There is something so fun about a bit of historical romance that also has the best spying and code breaking intertwined. The Cryptographer is just that. The story of an intelligent, gifted woman, Aster Tanner, that works for a living in the war department. She loves puzzles and her boss, Sir John, keeps providing codes for her to break that are becoming more than just fun and games to stimulate her mind.
When Iain comes to the small town where she works she finds herself attracted to him. Iain also struggles with his desire to know more about this simple woman. No one knows that she is the assistant or secretary to Sir John since that is an unusual position for a woman of the time. When Captain Iain McIntyre comes into the room, she is caught off guard and spills this secret right away. Now she fears she has placed herself in danger. The romance is sweet and hopeful. The spying details are in depth and altogether it makes for a lovely read.
My favorite quote from the book is actually the very first words of the book. It shows the humor that is going to be interwoven with the romance and the intrigue.
“Dougal, your breath is disgusting.” The noxious odour assaulted Aster’s nose, rousing her from sleep. She screwed up her face and rolled over, but the smell leapt over her and continued its assault. “Honestly,”
Iain and his three friends and fellow Scots Greys are personable and basically adorable scotsmen. They are part of the Second Dragoons helping the English in their war against France through spying and code breaking. I liked the side characters Aibme, Seamus and Quinn, the soldiers in Iain’s troop. Each have a unique personality that makes them a pleasure to read about. Aunt Margaret is great too. She is an over the top feisty aunt and she is a wonderful addition.
I loved Iain and his desire to protect and get to know more about Aster. This is a book I can recommend if you like historical Romances. As a debut novel it has great story plot and I found very little not to like about it. There was healthy suspicion between the main characters and their search for the truth before they could trust each other, they both had to earn it. I liked that. It gave it a realistic feel. It is how I would expect people to behave when dealing with spies, coded notes and potential assassins.
I did notice that some of the other reviewers on Goodreads and Amazon thought that it was not in keeping with the era, but I did not find that to be the case. Perhaps they had an advanced reading copy that still had some typos and errors. I might have gotten the finished product when I picked it up on Amazon.
I thought the characters were realistic and progressive. Maybe I was blinded by my love of free thinking progressive men and strong puzzle solving women. Aster Tanner had been an orphan and had suffered a lot of struggles. I was happy that she was in a stable place and making a living in an era when it was hard for women to do so.
I thought it was a good start to a series and I found it to be well written. This is the first of four Second Sons series. Each one of these adorable men will be getting their own story. I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear that. I really liked all four of these men. They certainly deserve their own story.
This book along with book 2 and book 3 are all available in paperback and in Kindle version on Amazon