The Secret Service of Tea and Treason: Dangerous Damsels (Book 3), by India Holton — A Review

From the desk of Char Jones:

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.U.N.T.), 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.   


Romantic Histfic with Heart & Wit

What a delight to be lost again in India Holton’s quirky world. Book 3 in her Dangerous Damsels’ series, The Secret Service of Tea and Treason, is my absolute favorite and can be read solo, but I’d recommend devouring the first two for an even more wondrous experience. 

I guffawed at Holton’s laugh-out-loud twists of the pen (A.U.N.T., the British agency that protects the Queen, riffs on that old ’60s TV show, “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”) Charming humor is a Holton signature, as is slow burn romance, with phrases that hint at passion, sparking more fire than explicitness ever could:

Daniel stared dazedly after her. His memory was shouting for attention . . . His body, however, drowned it out with a hot, uncomfortable throbbing. Perhaps he had strained something in his fight with the thief. He would have to consult a medical encyclopedia this evening.” (20)

Her hands still tingled from having touched him. Her nerves were a wreck. If she never set eyes on him again it would be too soon.” (21)

Scones and Swoons

As Alice and Daniel fake matrimony to save the Queen from assassination, I fainted from glee. Holton’s newest in the now beloved series cements her as a must-read author for readers who love historical romantic fantasy with heart and wit. She’s all that plus a steaming cup of Earl Grey and warm scones with jam and clotted cream. 

One quibble: As I raced through this spirited romance, I could only think, “India, please write MORE scintillating stories that make readers quiver.” In answer, she includes an excerpt of Book 1 of her next series, The Ornithologist’s Field Guide to Love, coming Summer 2024. Huzzah!

5 out of 5 Stars


♥ Swoony Victorian settings

♥ Jane Austen & Mimi Matthews

♥ Enemies to Lovers

♥ Fantastical romance 

♥ Wit with Charm and Guffaws



  • The Secret Service of Tea and Treason: Dangerous Damsels (Book 3), by India Holton
  • Berkley Publishing Group (April 18, 2023)
  • Paperback, eBook, & audiobook (368) pages
  • ISBN: 9780593547267
  • Genre: Historical Romance, Fantasy Romance


We received a review copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Cover image courtesy of Berkley Publishing Group, © 2023; text Char Jones, Literary Redhead © 2023,, an Amazon affiliate.

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