A Fearless Heart

SkySpark. (Secrets of the Zodiac, Bk. 9). Aug. 2022. 368p. ISBN 9781942316572. pap. $17.95. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
When the Zodiac ring (think a quasi-MI5 in Regency England) uncovers a string of murders by poison, Gabriel Courtenay is assigned the case. His only clue points him to Lady Arcadia, gardener extraordinaire and creator of any number of seemingly mysterious concoctions, so much so that her neighbors think she might have murdered her father. Working undercover as a junior gardener, Gabe infiltrates Arcadia’s home, soon discovering her scientific work creating plant-based cures, one she very much hopes will help ease her debilitating fears. His disguise is no match for their mutual attraction, and soon, he confesses his work. Arcadia is drawn into the case, using her skills and overcoming some of her terrors, to help stop a killer. The novel easily stands alone and is a great place to drop into the series, getting a taste of the wider world of agents who work for Zodiac. Cole offers marvelous pacing and accomplished characterizations and builds a delightful network supporting Arcadia on all fronts.
VERDICT Detailed, tender, compelling, and a grand read, this ninth in the series, after Breathless in the Dark, will thrill fans of Joanna Bourne’s “Spymaster” books.
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