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A Shakespearean plot set amidst a Shakespearean play — murder plots, disguises, and romance abound in An Assassin’s Guide to Love & Treason by Virginia Boecker.
When Lady Katherine’s father is killed for being an illegally practicing Catholic, she discovers treason wasn’t the only secret he’s been hiding: he was also involved in a murder plot against the reigning Queen Elizabeth I. With nothing left to lose, Katherine disguises herself as a boy and travels to London to fulfill her father’s mission, and to take it one step further–kill the queen herself.
Katherine’s opportunity comes in the form of William Shakespeare’s newest play, which is to be performed in front of Her Majesty. But what she doesn’t know is that the play is not just a play–it’s a plot to root out insurrectionists and destroy the rebellion once and for all.
The mastermind behind this ruse is Toby Ellis, a young spy for the queen with secrets of his own. When Toby and Katherine are cast opposite each other as the play’s leads, they find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another. But the closer they grow, the more precarious their positions become. And soon they learn that star-crossed love, mistaken identity, and betrayal are far more dangerous off the stage than on.
I truly think the Bard himself would be pleased with all of the intrigue, plotting, cross-dressing, disguising, and romance that abounds within these pages.
Also, if it isn’t already be clear, let me state for the record: I loved this book. This was such a fun, captivating read — and felt utterly fresh and unlike anything else I’ve read recently.
I adored the combination of treasonous murder plot with the swoony unfolding romance between Katherine and Toby, and the backdrop of planning for the first ever performance of Twelfth Night just adds another fantastic layer. But despite so many different things going on, the book flows easily. Everything feels breezy and natural; never forced.
I wish perhaps there had been a little bit more at the very end — it felt just a teensy bit rushed, or maybe that was just because I wanted more time with these two main characters. Either way, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this book.
Prepare to get swept away by An Assassin’s Guide to Love & Treason, and it’s delightful romp through history, love, and Shakespeare.
Virginia Boecker recently spent four years in London obsessing over English medieval history, which formed the basis of The Witch Hunter. She now lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and spends her days writing, reading, running, and chasing around her two children, a cat named Thomas and a dog named George.
In addition to English kings, nine-day queens, and Protestant princesses, her other obsessions include The Smiths, art museums, champagne, and Chapstick. She is represented by John Cusick at Folio Literary Management.
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