It is 1884 and France is at war with China. Stuart Sutherland-Bruce returns to England after a posting in China as a member of the English diplomatic corps. He meets the astonishingly beautiful Bian, an exotic woman who turns his life upside down with the power of his desire for her. As she continues to astonish him at every turn with the unexpectedness of her life and her responses to him, he falls deeply in love with her.
But Bian did not wander into Stuart’s life accidentally. She has orders to become intimate with him and prove he has been giving English secrets to the Chinese. Yet as she works her spell on Stuart, she learns he does not seem to be the traitor her British superiors assure her he is.
Bian is caught in a trap: If she reveals to Stuart her real — and shocking — identity, she will lose the man she loves. If she honours Stuart’s highest values and does her duty, then Stuart will be tried for espionage and hanged.
REVIEW PROVIDED BY: Flying Frog Fairy
NUMBER OF STARS: 3 Stars
I have to say, when I first started this book, I wasn’t sure I would like it. The character of Stuart seemed a little to wimpy for my tastes. I was hoping he would have a little more backbone. Instead he seemed to fall under the spell of Bian immediately. And not in a cute way, but in almost an obsessive way. But that is just me so I continued on. All in all this book was interesting. I was a little disappointed because I hoped the author would go into more historical detail. However, this was really more of a novella and so there wasn’t really room for details. Then there was the whole is he a spy or not. It got a little convoluted and confusing and that took away some of the enjoyment. Confusion aside, the relationship between Bian and Stuart was passionate and I found myself rooting for them. Once the story was concentrating on them, I could get into it. And there was some definitely steamy scenes. Then we were back to the spy question. I predicted early on how it would end and I was right. So I guess you could say the story had a satisfying, if predictable conclusion.