Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Review: "The Gentleman and the Thief" by Sarah M. Eden

One of the highlights of 2020 for me has been discovering the Proper Romance line put out by Shadow Mountain Publishers. Sarah M. Eden has written several for the line, but The Gentleman and the Thief is my first exposure to her writing.

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 book is just delightful! Not only do we have the main plot with Hollis and the Dread Penny Society and Ana's work as the Phantom Fox, but there are also two penny dreadfuls included: The Gentleman and the Thief and Higglebottom's School for the Dead, and they are a welcome addition to the novel. (Honestly, Higglebottom's was my favorite part of the whole book, and I would love to read more about the boys' adventures!)

The romance between Hollis and Ana is fairly understated, and I found that I didn't mind at all - so much else was happening that it was OK for the romance to take a smaller role. 

I would say that a real strength of this novel is in the characters. Hollis and Ana are both multidimensional - imperfect and realistic. The supporting cast is quite memorable, and I found myself wanting to know more about many of them. And little street urchin Very Merry quickly wormed her way into my heart!

While it took some time for me to get into the novel, and a few plot threads wrapped up quickly and off the page, overall I really enjoyed this book, and I will certainly be coming back for the next installment in the series! 4 stars.

Note: This book works well as a stand-alone title. Though I haven't read the first book in the series, I had no trouble jumping in with this one. The only time I felt at a disadvantage was at the very end, when the Dread Penny Society members are talking about some events that must have happened in the first book.

Follow the tour:

Join the virtual online blog tour of THE GENTLEMAN AND THE THIEF, Sarah M. Eden’s highly acclaimed second novel in The Dread Penny Society Series, November 2 through November 29, 2020. Forty popular blogs specializing in historical mystery/suspense, historical romance, and inspirational fiction will join in the celebration of its release with exclusive excerpts, spotlights, or reviews of this new Victorian-era novel set in London, England.

Nov 02 Austenprose—A Jane Austen Blog (Review)
Nov 02 The Lit Bitch (Excerpt)
Nov 03 Getting Your Read On (Review)
Nov 03 Literary Time Out (Review)
Nov 03 Storybook Reviews (Review)
Nov 04 Heidi Reads (Review)
Nov 04 Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen (Spotlight)
Nov 05 Library of Clean Reads (Review)
Nov 06 Relz Reviewz (Review)
Nov 07 Probably at the Library (Spotlight)
Nov 08 The Christian Fiction Girl (Review)
Nov 09 So Little Time… (Spotlight)
Nov 09 Captivated Reading (Review)
Nov 10 Among the Reads (Review)
Nov 10 Bookworm Lisa (Review)
Nov 11 For Where Your Treasure Is (Spotlight)
Nov 11 Christian Chick's Thoughts (Review)
Nov 12 Books, Teacups & Reviews (Spotlight)
Nov 12 Fiction Aficionado (Review)
Nov 13 Randi Loves 2 Read (Spotlight)
Nov 14 The Book Diva's Reads (Spotlight)
Nov 15 My Jane Austen Book Club (Excerpt)
Nov 16 Gwendalyn's Books (Review)
Nov 17 Book Bustle (Review)
Nov 18 Jorie Loves a Story (Review)
Nov 18 An Historian About Town (Review)
Nov 19 Lu's Reviews (Review)
Nov 20 Reading with Emily (Review)
Nov 20 Books and Socks Rock (Review)
Nov 21 Bringing Up Books (Review)
Nov 21 Bookish Rantings (Review)
Nov 22 The Bibliophile Files (Review)
Nov 23 Impressions in Ink (Review)
Nov 23 A Bookish Way of Life (Review)
Nov 24 Bookfoolery (Review)
Nov 24 Wishful Endings (Excerpt)
Nov 25 Chicks, Rogues and Scandals (Review)
Nov 25 Joy of Reading (Review)
Nov 26 From Pemberley to Milton (Excerpt)
Nov 27 Fire and Ice (Review)
Nov 27 Austenesque Reviews (Review)
Nov 28 Impressions in Ink (Review)
Nov 28 Book Confessions of an Ex-Ballerina (Review)
Nov 29 Laura's Reviews (Review)

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.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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