremy, know each other.  Thus Craig sets up the comedy of the story and the basis for a cute love story.  The 'missions' of both heroine and hero provide the backdrop for the story, the romance takes centre stage.  Laura and Jeremy are likeable characters who are both intelligent and cautious.  The typical tropes of lies to love don't play into their story which is a refreshing change.  I enjoyed their banter and the way the learned quickly to trust and be comfortable with each other.  The ending seemed a bit rushed, but overall was a nice and fun read.
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Laura, under the pseudonym Lady Sterling, metes out her own justice against the male peers who have taken advantage of their female servants. Jeremy, an officer, a spy and actually Viscount Sterling, is tasked to find out who Lady Sterling actually is. They both end up pretending to be man and wife to investigate an earl. I received an ARC from NetGalley and Kensington Books for my honest review.
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This book was soooo much fun! None of the tropes used here are original (secret lady avenger, fake marriage, secret spy, etc.), but they were all used together in a way that felt totally fresh. And the main characters were just so darn likable, I fell in love with both of them as they fell in love with each other. As this is the third book of the series, there is an overarching mystery, but I feel that Better Off Wed can very easily be read as a stand-alone. It should simply be read because it’s the best book of the series, hands down.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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Better Off Wed is probably the best book in the Love and Let Spy series so far. I say that mostly for two reasons: that it centres on a reluctant allies dynamic, and that, unlike the second book, the mystery never takes a backseat to the romance—there is a better balance there.

The story follows Laura Hopkins, a young lady who, under the alias Lady Sterling, goes around helping women who have been mistreated by their employers, stealing secrets as she goes. And then, on one such trip, she happens to meet the real Lord Sterling, an ex-army man, now a spy for the crown, and sent to find out what kind of secrets Lady Sterling is keeping.

As I said at the start, these two have a dynamic that’s probably best summed up as reluctant allies. Forced into a situation where they must pretend to be married—where Laura wants to continue her investigation, and Jeremy is busy hiding just who he is, even while helping her—this is probably that trope at its best for me. And it was done in such a believable way in terms of developing their romance alongside it all.

And speaking of romance, I thought here there was a great balance between progressing the plot and progressing the relationship. Where in the previous book, I thought at one point the mystery got dropped to the wayside in favour of only the romance, there wasn’t any of that here. They were much better interwoven, I found, and the story was more compelling for it.

So all that really leaves me to do, is sit and hope that this series has more books coming. I mean, that was a hint for one at the end, right? Right??
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Better Off Wed is at the core a sweet novel about two sweet people who complement each other beautifully. It's a tiny bit weird then that Laura's calling is coming to the rescue of women and girls who are victims of abuse, usually sexual, at the hands of their employers. It's a really heavy topic, and while it is treated respectfully, one could argue that it either needed greater attention or it needed to be a different issue entirely.

Laura and Jeremy cross paths as she is journeying to an earl's country seat (as "Lady Sterling," her theif-taker name) to help the earl's children's governess. This particular earl has been in Laura's sights for a while, but he's been hard to bring down. Jeremy, a code breaker for the crown, is headed in the same direction. The earl is of interest as he may be a traitor, but Jeremy's immediate target is Laura. He's been asked to determine if "Lady Sterling" is for or against the crown; if the former, he's supposed to see if she's interested in being a spy herself. It's just a crazy coincidence that Jeremy is also a viscount with the title of Lord Sterling.

Anyway, several mishaps lead to Laura and Jeremy working together to put a stop to the earl's various misdeeds. They pose as newlyweds, but the charade feels more real as time goes by. Laura wonders if she's met the one man who will accept her a she is, while Jeremy is smitten but has something in his past that is keeping him from committing to anyone in his present.

The story rolls along pleasantly. Laura and Jeremy are adorable together; it's rare to have a hero nearly as innocent as the heroine. I do feel like Laura's mission to expose the earl's lasciviousness is shoved aside in favor of his possible crimes against the crown. I suppose treason in the early 1800s was a hanging offense and sexual assault wasn't, but ugh, I wanted the earl to pay more for the latter crime. How, I'm not sure sure. When the climax and resolution came, it felt a little too easy, and I think we deserved something a little... more? But overall, I enjoyed the tale and would definitely read the other books in the series.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion. Thanks!
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This felt much heavier on the mystery side than the romance side. Decent story with good writing. Wish it had leaned more on the romance.
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This is the third book in this series. I have enjoyed the whole series. By day she is a lady but at night she steals and gives to poor working women to help them find better lives. I really enjoyed the characters and the se
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What an awesome story! I have read it twice.
This story is about a heroine that steals from the rich that abuse their female servants. Most of the time, she has to get enough items so that the female servant has enough for her and her child to survive. The heroine also investigates the rich person first to determine what secrets he has. And she steals something that refers to that secret and leaves her card with her name on one side and the servant's name on the back. Her name is 'Lady Sterling'. She also has a charity for the women to go to until they can support themselves. The hero, a decorated spy, was just given a title from the Prince for work he has done. He is 'Lord Sterling'. His boss gave him a job to spy around and find out who the Lady thief-taker is. His boss even tells him to marry her, if he has to. 
Due to bad weather, the Lady thief-taker is in an inn during a snowstorm. The hero recognizes her because she has a unique pocket watch that he was told, by a servant of, but not the rich man it was stolen from. He had been wondering why the rich man didn't tell him about the watch. And also at the same inn, is the lady's next target.
I must say, I enjoyed this story since it was from the perspective of working people trying to survive. Also, it tells of how the hero taught the heroine about spying. This story had some very nice, well placed humorous parts. The heroine is definitely independent and the hero appreciates it. The characters are not annoying like in some stories. I enjoyed the place setting descriptions and the supporting characters. 
I give this book 5 stars and recommend reading it. It was very well written and not the typical historical romance.
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I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. This in no way impacted on my view.

Miss Laura Hopkins has everything that would make it easy for her to make a good match. But she's seen to many women, of all classes, hurt by men, and she has no intention of ever becoming beholden to one. Instead, she uses her charms and fortunes to become Lady Sterling, who helps young women, especially those in service, get justice for their mistreatment, and retribution. However, Laura's soon bitten off more than she can chew, when she finds herself relying on a gentlemen to aid her in her latest venture, and he just happens to be named Lord Sterling. Captain Jeremy Addison hates using his title of Viscount Sterling, and is more at home on a battlefield on a dangerous mission, than at a country house weekend. But when he's tasked with stopping Lady Sterling, or bringing her in as a fellow spy for the Crown, he and Laura must pose as newlyweds to stop the evil and cruel Lord Thornton from hurting any more women, especially if he may be involved in treason too.

This is the third book in the Love and Let Spy series, and it might be my favourite. Though you don't need to read all the books, there's an overarching plot line which culminates in this book, and I'm glad I had done, it pick up on all the nuances. The main couple, Laura and Jeremy, were utterly perfect for each other. Neither wanted to marry, and had other plans, which didn't include teaming up together to discover more about the treason, but together, they were neigh on unstoppable. They had a chemistry together which was off the charts, and even when they were angry or displeased with each other, they cared for the other person. Laura happened to be the sister of one of Jeremy's friends, so even when the only connections they had were the 'title' of Sterling, and their stories, they soon managed to fall for each other. I can't wait for Susanna's next book, I'm quickly becoming such a huge fan!
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