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.

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