Book Reviews

Review: An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason by Virginia Boecker

An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason was an entertaining, clever, and imaginative take on Twelfth Night and assassins. If you’re a fan of historical fiction, star crossed lovers, and Shakespeare then this is a must read for you.


When Lady Katherine’s father is killed for being an illegally practicing Catholic, she discovers treason wasn’t the only secret he’s been hiding: he was also involved in a murder plot against the reigning Queen Elizabeth I. With nothing left to lose, Katherine disguises herself as a boy and travels to London to fulfill her father’s mission, and to take it one step further–kill the queen herself.

Katherine’s opportunity comes in the form of William Shakespeare’s newest play, which is to be performed in front of Her Majesty. But what she doesn’t know is that the play is not just a play–it’s a plot to root out insurrectionists and destroy the rebellion once and for all.

The mastermind behind this ruse is Toby Ellis, a young spy for the queen with secrets of his own. When Toby and Katherine are cast opposite each other as the play’s leads, they find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another.

But the closer they grow, the more precarious their positions become. And soon they learn that star-crossed love, mistaken identity, and betrayal are far more dangerous off the stage than on.


I can’t get over how clever An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason is. For the inner English Lit nerd, watching all the pieces of this book come together was me just yelling, “YES!” over and over again. That’s almost what it was like watching me read this book. Except I was in a government building. So it was more just happy sighing over and over again. But besides the cleverness of the writing, what I loved was the assassins, weapon training, conspiracies, and love story.

I’ll write you a list of all the reasons I SO enjoyed this book:

  • Two perspectives. I am a sucker for love stories with two perspectives. We are able to see into their head. Into their hearts. Feeling love fall into place from both sides is truly my sweet spot.
  • Twelfth Night is my favorite Shakespeare play ever. Not only is it the first I ever saw, but it’s my favorite to this day. I have loved reading it, seeing it on stage, in puppets, and in this book. Truly. You’ve got to be pretty good and into this play to appreciate it. I appreciated all the ways Boecker incorporated the play into this book. It’s brilliant.
  • Let me just say, I will read books about girl assassin’s until I die. Probably by assassination (if I could ever live a life that is that exciting). They are my actual kyrptonite. Wait, so is necromancy. And robots. I have many weak spots. I’m entirely weak.

Wait I’m not done listing!

  • The levels of meta star crossed lovers is amazing. There’s the play, our main characters, and more. This whole book felt like a love letter to historical fiction and my favorite play ever. It’s like watching your two best friends become best friends. You see a dream sequence of all the fun adventures you’ll go on together. Skipping. With picnic baskets, and hills that never make you look exhausted or sweaty.
  • I love watching characters struggle with doing the right thing, with betrayal, with conspiracies, and with seeing beyond what they’ve been taught. Oh and with revenge. Revenge is what would doom me in my own book – if I was a main character. This has tons of these struggles. It’s so good. And satisfying.
  • OH! And one of the main characters is bisexual. Just saying.

So are you hooked yet?

Find An Assassin’s Guide to Love and Treason on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound & The Book Depository.


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