Review – The Unlikely Spy Catchers by Carla Kelly

About the Book:

The Unlikely Spy Catchers is a novel about friendship and love, an unusual school for workhouse boys training for the Royal Navy, and the ever-present danger of life in a seafaring town at a time of grave national emergency, as Napoleon considers taking his war to England itself.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:      Unlikely Spy Catchers

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Young couple Able and Meridee Six have recently welcomed a son, Ben, into their family, and are settling nicely into their life of running a school in Portsmouth for future sailors.  Both the school and Able are unusual, as the former sailing master is a bona fide genius with a picture perfect memory, while the school is only for orphaned or illegitimate children.

Able is summoned to appear before the Elder Brothers, and he nervously awaits the meeting, wondering what they could possibly want from him.  He has no doubt it’s about the St. Brendan school, and hopes that his successful venture isn’t in jeopardy.  He soon finds that the powers-that-be recognize that his school is in an ideal position to view all activity happening in the bustling port, a significant detail because of the war with France.  Able is charged with keeping watch for any suspicious activity.

Able and his boys, who have dubbed themselves as the Gunwharf Rats, set up a schedule to keep watch on the port at all hours.  There’s currently a ship in port, full of French prisoners of war, and it soon becomes clear that all is not as it should be.  Able finds himself in a precarious position when he comes in contact with two escaped and badly mistreated prisoners.  Will his humanity or his duty rule his decisions?

THE UNLIKELY SPY CATCHERS weaves history and intrigue into the beautiful continuing love story of Able and Meridee.  Able is a very sympathetic hero, as his own upbringing was as an illegitimate child.  His photographic memory ensures that he clearly remembers all the abuse and hurts he suffered.  Meridee’s strong love for him is the first he’s ever known, and just her touch can calm the whirlwinds that sometimes threaten to overtake his mind.  Their relationship is solid, passionate, and even breathtaking at times.  When the millions of thoughts that constantly buzz in Able’s mind make him question his sanity, Meridee’s hands on his face will ground him.  Unlike a stereotypical genius, Able is playful, kind, and warm.  This young couple’s love and devotion for each other and their son jump off the pages.  They have enough room in their hearts to not only teach the boys in their school, but to give them love and stability, as well.  There is a delightful secondary romance between Ben’s former captain and a teacher at the school.  I never feel that I have adequate enough words to do justice to Carla Kelly’s stellar writing.  Historical facts are so cleverly woven into a heartwarming love story, that the reader doesn’t even realize how much they’ve actually picked up.  As always, I highly recommend this warm and well written story to all fans of historical romance.    ~Rose


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