Agatha Cunnington, who is searching for her missing brother James, comes to London under the alias of Agatha Applequist. What Agatha does not know is that her brother is actually the spy known as "the Griffen", and James is suspected of treason. James' former best friend and co-spy, Simon Rain, has gone undercover as a chimneysweeper to infiltrate Agatha's home. Simon believes that Agatha is James's mistress, and when she is desperate for someone to pose as "Mortimer Applequist", her non-existent husband, she grabs Simon to fill the role.
As Simon plays his role as her husband, he finds Agatha refreshing and he is attracted to her, so he comes up with a plan to seduce her into becoming his mistress. Simon and Agatha are both unaware that James is being held by French enemies, and being drugged and tortured for information. James makes his escape and finds his sister in London, and when he arrives on her doorstep, it is to find that his best friend has just deflowered his sister.
When James and Agatha explain that she is his sister, Simon begins to feel some remorse, even more so when James explains his situation and Simon finds out that he is not a traitor. As Agatha tries to fight for Simon's love, they still have not found out who the real traitor is and Simon has feeling of inadequacy due to his humble origins in comparison to Agatha's nobility. Despite it all, the two find love and the traitor who had infiltrated the Liars club.
This report prepared by Angel Manners
St. Martin's, Jun 2003, 6.50, 384 pp.
In 1813, Agatha Cunningham flees her home to avoid the unwanted advances of her odious neighbor, “Repulsive” Reggie Peasley and to find her missing brother James. In order to travel by herself, Agatha pretends to be married to Mortimer Applequist, an imaginary person she conveniently made up. However, her lies have caught up with her as the London ladies she recently met demand meeting her fictional spouse.
Simon “Rain” Raines heads the Liar's Club, a group of pickpockets and thieves who work for the King in search of French spies. He thinks his former best friend and associate James Cunningham turned traitor as he has been missing for several weeks, secret operatives have been killed, and his bank account has grown. He goes to James' home to encounter the man's mistress, a Mrs. Applequist, but garbs the disguise of a chimneysweep. Before he knows what happened, he pretends to be Mr. Applequist. As he and Agatha fall in love, Simon wonders how will she react when he arrests her lover, not knowing that James is her brother.
Regency romance fans will take immense pleasure in the first Liar's Club novel, a fun tale due to the outrageous antics of the intrepid heroine (sort of like a Baroness Munchausen). Simon is a delightful protagonist trying to overcome being the son of a Covent Garden whore who traded her body for meal money for them and an unknown father. This delightful winner belongs to Agatha, whose spins are clever and fabulous as she learns “oh what a web we weave when we first deceive”.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner