Audiobook review: The Secret Service of Tea and Treason by India Holton
The Secret Service of Tea and Treason is the third delightful tale in Ms. Holton’s Dangerous Damsels series. Ms. Holton rounds out her magically-filled historical England by introducing listeners to AUNT: the Agency of Undercover Note Takers, a secret group of downstairs spies. They infiltrate the League of Gentlewomen Witches and Wisteria Society through domestic service. In fact, both main characters were in the previous book as servants to other characters. The author weaves a whimsical tale using allusion, satire, and irony. Her characters are endearing.
Alice and Daniel are my favorite couple to date. Both orphaned and raised by AUNT tutors and agents, they have been trained to serve, and only serve. So when they must play happily married pirates, they are at a bit of a loss. I love that they must practice their duties to ensure they are a convincing couple *wink, wink*. Eventually, each recognizes that their life has been empty and meaningless, that AUNT doesn’t truly value them, only uses them. I love how they find comfort, companionship, and joy in one another and among the pirates.
The story is absolutely riotous. I mean, the pirates fly around in houses! At times, characters don’t understand simple idioms, answering with obtuse recognition. Other times, they make silly comparisons: “At once, Daniel grasped her, pulling her back against him, wrapping his arms around her waist. It was like being embraced by Michelangelo’s David, only human size and with no museum security guards involved.” The overall effect is a laugh-out-loud adventure.
Narration: The story is shared via the alternating third person POVs of Alice and Daniel. The narrator employs a prim and proper British accent for her narrator and Alice. It’s soft but stern; think Mary Poppins. Ms. Knowelden slightly alters her voice based on gender, age, and social standing during dialogue. Instead of drastically altering the tone of her voice, she changes the cadence, volume, and accent. She adds a lot of enthusiasm and energy to exaggerate the humor. Ms. Knowelden adds significant value to the listening experience.
My guess is that The Secret Service of Tea and Treason wraps up the Dangerous Damsels series based on the lengthy epilogue sharing the HEAs of the three main couples. This series has been an absolute joy to listen to and I highly recommend to fans who enjoy a bit of silly with their stories.
About the Book:
Two rival spies must brave pirates, witches, and fake matrimony to save the Queen.
Known as Agent A, Alice is the top operative within the Agency of Undercover Note Takers, a secret government intelligence group that is fortunately better at espionage than at naming itself. From managing deceptive witches to bored aristocratic ladies, nothing is beyond Alice’s capabilities. She has a steely composure and a plan always up her sleeve (alongside a dagger and an embroidered handkerchief). So when rumors of an assassination plot begin to circulate, she’s immediately assigned to the case.
But she’s not working alone. Daniel Bixby, otherwise known as Agent B and Alice’s greatest rival, is given the most challenging undercover assignment of his life— pretending to be Alice’s husband. Together they will assume the identity of a married couple, infiltrate a pirate house party, and foil their unpatriotic plans.
Determined to remain consummate professionals, Alice and Daniel must ignore the growing attraction between them, especially since acting on it might prove more dangerous than their target.
Author: India Holton
Narrator: Elizabeth Knowelden
Series: Dangerous Damsels #3
Genre: Historical Romance, Fantasy, alternate timeline
Audiobook Release Date: April 18, 2023
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio
Length: 10 hrs 15 mins
Audio Speed: 1.25x & 1.5x
Audible/Amazon (affilate link)
Reviews in the Series:
The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton (Dangerous Damsels #1)
The League of Gentlewomen Witches by India Holton (Dangerous Damsels #2) – Audiobook Review