Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (09/16)
“The Swallow” is the first book in the Caged Beauty Series, and the debut novel by author Isabelle Joshua.
Special Agent Kathryn Bryant was tricked and coerced into working for the NSA by her ex-boyfriend, Evan, who is now her boss. Espionage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and after one too many missions extracting sensitive data from disgusting lowlifes, Kathryn vows to make an escape, and begins careful deliberation of her secret exit to her new life. One more mission, that’s what she keeps telling herself, but her latest target, Alex, is unlike any she has ever known. After spending a week with Alex, Kathryn realizes that he is the perfect person to help her escape, but how can she convince him, and will she sacrifice the mission in the process?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Thoroughly. A bit of espionage, a bit of intrigue, a bit of romance – what’s not to like? The writing is straightforward, deliberate, and often brash, pulling the reader deeply into the story, either through a glimpse into Kathryn’s innermost thoughts or through the witty dialogue between the characters.
Ranking closely second to the writing style, are the delightful characters created by Ms. Joshua. Kathryn is a strong female lead, confident and sexy, down to earth and playful, but also mean, and sometimes nasty, especially in the second half of the book. Alex is every woman’s dream guy – thoughtful, caring, gorgeous, sensitive, strong, manly, and forgiving, almost to a fault - I could go on, but you get the idea. I felt like a fly on the wall watching their relationship develop, and the sex scenes – the perfect mix of romance and steam - sultry, inviting, and hot, without being sappy, insulting, or slutty. The supporting characters are genuine and create a nice balance, aiding the protagonists through a steadily moving plot.
I don’t usually do this, as I believe in the old adage of not judging a book by its cover and all, but I have to add that in addition to a fantastic story, the book cover is quite exquisite – simple, yet beautiful, clean and enticing.
“The Swallow” by Isabelle Joshua is a creative, intriguing story, and sets a solid foundation for a spectacular series, a bit different from anything currently on the market. That said, I was disappointed to learn that there is only one more book in the series, scheduled for production in 2017. Overall, I highly recommend this book and look forward to the upcoming conclusion, “The Bluebird.” One can always hope Joshua’s fans can change her mind by urging her to continue this incredible series!