Susanna and the Spy

Susanna and the Spy - Anna Elliott I thoroughly enjoyed the innocence and mystery of this book. Susanna's father married a woman not approved by his dour father, so her father was cut out of the will. Susanna's mother died early, and the one trip to her grandfather's house with her father resulted in rage for both her father and grandfather. Susanna only remembers being treated harshly and called "riff-raff" by her grandfather.So when her father died, Susanna quickly learned that the reason they moved so much was to stay ahead of creditors - creditors that she can no longer ignore. So she sells all she has and out of necessity hires herself out to be a governess. Problem is, she's young and pretty, and many women don't want such a pretty governess around. When the book opens, Susanna is on a carriage voyage to London through Kent. She's just left her last position because the elder step-son of the family tried to take advantage of her. Susanna is afraid she won't find employment as a governess, and she's down to her last few pounds. When she encounters an older gardener from her grandfather's estate and learns the old man died only a month ago, Susanna wonders about the gardener's words that "them up in the Hall - they killed him", meaning that her grandfather was murdered. The gardener also tells her that "there's a wrong to be put right", and he intimates that Susanna should visit the Hall. Since they stop at an inn near the Hall, Susanna decides to do just that.But that evening, she's surprised by a man who comes rushing into her room, obviously wounded, begging for shelter. She hides him in the wardrobe and only has time to climb back into bed when soldiers burst into her room. They tell her they're looking for a dangerous smuggler and murderer. Susanna is so shocked and frightened, she doesn't say much, and the soldiers and their commander, Colonel Price, leave her room. Of course the stranger is handsome, but he's hurt... and possibly a murderer. Susanna doesn't quite know what to do, so she confronts the stranger who claims that he's not a smuggler nor a murderer. So she helps the stranger with his wounds and sends him on his way.The next day, Susanna learns from the maid at the inn that the notorious man in her room is called Captain Clark, master of disguise and certainly a smuggler. She also learns that the old gardener was murdered - a knife in his back. Why was the gardener killed? Did he know too much about her grandfather's death? Was her grandfather murdered? Did Captain Clark have anything to do with the gardener's death?Since she'd already decided to meet her relative, Susanna sends a message to the Hall that morning. And soon a carriage shows up with her cousin, Julia Lovecraft, who is to escort Susanna to the Hall. Julia tells her about her family: Uncle Charles, a bachelor and the heir to the Hall and lands; aunt Ruth who lives with her family in Derbyshire and is a dear; Julia's mother Sophia, widowed when her army husband died of yellow-fever in India and they were left penniless; and her uncle Henry, a clergyman and vicar of the local parish.When Susanna learns that her grandfather took a fall down the main stairs that caused his death, she begins to look at the family for suspects... and finds that everyone had a motive and the opportunity to do the deed. And for some reason, she feels protective of Captain Clark and ventures out in the dead of night to warn him. Col. Price is staying at the Hall, and several mysterious messages come to Price to tell him where Clark will be and how to apprehend him. Susanna and Clark realize that someone in the Hall is responsible... but who? And when Susanna's new shawl is tied into a noose in her bedroom, she knows that the someone responsible for all of this is warning her.---------------Susanna gets herself into some wild situations! In her effort to help Captain Clark, she ventures out, alone in the dead of night to warn him. She seems to always be coming to his rescue and often tending his wounds. But when she discovers his "other" identity, her trust starts to diminish. Is Clark behind the murders? Is he a good guy as he claims or a bad guy?It's quite an innocent book - no steam, just a chaste kiss or two. And it has a nice HEA, as for once, Susanna is saved by the hero and not the other way around.