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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Book Review of Behind the Marques's Mask by Kristen McLean, Plus an Interview with the Author

Behind the Marquess's Mask (The Lords of Whitehall, #1) by Kristen McLean
Genre: Adult (Historical Romance)
Date Published: April 30, 2016
Publisher: Young Ink Press

Even the mask of an expert spy is no defense against his own heart.

With a reputation as dark as his appearance, Greydon Sharpe, the Marquess of Ainsley, ought to have been the last agent assigned to the daughter of a well-respected Member of Parliament. However, when she is brutally attacked and left for dead, it becomes clear he is the only one with the skills to keep her alive. All it will take are a few lies to keep her breathing long enough to capture the villain. Then he can send her on her way. If she would only behave herself, he might be able to complete his mission before she turns his contentedly miserable life into a chaotic mess.

Marriage is not an option … until it is. 

Lady Kathryn Bryant, the adventure-seeking socialite, has no plans to behave. Kathryn would much rather spend her time in subterfuge, nabbing villains and finding clues. However, when her memory is lost in an attack, she has little choice but to trust the handsome Marquess. Though she is almost certain he is hiding something, she is helpless against his disarming smile and warm touch. Eventually, his lies will come to the surface, leaving only one question: Is England’s deadliest spy equipped to save a broken heart? 

Behind the Marquess' Mask is the first book in The Lords of Whitehall series by Kristen McLean.. There were many characters, and I suspected many of them as being the antagonist at one point or another through the book. I think Grey and Kathryn make a great pair. She loves adventure, and doesn't want just the life of a  house wife. Grey's life is one big adventure. Their personalities clash in a big way, but their arguments sure were fun to read. I love how Grey says things just to irritate Kate. She takes the bait every time. This book gave us a little suspense and mystery with our historical romance, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

The ARC of Behind the Marquess's Mask by Kristen McLean was kindly provided to me by Tasty Book Tours for review. The opinions are my own.

Grey didn’t bat an eyelash as he stared down the barrel twenty feet ahead of him. Surely, Bexley couldn’t be that good of a shot. The man’s hand shook something awful. Perhaps he might get an arm or even a shoulder at this range if he were lucky. There was only a small chance he would get a fatal shot off. Still, there was a chance, and the last thing Kathryn needed was someone else shot and killed in front of her.
“Kathryn, you need to leave,” Grey ordered softly.
“Absolutely not!” she protested.
“Kathryn,” Grey said patiently with a slight tremble. “For once in your life, listen to me.”
For the first time in a long time, he had no desire to die, but if he did die, he could not allow her to witness it.
“No!” Kathryn spat out defiantly, stepping out into the middle of the room between the two adversaries.
Grey blanched of all color as he stared at her, crippled with fear before torrid fury took over.
“Kathryn, what the bloody hell do you think you are doing?”
Kathryn frowned at him as if she was the one who ought to be angry. Then she turned to face Bexley, who looked more than a little annoyed.
The voice of reason piped up from behind Grey.
“Kathryn, you really should not see this,” Nick advised.
“I am not leaving.” Her simple, quiet refusal only seemed to unnerve Bexley, who was still aiming straight at Grey’s heart, the heart Kathryn was standing in front of.
“You don’t want me to waste my bullet on you, now, do you?” Bexley spat out as his hand flexed over the gun anxiously. “Move aside!” Bexley stomped his foot to emphasize his point, and a small explosion rent the air.

What inspired you to write Behind the Marquess's Mask?
At my lowest, a good book never failed to lift me up, so I decided to give something back. I was especially fond of suspenseful historical romances, and spies, and things of that nature, so when I finally started writing it's no wonder what came out was a spy novel with torture, murder, and revenge.

What was the weirdest thing you had to google while doing research?
I had to google a lot about espionage, drugs, guns, knives, and the UK government. If anyone is being profiled for suspicious internet activity, it's me.

Which of your characters do you relate to most and why?
I relate to Grey the most, I think, because I'm not outwardly emotional. I keep things in. In fact, it took years for my husband to get me to talk about my feelings, and still I'm reluctant. 

What is a secret about you that nobody else knows?
Sometimes when I'm making dinner I waltz around the kitchen, usually while holding a glass of wine.

What is the best piece of writing advice you ever received?
The best advice for writing I have ever had was to just do it, even when it doesn't seem like there's any inspiration. Some of my favorite scenes were created when I thought I had nothing to write.

If you could hop into the life of any fictional character, who would it be and why?
This usually changes based on what I happen to be reading, which at the moment is Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton series. I would love to be a Bridgerton, because they're so funny, and sarcastic, and interesting. 

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That I could write! I rewrote Behind the Marquess's Mask five or six times before I had figured out how to write a decent story, and I'm still learning.

Have you read the other books in this series yet?

Kristen has always had a love of novels, with a special place in her heart for historical romance. After reading enough of them to fill a rather impressive library, she decided to write her own. Now she has the pleasure of writing at home, tucked away in a forest with her husband, two children and her cat. Her husband is loving and impressively patient, her two beautiful children strive to embarrass and exhaust her, and her cat hates everyone, but tolerates—well, she tolerates whoever will feed her.

To learn more about Kristen McLean and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

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