Aug 5 2014 1:30pm

Like Peanut Butter and Jelly: Spies and Romance

Love and Let Spy by Shana GalenToday we're joined by author Shana Galen, whose Love and Let Spy is out today! Love and Let Spy is the latest book in the Lord and Lady Spy series, historical romances with a lot of humor and plenty of intrigue. Shana is here to discuss the perfect pairing of spies and romance. Thanks, Shana!

As every veteran romance reader knows, spies and romance go together like…well, like love and marriage, peanut butter and jelly, James Bond and a shaken martini. It’s no surprise that spies are some of our favorite romance heroes, and more recently our favorite heroines too. I mean, who doesn’t love a guy or girl who’s out there saving the world, fighting the bad guys, and looking debonair while doing so?

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Some of my favorite characters in romance novels have been spies. Julie Garwood always writes fabulous warrior heroes, and since spies are almost always warriors, the popularity of her Crown’s Spies series speaks to the appeal of the spy hero. My favorite of Garwood’s spies is Lyon from The Lion’s Lady. He’s a retired spy, but he’s still a warrior at heart. He fights for Christina the same way he’d fight a threat to the realm—with persistence, even in the face of great odds.

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Spies are also blessed with fantastic tools (And yes, that is a double entendre). Think about the most famous spy of all, James Bond. He had Q in his corner, devising all those fabulous gadgets. But a great gadget is nothing if you don’t know how to use it. Another of my favorite romances, The Black Hawk by Joanna Bourne, had the perfect mix of spy ingenuity and romance. Bourne’s Hawker as well as his French counterpart, Justine DeCabrillac, are masters at lock picking, weaponry, explosives, disguises, poisons—any and every tool a spy might need at his or her disposal. Part of the spy’s appeal is that he or she is both smart and resourceful.

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Frying pans, who knew?

Another of my favorite romantic spies, Dane in Celeste Bradley’s Surrender to a Wicked Spy, is quite amenable to using the, ahem, tools Olivia procures to facilitate their lovemaking. But that’s why spies are such great romance heroes. They’re flexible with their, um, tools.

But I think the primary reason spies are so popular in romance is because they’re mysterious. What spy worth his or her salt doesn’t have a secret identity or at least a code name? Emma Orczy published The Scarlet Pimpernel books in the early 1900s, and the clever, brave spy known as the Scarlet Pimpernel who masquerades as the dull-witted fop Percy Blakeney set the stage for legions of romantic spy heroes to come. There have been plenty of books that played with the legend of The Scarlet Pimpernel. One of the best is Lauren Willig’s The Pink Carnation series, especially how Willig manages to return the romantic spy trope to its origins.

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What makes The Scarlet Pimpernel so popular over 100 years after its first publication? Those of us who love romance love a spy who can do his job without losing his nobility. There may be revolutionaries chasing our hero or heroine, pistol balls whizzing past him or her, and dangers around every bend or turn, but our spy never loses his or her sense of humor. He or she always has a sharp riposte or witty quip on the tip of his or her tongue.

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Finally, no hero is popular with romance readers unless he’s sexy, and there’s something very sexy about spies. They have the smolder.

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In Love and Let Spy, the latest from my Lord and Lady Spy series, Bonde, Jane Bonde is the spy. The challenge was to make sure her hero was as sexy as she is, even though Dominic Griffyn wasn’t a spy. He has some tough competition. Jane is beautiful, knows her gadgets and tools, and has a penchant for ratafia shaken not stirred. But Dominic has a dark, mysterious past, and as we know from Daniel Craig’s recent portrayals of the iconic James Bond, dark and mysterious are hot.

Is it hot in here?

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Do you think spies and romance are the perfect pairing? What’s your favorite spy romance?

Learn more or order a copy of Love and Let Spy by Shana Galen, out now:

Buy at AmazonBuy at Barnes & NobleBuy at Indiebound



Shana Galen is the bestselling author of fast-paced adventurous Regency historicals, including the RT Reviewers' Choice The Making of a Gentleman. Booklist says, “Galen expertly entwines espionage-flavored intrigue with sizzling passion,” and RT Bookreviews calls her “a grand mistress of the action/adventure subgenre.” She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston's inner city. Now she writes full time. She's happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Shana loves to hear from readers, so send her an email or see what she's up to daily on Facebook and Twitter.

Visit her website at www.shanagalen.com

Subscribe to this conversation (must be logged in):
1. Kareni
I'll have to admit that Joanna Bourne's spies are definite favorites. I loved Hawk's story (really stories) and am looking forward to reading Pax's this fall.

I've enjoyed your books as well, Ms. Galen. My favorite (though it's light in spies) is The Making of a Gentleman.
2. ShanaGalen
Thank you, Kareni. Armand does seem to be a favorite with readers.
4. Danniell Hampton
I enjoyed this post. I LOVED Lyon's Lady. Lyon was awesome and I loved how Christina confused him so much at times. I can't wait to read your book.
Michelle Harlan
5. mharlan
I love spies & romance! A series that I'm loving right now is Robyn DeHart's Masquerading Mistresses. I
6. Julia David
I love your spy series. I can't wait to read Love and Let Spy. There have been other spy books that I liked, but when I am trying to think of a name, I can't.
7. Barbed1951
Yes, I think spies and romance go very well together. I think my favorite spy romance is Lord and Lady Spy, I loved it so much. :D
Teddy Pierson
8. TeddyP
I came for the peanut butter, but stayed for the kitties.
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