Title: Viva Jacquelina! (Book 10 in Bloody Jack)
Author: L. A. Meyer
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Release Date: September 4, 2012
Can Jacky Faber ever escape trouble, even when she’s on assignment for British Intelligence? Shipped off to Portugal and Spain to spy for the Crown, Jacky becomes separated from her protectors after a heated battle with Napoleon’s forces and must make her way to Madrid on her own.
Arriving in that beautiful Spanish city hungry and exhausted, Jacky finagles a position as a model in the studio of the famous artist Francisco Goya, charming her way into the hearts of all who live there – all except for young Carmelita, a student threatened by Jacky’s charisma and easy ways. Used to making female enemies, Jacky just goes about her business: grinding pigment, assisting the great artist as he pains royalty, and even running with the bulls down the streets of Madrid. But when Carmelita’s jealousy delivers Jacky to the Spanish Inquisition, it looks as if Jacky has finally met her end.
A master at cheating death, Jacky is soon off singing and dancing her way across the continent in the company of a caravan of gypsies, relishing every adventure and hatching a plan to make her way back to her one true love.
I think that this is one of my favorite books in the series, if only because I could actually translate the Spanish parts. I loved the cultural aspects, too – it makes me grateful to my Spanish teacher that I knew what La Corrida de Toros was, as well as the traditional dress of the Majos and Majas. Her adventures in Spain do not lack for intrigue, either, as she spies and reports back to Britain through guerilla warriors, and then is captured by the Spanish Inquisition and endured so much! I thought she was done for, at several points. Just goes to show that you should never underestimate Jacky and her friends.
I loved that Jaimy was doing much better. His letters to Jacky got more and more coherent, and the old determination that was seen in previous books in his letters began to leak through again. In his return to his old self, he gained new skills, too. The Buddhists that he trained both his mind and body with definitely gave him new strength, as well as new skills. I liked his training with the Bo especially entertaining. However, this aspect of the book makes me wonder how well-suited Jaimy and Jacky will be when they finally get back together. There’s no doubt that their intentions are true, but the last time they truly spent some time together was awhile ago. Some of the things that Jaimy has said to Jacky, about staying home and being a housewife, has definitely rubbed her the wrong way in the past. It makes me curious to know – all right, I’m desperate to know – how they’re going to work it all out.
The end, though, made me really happy. I always laugh when I read from two characters point of view who are in different areas of the world, and can see how their paths are going to overlap. I just hope nothing gets in the way this time! Can’t wait for the next book to come out!
**Note: I would not recommend this book to anyone under the age of 13 due to violence, sexual references, and profanity (in multiple languages).