Book Title: The Gentleman and the Thief by Sarah M. Eden
Category: Adult Fiction, 368 pages
Genre: Historical Fiction, Proper Romance
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Release date: November 3, 2020
Content Rating: G
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 business, bankruptcy and scandal reduced the family 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 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, but working together deepens the affection between them. After all, who better to save the day than a gentleman and a thief?
Although this seems to be a standalone novel, it is the second novel about the members of the Dread Penny Society, a fraternity of authors dedicated to secretly fighting for the social and political causes of their working-class readers. So these characters didn't get too much of an introduction, probably because they were introduced in the first novel titled The Lady and the Highwayman, which I didn't read. I thought this 'Society with a cause' was a fun premise for a novel, and I liked the friendship among these characters.
What kept me reading was the spy network and the whole mystery surrounding the villains that perpetrated crimes through urchin thieves and gambling. But I was disappointed when these villains were not more fleshed out and better yet, were not caught! No resolution to the story. Probably because the story will continue in the next book? *sigh*