book review, read with audra

The Debutante’s Code Review and Giveaway

For the Debutante Turned Spy, There’s Much More than Meets the Eye

New Regency series from Erica Vetsch described as Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes

Grand Rapids, MI — Do you have a fiction lover on your holiday shopping list? Look no further for a gift suggestion! Just in time for the gift-giving season, award-winning author Erica Vetsch is kicking off her new Thorndike & Swann Regency mystery series with the release of The Debutante’s Code (Kregel Publications/December 7, 2021/ISBN: 9780825447136/$15.99). This new series combining a historical setting, romance, and mystery has been described as Jane Austen meets Sherlock Holmes. With that combination, where can you go wrong?

The Debutante’s Code introduces readers to Lady Juliette Thorndike who has newly returned from finishing school and is ready to debut in London society. Thanks in part to her years away from home, Juliette hasn’t spent much time with her parents, and sees them only as the flighty, dilettante couple the other nobles love. But when they disappear and are not in London for her homecoming, she discovers she never really knew them at all. 

Hurt and confused by her parents’ absence, Juliette is feeling abandoned not only by her parents, but by God as well. “We often form our views of a Heavenly Father from our experience with our earthly parents, for good or for ill,” Vetsch explains. “Juliette has not been ill-treated by her parents, or at least she didn’t think she had, but if they could abandon her on the eve of her coming out in society, can she trust anything about them? They’ve taught her that God is with her, that He will never abandon her, but can she trust what they have taught her when they can lie so easily?”

Through a trail of clues they left behind, Juliette soon discovers that her parents have been living double lives as government spies—and they’re only the latest in a long history of espionage that is the family’s legacy.

When given the opportunity to carry on that legacy, Lady Juliette is determined to continue their work. Mentored by her uncle, she plunges into the dangerous world of spies. From the glittering ballrooms of London to the fox hunts, regattas, and soirees of country high society, she must chase down hidden clues, solve the mysterious code her parents left behind, and stay out of danger. All the while, she has to keep her endeavors a secret from her best friend and her suitors—not to mention the nosy, irritatingly handsome Bow Street runner, who suspects her of a daring theft.

Daniel Swann has a mysterious past of his own. Now, he’s on the hunt for a stolen painting when other valuable pieces of art start disappearing one by one. Each clue leads him closer and closer to the thief and killer, but he’s disconcerted to find that his chief suspect is the debutante he finds so attractive.

Can Lady Juliette outwit her enemies and complete her parents’ last mission? 

Juliette’s story has been a long one in the making for Vetsch who first started playing with the storyline idea ten years ago. The author originally imagined the story taking place in New York during the Gilded Age, but adapted it to the Regency Era. Although we’re inundated with TV and streaming programs that feature police procedures today, getting the details right for 1816 was a new adventure for Vetsch, “There was quite a bit of research involved in this one, from police procedures to art history. Much studying of maps and the hierarchy of society, the lives of British spies, and fitting it all into the political and social situations of the times. The Bow Street detectives didn’t have our current levels of forensic science to help identify culprits. They relied upon eyewitness testimony, circumstantial evidence, catching someone red-handed, and by following the paperwork/money trail. Some things have not changed though. The main motives for lawbreaking still fall into three categories: money, power, and sex. Who has it, who wants it, who wants to deny someone else from acquiring it? And in Regency times, the detectives were still looking for motive, means, and opportunity.”

Vetsch’s rollicking, exciting new series will continue in 2022 with the release of the Millstone of Doubt.

Advance Praise

“From its delicious title to an intriguing plot involving spies and secret codes in 19th-century England, The Debutante’s Code kicks off Erica Vetsch’s new Thorndike & Swann Regency Mysteries with action, humor, and the promise of romance.”

~ Julie Klassen, author of Shadows of Swanford Abbey

“Intrigue abounds in this thrilling tale of a debutante turned spy. Amidst the whirl of stolen art pieces and murder, heroine Juliette Thorndike takes on a dangerous role to break a code before the villains discover it … and before the swoon-worthy Officer Daniel Swann figures out she’s involved. Author Erica Vetsch once again pens a winner in The Debutante’s Code … a must-read for Regency and mystery lovers!”

~ Michelle Griep, Christy Award–winning author of Once Upon a Dickens Christmas

“Erica Vetsch has done it again, bringing the reader an exciting Regency historical romance, but this time with the twist of a delicious mystery. The Debutante’s Code is completely entertaining, with the promise of more delights to come in the rest of the Thorndike & Swann series.”

~ Jan Drexler, award-winning author of Softly Blows the Bugle

“A mystery within a mystery within a mystery. Inventive!”

~ Regina Scott, award-winning author

About the Author

Erica Vetsch is a New York Times best-selling and ACFW Carol Award–winning author. She is a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota with her husband, who she claims is both her total opposite and soul mate. 

Vetsch is the author of many novellas and novels, including the popular Serendipity & Secrets Regency series and the new Thorndike & Swann Regency Mystery series

Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. 
Learn more about Erica Vetsch and her books at www.ericavetsch.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@EricaVetschAuthor) and Instagram (@EricaVetsch).

Book Review:

I had such a good time with Juliette and Daniel! I felt like I was in the middle National Treasure meets Mission Impossible. Spies, intrigue, romance. This book had it all and it pulled me in right from the beginning. Juliette is searching for her own place in a complicated world, and it might not be what she always dreamed. But is it worth the challenge? I enjoyed the faith thread in this book, as it was a gentle leading for both Juliette and Daniel and they each made different strides in their journey. I will definitely need the next book, and I have to say it was great to see old characters drop by for a quick visit. My favorite aspect of the book was probably the humor. I’m a sucker for a good banter, and this book was filled with witty lines mixed amid the mystery. I received a copy of this book through Read with Audra via the publisher. I was not required to leave a positive review. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Giveaway

Enter the giveaway HERE

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