Title: The Water Nymph
Author: Michelle Jaffe
Publisher: Diversion Books
Release Date: January 2014
Length: 434 pages
Series?: The Arboretti Family #2
Genre: Historical Fiction, Thriller
In Renaissance England, love is the most dangerous gamble.
Crispin Foscari, one of Queen Elizabeth’s most trusted spies, leaves nothing to chance. So he’s surprised when he’s informed he has two weeks to clear his name of an accusation of treason, or face the executioner’s noose.
Sophie Champion is a hero to women of London, dedicating her seemingly endless resources to helping free them from bondage to men. But when her investigation into the death of her beloved godfather brings her to the attention of Crispin Foscari, known as “The Earl of Scandal”, under precarious circumstances, she is suddenly the one who needs liberating.
Even as his mind warns him to stay away from the the seductive siren, Crispin proposes a wager. Working together they pit their wits against a calculating enemy by day, and fight their searing attraction at night. As they inch closer to identifying the killer they grow closer to one another. Until finally their passion explodes—with deadly consequences.
***** Review *****
Crispin Foscari has never had to work harder than he does when an anonymous informant to the Queen makes mention of treason and leads him to fighting for his top position as a top spy and to avoid execution. His investigation leads him smack into Sophie Champion. She is in search of her godfather’s murderer and the person with whom he was to meet. Unfortunately for Sophie, she is caught at the scene of another crime, and Crispin is convinced she is the murderer, or at least the key to solving his own investigation. Sophie’s true identity and relationship to her godfather is questioned and things don’t look very good for Sophie or Crispin.
Cripsin – top agent in the Queen’s employ; known as the Earl of Scandal
Sophie – a bright woman with a secret past; she uses her influence for good
Lawerence – Crispin’s longtime friend; very wealthy and powerful
Elwood – Crispin’s butler; responsible for gathering information
The Aunts – a bunch of busybodies who insist on Crispin’s marriage
Sophie Champion is adorable. She has one of the most interesting backgrounds, and her wits are what has gotten her so far in life. She has amassed a great deal of her own wealth and has a bit of influence with how she makes her dealings. She is a very independent woman, but also vulnerable inside.
Crispin Foscari is known as the “Earl of Scandal.” He dedicated much of his life to the Queen and has operated as one of her top agents for years. Even his own friend and partner-in-crime Lawrence Pickering is unbeknownst to Crispin’s role in the British government.
After one very serious meeting with the Queen, Crispin has been branded a traitor with no means of recourse but his own, perhaps at the cost of his life. His good-standing in the Queen’s eyes are very important to Crispin and lead him directly to the same person Sophia is hunting down.
After their run-in in the red room, Sophia is no longer the independent woman she once was. She is under the strain of her godfather’s death and wanting answers. She makes a bet with Crispin about the murder, and the plot takes off as the two of them travel in their own directions to solve the murder.
I thought Lawrence was quite an interesting character, and it seems he makes another appearance in the Arboretti series. Being friends for so long, he knows just how to get to Crispin, as does the rest of the Arboretti family.
Crispin avoids the aunts like the plague. Although he humors them quite a bit, there are certain times where he simply draws the line and cuts them off. Like when he is presented with over 100 potentials to choose one bride from.
Despite Crispin’s far-reaching clutches and resources, Sophia is not a woman to back down. Even when things seem daunting and get very personal, Sophia stands strong and firm in her convictions to find her godfather’s murderer.
I enjoyed the second installment in the Arboretti Family series, but I will say it seemed more…erotic than the first, The Stargazer. If I didn’t eat peaches before, I couldn’t now.
***** About the Author *****
Michele is the author of the Bad Kitty series of YA books as well as thrillers and romances for adults. After getting her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Harvard, she retired from academia and decided to become an FBI special agent or glamorous showgirl, but somehow instead ended up writing. A native of Los Angeles, California, Michele and her sparkly shoes currently reside in New York City.