THE GENTLEMAN AND THE THIEF, by Sarah M. Eden, Shadow Mountain, Nov. 3, 2020, Paperback, $15.99 (YA/ New Adult/ Adult Fiction)
Sarah M. Eden returns to Victorian England and the world of penny dreadfuls in the follow-up to The Lady and the Highwayman in The Gentleman and the Thief.
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? — Synopsis provided by Shadow Mountain.
Penny dreadfuls are 19th century serial stories that often featured pirates, highwaymen, crime and mystical elements. The serials usually came out weekly and were written and priced to appeal to the lower echelons of society.
Even though it works fairly well as a standalone, The Gentleman and the Thief really should be read after The Lady and the Highwayman. There’s just too much context that’s missing without it. Reading both shouldn’t be a problem, though, because both books are enjoyable.
As one of Shadow Mountain’s Proper Romance line, it’s a given that there are some predictable elements, particularly when it comes to the romance bit, but Eden provides readers with enough twists along the way to keep thing fresh and interesting.
Hollis and Ana are both likeable characters living within the constraints of society. When they let each other in, that’s when they really shine.
The Gentleman and the Thief is a fast-paced adult fiction read that has great crossover appeal for new adults and young adults alike.