The Gentleman and the Thief
by Sarah M. Eden
Publication Date: November 3rd, 2020
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Series: Dread Penny Society Book 2
Genre: Historical Mystery/Suspense, Victorian Romance, Inspirational Fiction
A standalone novel in The Dread Penny Society set in 1865 London brimming with secrets, scandal, suspense, and romance.
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?
This is my first experience with a penny dreadful novel, so I wasn’t expecting to get three stories in one! But there you have it! Three stories in one! The main story follows Hollis and Ana with a couple of Victorian-era pulpy stories in between. I hadn’t read this author’s work before, but I really enjoyed her writing style and narrative voice. This is a standalone, though part of a series. I did notice that other reviews said that this could be read on its own, which I wholeheartedly agree with. I didn’t feel lost or that I’d missed something when reading this book.
The narrative reads smoothly with that fantastic Victorian flair! The characters were lovely and I really enjoyed the printing of the book! I’m a sucker for a good physical printing and this was a great paperback edition! If you were looking for a very heavy romance book, this isn’t it. There is much more suspense, mild peril, fun and witty dialogue, and actual narrative than romance. There is romance, it just isn’t the centerpiece here and I really appreciated it!
I loved the mystery to be solved in this book along with the fun character development throughout the main plot! The short stories that were intermittent were just so much fun as well! Overall, I very much enjoyed this book and would recommend to readers interested in historical fiction, Victorian era penny dreadfuls, mystery, suspense, and light romance. Also, this book was squeaky clean! Perfect for an afternoon on a cold day, curled up with a good coffee or a light read during the holidays! Thank you so much to the author, publisher, and tour arranger for the opportunity to read and review this book!
About the Author
Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today best-selling author of witty and charming historical romances, including 2019’s Foreword Reviews INDIE Awards Gold Winner for Romance, The Lady and the Highwayman, and 2020 Holt Medallion finalist, Healing Hearts. She is a two-time “Best of State” Gold Medal winner for fiction and a three-time Whitney Award winner. Combining her obsession with history and her affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting deep characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a bachelor’s degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library.
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