Refuge for Masterminds by Kathleen Baldwin (Blog Tour Review. Excerpt & #Giveaway)

I love this series! Check out my review for this third book, an excerpt, and the giveaway below...

Refuge for Masterminds
(Stranje House #3)
by Kathleen Baldwin

YA Historical
Hardcover & ebook, 352 Pages
May 23rd 2017 by Tor Teen


Lady Jane Moore has a secret. A secret that must be kept buried. If anyone discovered the truth, her life at Stranje House would crumble. And with Napoleon Bonaparte threatening to invade England, everyone at Stranje House is already in mortal danger.

There’s a traitor in the house. Someone is sneaking information to Napoleon’s spies, Lady Daneska and Ghost. Jane is determined to find out who it is before suspicions rip apart the bonds of friendship at Stranje House. Her desperate hunt for the traitor ensnares a brash young American inventor, Alexander Sinclair, Robert Fulton’s nephew, into an ambush that puts his life in danger. Sinclair is the most maddening young man in all of Christendom, a sharp-tongued rascal with boorish manners, but Lady Jane cannot bear the thought of the golden-haired genius being harmed.

Is Jane enough of a mastermind to save Alexander, her friends at Stranje House, and possibly England itself?

Fans of Gail Carriger, Patricia Wrede, and Caroline Stevermer will love this Regency-era alternate history filled with spunky heroines, handsome young lords, and dastardly villains.

Praise for the Book

"Baldwin has a winning series here: her characters are intriguing and fully rendered." - Stacey Comfort, Booklist

"Refuge for Masterminds moves at a fast pace from the first page and doesn’t stop. Although it is written with a young adult audience in mind, it is a fun and enjoyable novel and will also appeal to adult readers." - Francesca Pelaccia, Historical Novel Society

(Affiliate links included, meaning I receive a small kickback when you make a purchase using my links.)

My Review

REFUGE FOR MASTERMINDS is a steadily moving historical romance with delightful characters, plenty of danger, and a well plotted story that is sure to engage the reader from beginning to end. Highly recommended to historical romance readers who enjoy the mix of espionage and a boarding school to London setting!

I love this series! I particularly loved the banter between Jane and Alexander in this third book. It was so much fun and definitely made me laugh. They were both marvelous characters! I also adored their romance. Then there were the other characters, particularly these girls who have become like sisters. They have their own strengths and weaknesses and love interests, and care deeply for each other.

I love that each of the books in this series focuses more on one of the Stranje girls, but still weaves in all the characters and an overarching plot as they face Napoleon and his spies. The plot had some adventure and action, as well as a fairly constant feel of danger. The ending was climatically intense, as to be expected, and I loved how it all came together. It also concluded with a decent resolution while also leading quite nicely to the next book, which I am highly anticipating!

My only grievance would be that I didn't completely understand Jane's misgivings in trusting Miss Stranje. I also was a little confused by her not taking advantage of dismissing a contract until later on for some misguided reason or other. At least she figured things out in time.

In the end, was it what I wished for? This was another fantastic read and addition to this series! I enjoyed it from beginning to end!

Content: Some violence, but clean.

Source: I received a complimentary ARC from the publisher through Book Unleashed, which did not require a review nor affect it in any way.


A Short Excerpt from
Chapter 22

(Lady Daneska and Ghost have captured Jane as bait to blackmail Alexander Sinclair. Daneska has Jane alone and plans to torture her, but gets distracted.)

