Engagement and Espionage by Penny Reid

Cletus and Jenn are my favorite pairing of all of the Winston Brothers Series and this new book had me falling in love with this adorable couple all over again. Clear your calendar because I had things to do yesterday but once I started I couldn’t put it down!


Jennifer Sylvester made her deal with the devil . . . and now they’re engaged!

But all is not well in Green Valley. A chicken choker is on the loose, 61 dead birds most “fowl” need plucking, and no time remains for Jennifer and her devilish fiancé. Desperate to find a spare moment together, Jenn and Cletus’s attempts to reconnect are thwarted by one seemingly coincidental disaster after another. It’s not long before Cletus and Jenn see a pattern emerge and the truth becomes clear.
Sabotage! Will an undercover mission unmask the culprit? Or are these love-birds totally plucked? from Goodreads.

The book cover has a yellow and purple string art showing a chicken with purple mountains behind it and featuring the title “Engagement and Espionage”


I have read all of Penny Reid’s books and I consider myself a massive fan. Not every single one of her books is one that I will read and re-read but Cletus and Jenn’s…well, Beard Science has some well worn pages at my house. I just love Cletus’ whole schtick – his smart, rich, debonaire, romantic self hidden under his unruly hair and his coveralls. I love watching him discover Jenn and grow to love her with abandon. Jenn is equally amazing. Her personal development from a baking prodigy / model for her Mother’s business to an independent woman who is capable and deserving of a great love is a story I probably re-read every six months. So, when Penny Reid said Cletus and Jenn would be back together for a mystery, honestly, I was worried. Could Cletus and Jenn continue to win me over after their pitch perfect falling in love?


The answer is emphatically, “YES.” 

If you have ever shut a book and wondered how the new flame of romance would continue to burn, look no further. This book is now my standard for how authors should continue their romance stories. Cletus and Jenn’s relationship was covered in subsequent Winston Brothers books (which eventually give you the far off future for all of the couples) but this story takes place just a few months after their falling in love. Right away, I was right back to that moment of fresh, new love all over again.

What Reid does so well in this book is continue the narrative in a way that makes you fall in love with the characters independently and their relationship all over again. Cletus discovers new things about Jenn and vice versa that deepen how they feel about each other. And, like in all long term romances, Reid knows that the family of each partner will affect the relationship and she uses this aspect for the mystery and the sexual frustration perfectly.

If I had one complaint it would be that the mystery was easy to solve and caused Jenn and Cletus little mental straining to formulate a hypothesis and conclusion. And, they succumbed to an immoral subterfuge that I’m not sure felt completely right for the characters.

But, if I’m being honest, none of that mattered to me since I didn’t pick up this book to be frustrated by a Agatha Christie level intrigue. I wanted more of Jenn, more of Cletus, and more of the Winstons. I just adore the way the Winton Brothers (and Ashley) all band together for the good of each sibling and how they open their arms to each sibling’s new partner. I can imagine being loved deeply but to have a family as wonderful as the Winstons all but adopt you? Sign me up.

Clear your schedule before you sit down with this book because I just could not put it down. Thankfully, I’ll have time between now and March when the next book comes out to re-read it a few times.

Tell me, please!

Which fictional family (romance or otherwise) do you want to marry into?




2 thoughts on “Engagement and Espionage by Penny Reid

Add yours

  1. They were my favorite couple. I can’t get enough of Cletus so I’m really looking forward to reading this new series. Amazing review!


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