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The Gentleman and the Thief Book Review


The Gentleman And The Thief

Sarah M. Eden

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.

My Rating:

Mysteries blaze bright, but the romance barely sizzles in The Gentleman And The Thief by Sarah M. Eden. 

Hollis is a young man who’s family fortune has been gambled away by his predecessors. With his family name on the brink of falling completely in the gutter, Hollis pretends. He pretends to be a member of polite society while hiding the fact that he writes penny dreadfuls (completely untoward for a gentleman in the 1800’s London). He is also a member of a secret association, the likes of which see it as their duty to rescue children from the streets and generally make London less seedy. 

Ana is a young woman with a soiled family name. Her father, who came from little, made a good investment, only to see it stolen away from him. Now she teaches at a school, and by night, she thieves back family heirlooms that were taken from them when the fallout happened. 

These two characters meet, and while it is clear they have growing affections, the more focused plot is that of an underground gambling den tricking their way into the deep pockets of the wealthy families, sometimes to the point of ruination. A link develops between Hollis’s secret society, Ana’s family downfall, and the underhanded cheats of London thugs. 

Focusing on these characters who are decidedly middle class is an exceptional idea. More often than not, period pieces lean either to the rich or the incredibly poor. Ana and Hollis are exquisite little characters with no flaws, perhaps a flaw in and of itself. The sweetness of their merits may be written to counteract the sordid aspects of the novel; only, even those parts aren’t all that terrible either. 

Eden uses alternating voices throughout the story, which slowly mingle together, drawing Hollis and Ana closer and closer. Also included in the novel are two penny dreadful tales written by characters within the book. They are distracting and superfluous. These little tales interrupt the flow of The Gentleman And The Thief, even if they might be quite interesting by themselves. 

Overall The Gentleman And The Thief is splendidly pert. There’s a sprinkle of mystery, courtship, and adventure all over the pages, and a jolly cast of characters. The villains aren’t precisely villainous enough, and the romance isn’t exactly romantic enough, but overall, Sarah M. Eden delivers a charming, lively novel. 

Many thanks to Sarah M. Eden, Shadow Mountain Publishing, and NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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The Gentleman and the Thief by Sarah Eden Book Review

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