On Secret Service is about spying during the Civil war. I read it because I have enjoyed many of Jake’s books, I like history, and I’m interested in the Civil War. Still, I didn’t like On Secret Service as much as I have liked other books by Jakes.
The main idea in On Secret Service is that people spying for each side fall in love with people spying for the other side. Setting aside the obvious fact that I have no idea what it was like living back then, I can’t imagine falling in love with someone who was supporting slavery. I have trouble with the idea of falling in love with someone who is actively on the other side in a war. But I can’t imagine falling in love with a Republican. So, I may be out of touch here.
I enjoyed the historical aspects of the story. As usual, Jakes seemed to tell the history as accurately as it could be told in a work of fiction based on events more than a century earlier. Reading about time periods from long ago sure is a reminder of how much really has changed. That’s a reminder that is good for me to remember.
I did have an issue with the love interests that went beyond the issues discussed above. Things just seemed a little two fairytale. I can’t imagine meeting someone once and thinking about them obsessively for years. That seems unhealthy to me. So, I couldn’t relate to Hannah or Fredric. That’s true even though there were things about both of them I liked.
I was glad everything didn’t turn out neat and clean in the end. While I don’t want bad things to happen to good people, even if they are fictitious, I think too many books have endings that are too perfect. One of the things I like about Jakes is death, even of good people, is a part of his stories. In that way, his writing is more real than others.
Even though there were things I didn’t like about On Secret Service, I was glad I read the book. It provided enough entertainment and gave me enough to consider that I was able to overlook the parts of the story I didn’t like.