Title: Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spaniards by Kit Brennan
Published January 1, 2012; Astor + Blue Editions
Genre: historical mystery
About the main character: The historical Lola Montez was a famous Spanish dancer born in Ireland in 1818 as Marie Dolores Eliza Rosanna Gilbert. She first called herself Lola Montez in 1843 when she performed in London. A success throughout Europe, she acquired fame, notoriety, as well as famous lovers. She was said to always carry a whip with her and used it for protection.Whip Smart is a clever mystery that uses the historical Lola as a main character. It weaves the mystery plot into parts of Lola's real life - her Irish background, an elopement and failed marriage, her life in India, her training in Spain as a dancer, her dalliances, even her trademark Spider dance.
My take: The novel is written with a lot of humor that plays up the daring and sensuous Lola. The book combines a bit of erotica with a smart mystery plot. I think it's the first in what will be a great series. The title Whip Smart is also a good way to describe the book.
Book description: In London, in 1842, 22-year-old Eliza Gilbert/Lola Montez is offered a trip to Spain to act as a spy for the exiled Spanish queen, Maria Cristina. In Madrid, her secret task is to seduce two figures at court in order to disgrace and distract them, but she falls in love with her accomplice, General Diego de Léon. When the plot is exposed, Diego is captured, and Lola is forced to flee on horseback to France, with a dangerous group of Loyalists in pursuit. (publisher's description).
Thanks to the publisher for an ARC of the book.