Friday, November 27, 2020

The Gentleman and the Thief by Sarah M. Eden


The Gentleman and the Thief

I enjoyed book one in the Dread Penny Society series. You can find my review here

Let’s begin with the summary:

A gentleman scribes penny dreadful novels by night and falls in love with a woman who is a music teacher by day—and a thief at night.

London, 1865

From the moment Hollis Darby meets Ana Newport, he’s smitten. Even though he’s from a wealthy, established family and she isn’t, he wishes he could have a life with her by his side. But Hollis has a secret: the deep coffers that have kept his family afloat for generations are bare, so he supports himself by writing penny dreadfuls under a pseudonym. If not for the income from his novels, he would be broke.

Ana Newport also has a secret. Though she once had a place in society thanks to her father’s successful business, bankruptcy and scandal reduced his fortune to nothing more than a crumbling town house. So Ana teaches music during the day, and at night she assumes the identity of the “Phantom Fox.” She breaks into the homes of the wealthy to reclaim trinkets and treasures she feels were unjustly stolen from her family when they were struggling.

When Hollis’s brother needs to hire a music tutor for his daughter, Hollis recommends Ana, giving him a chance to spend time with her. Ana needs the income and is eager for the opportunity to get to know the enigmatic gentleman. What neither of them expects is how difficult it will be to keep their respective secrets from each other.

When a spree of robberies rocks the city, Ana and Hollis join forces to solve the crimes, discovering that working together deepens the affection between them. After all, who better to save the day than a gentleman and a thief?

And now, my review:

I liked revisiting familiar characters and returning to London in the 1800s. We follow the members of the DPS (Dread Penny Society) as they rescue and protect street urchins through a network of spies. I love this heroic aspect, which lends hope amidst a backdrop of dank London streets.

The main characters are often writers of “penny dreadful,” stories mainly for children with daring heroes and mysteries or even ghosts/zombies, etc. I admit I’ve skimmed or skipped these aspects at times. There are hidden elements if you want to read them, but I haven’t felt I’ve missed out by skimming.

It’s impressive to me that the author includes these stories in her narrative while also carrying out the main story of the novel as the penny dreadful excerpts are themselves detailed and layered.

Our heroine is multi-layered as well. She’s committing crime for noble reasons, and no one suspects her. This aspect really hooks readers.

The chemistry between the hero and heroine was delightful. Sarah is one of my favorite authors of historical fiction. I love her sense of humor and how she includes it on the page.

I do recommend reading these novels in order. The first is The Lady and the Highwayman. The Gentleman and the Thief is the second book in the Dread Penny Society series.

Monday, November 16, 2020

A Match Made at Christmas by Courtney Walsh

A Match Made at Christmas by Courtney Walsh

Just look at that yummy cover! 

Okay, let’s check out the summary:

Hayes McGuire never believed the stories about a famous Nantucket matchmaker until she ropes him into taking over her duties while she's off the island for Christmas.

So he enlists the help of the one person he can trust with this crazy scheme—his best friend, Prudence. Armed with a series of rules, a book of success stories and the promise of Christmas magic, the pair of old friends sets out to make a Christmas match.

Little do they know that magic doesn’t discriminate, and they soon find their years of friendship deepening into something more. Will Pru and Hayes ignore the electricity in the air between them, or will there be more than one match made at Christmas?

A Match Made at Christmas is a stand-alone holiday novella.

And now, my review:

Loved the setup with this one—a male matchmaker! Ha! The characters are fun and quirky, and this stand-alone novella was the perfect, light read during the holidays. It reads fast, yet I savored it while highlighting a lot of passages. 

These two have to team up as he hasn't a clue how to be a matchmaker. He's hoping she'll help. What a fun way to force them to have to spend a lot of time together with a romantic goal.

Oh, I love a good pining story. The heroine pines for the hero, but he doesn’t seem to know it. Meanwhile, we get to spend time in his POV, which is a benefit of this story’s third-person, dual POV narrative. He projects a certain persona that isn’t quite honest. I loved seeing his vulnerable side, and watching his character grow. Wanting to discover his secret was one element that kept me reading. It wasn’t too heavy.

There were several moments of delicious banter, romance, and delightful humor.

I loved this story and will definitely track down more of Courtney’s books.

Highly recommended!