 Lady Daneska shakes her head and paces up and down. “I hate you, Jane. You know that, don’t you?”
I almost laugh. “I’d be a fool to think otherwise. So get it over with—kill me and prove Tess wrong.”
She draws her knife and holds it next to my face. “Maybe I’ll just make you ugly. Then everyone will stop loving you.”
She presses the blade against my cheek. “Don’t be ridiculous. No one loves me because I’m pretty. I’m plain.”
“Yes. Yes, you are. Plain, with those no-color eyes—”
“What kind of color is hazel? Boring. Just like your hair. And your thin-lipped mouth.”
“My lips aren’t thin.”
“Plain.” She draws back the knife. “Why do they love you?” It is the most sincere question I’ve ever heard her ask. Then she has to go and ruin it all. “Tell me what it is they love about you. I’ll carve it out, and send it to them in a teeny tiny box.” She looks down at me with disgust.
“Where did he cut you?” She pulls up my dress and stares at my leg. Then she yanks it aside so I can see. “Look! He bandaged you. He does not do that. Lucien does not bandage people.” She presses on my wound and makes it ooze afresh. “Does it hurt?” She pokes it again just to see me wince. “That’s going to leave an ugly scar.”
Her gaze shifts to his cot. “That is his blanket around your shoulders. Mein Gott he tucked you in—Ghost did this!”
“I wouldn’t know. I was unconscious.”
She flings down my skirts, snatches his blanket away and throws it in a wad onto his cot, stomps back, and kicks my chair. She points the tip of her knife straight at my nose. “What is it you have over people?”
Careful not to move or even breathe, I say, “Nothing. I suspect he was just keeping me alive so you can force Mr. Sinclair to do your bidding.”
“Maybe.” She backs away an inch. “He said he wants you alive.” She mocks his commanding tone. “We will get more out of Sinclair if the girl is still breathing.” She waves her arm, encompassing the whole room. “Still, he didn’t have to cover you with his blanket. Tell me, what it is they all love about you? This Mr. Sinclair. Miss Stranje. All of them. Why do they care about you?”
“I don’t know.” That is the pure truth.
“What is it you give them?”
I try to shrug, as much as possible with my ribs tied to a chair. That’s when I notice Ghost must’ve loosened the ropes Jack tied so tight around my midsection, probably so I could breathe properly. “I have no idea. Perhaps they feel gratitude because I do my best to take care of them. I organize their plans and advise—”
“What? Are you mad? No, no, no. This is not the answer.” She waggles the knife at me as if it is her finger. “No one above the age of seven wants a nanny. And no one likes their governess.”
“I did.”
“Well, no one else does. Take my word on it.”
A nanny? A governess? Is that what I am to them? I blink. “If that’s not it, I have no idea why they would care about me. Maybe it’s simply because I love them.”
Other Books in the Series

A School for Unusual Girls
(Stranje House #1)
by Kathleen Baldwin

YA Historical
Hardcover & ebook, 352 Pages
May 19th 2015 by Tor Teen


Napoleon is exiled, Europe is in shambles and Britain is at war on four fronts. Daughters of the Beau Monde who don’t fit high society’s strict mold are banished to Stranje House, where headmistress, Emma Stranje, entangles these unusual girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

Praise for the Book

"A completely original--and totally engrossing--world, full of smart girls, handsome boys and sinister mysteries...Sign me up." - Meg Cabot, NYT Bestselling Author of The Princess Diaries on A School for Unusual Girls

Read my review HERE.
(Affiliate links included, meaning I receive a small kickback when you make a purchase using my links.)
GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleBook DepositoryiBooks

Exile for Dreamers
(Stranje House #2)
by Kathleen Baldwin

YA Historical
Hardcover & ebook, 384 Pages
May 24th 2016 by Tor Teen


Tess Aubreyson can't run far enough or fast enough to escape the prophetic dreams that haunt her. But with Napoleon threatening to invade England, Tess’s disturbing dreams may be the only means of saving Lord Ravencross, the man she loves, and her friends at Stranje House.

Praise for the Book

"This spy school for girls . . . is impossible to put down! . . . I recommend this book to anyone that loves brave girls, adventure and great friendships." - 5 Girls Book Reviews

Read my review HERE.

(Affiliate links included, meaning I receive a small kickback when you make a purchase using my links.)

About the Author

Kathleen Baldwin loves adventure in books and in real life. She taught rock climbing in the Rockies, survival camped in the desert, was stalked by a mountain lion, lost an argument with a rattlesnake, spent way too long in college, fell in love and married her very own hero.

A SCHOOL FOR UNUSUAL GIRLS, the first book in the alternate history series for teens, was awarded Spirit of Texas in 2016, is a Junior Library Guild selection, and Kansas NEA Reading Circle gave it a starred review in their 2016 “Best of the Best” for High Schools. Ian Bryce, producer of Spiderman, Saving Private Ryan, and other notable films optioned the series for film.

REFUGE FOR MASTERMINDS, Book 3 in the Stranje House series, releases May 23rd.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot calls this romantic Regency adventure, "completely original and totally engrossing."

Tour Schedule

Follow the book tour from May 15 - June 3, 2017.

Get sneak peaks, excerpts, fun facts and other never-before-published info on Refuge for Masterminds.

Tour-Wide Giveaway

Giveaway Graphic
Prizes up for grabs:
Be one of three lucky winners:
$10 Gift Card + hardback copy of Refuge for Masterminds
Contest runs from May 15 - June 3, 2017.

Have you read this series? What did you think of the excerpt?

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