Lately I have broken up my book binges to dabble in something off the beaten path: dieselpunk, YA, NA, and even an autobiography. Today’s review jumps back into the historical romance genre to look at Elizabeth Cole’s A Reckless Soul, book two in her Secrets of the Zodiak series. If you have had the opportunity to check out Shana Galen’s Lord and Lady Spy series, the books share a time period and both deal with groups of individuals adept at spycraft. This book is a definite stand alone; it is the first book in the series that I have read and it managed to fill me in on history without giving away anything from the previous book.
This story features actress Sophie Bertrand and the titled Bruce Allander, both unacquainted agents for the Zodiac spy group. If you are looking for female characters who are uptight and upper society with a focus on purity, then keep looking. Cole’s portrayal of her cutthroat female lead was initially surprising, but as I continued through the book I realized that Sophie was written to be a very real character. The main characters struggle to survive while experiencing evolution and rebirth of character as this story sprints to climax through action scenes. Cole even manages to keep the pulse of the story up while the characters dance or engage in social niceties. Bruce comes across as a jerk, initially, but we see that in so many dominant male characters. Not to worry, folks, he has time to work for redemption.
I enjoyed the pace of the story, and while I was initially very surprised by Cole’s style of writing her female lead I was fully invested mid-book. This author seems to focus mainly on historical romance, but I see at least one contemporary romance in her book list as well. I would recommend this book to fans of historical romance that enjoy hardcore heroines and action. If you want to just check it out, book three in this series was just released and is being offered on Amazon for 99 cents!