This was a fun book but far from exemplary, not that I read romance novels for exemplary writing.
One of the reviews I'd read prior to purchasing this novel stated it was a rip-off of Connie Brockaway's early novel, All Through the Night. But having read the synopsis of the Brockaway novel and more romance novels than I can possibly count? No, really not. The female thief trope is fairly common - Moonrise Madness by Laurie McBaine has a female highwayman, Connie Brockaway's is a widowed wife of a solider who steals to aid solider's wives and is at odds with an agent assigned to hunt her down, and there's Nora Roberts Sweet Revenge with dueling jewel thieves. This one features a widow of a swashbuckling sailor, who returns to London and decides to steal from dastardly rakes. Men who abuse/rape women and/or sleep with them, only to desert them. The money goes to the women who have been abused and their children. She does it in part to get back at her long dead father. The father raped the heroine's mother, who was a governess in his household, impregnated her, then set up her up as his mistress. To survive she became a courtesan. By day, the heroine teaches piano and manners to children of the "ton". And has a live-in companion, who also acts as her maid, and accomplice. The heroine's brother, who should have inherited the Dukedom but didn't due to his illegitimacy, is heavily involved with the black market. The brother is quite fun. One night, the heroine decides to run her scam on her neighbor - a man she believes is a heartless rake - when in truth, he's just lonely soul on the outs with his family. His mistresses left him not the other way around. He becomes obsessed with her and relentlessly pursues her. Much chaos ensues.
The book is quite funny in places. The writer has an exceedingly dry and funny wit, and is good at setting up rather absurdly funny situations.
And it does have a matching side of angst, although not overdone. The sex scenes are rather tame in comparison to most in this genre. Hot but not quite erotic...and far from memorable.
Outside of a side reference to the heroine's mother being raped ages ago by her father, there really isn't any here. The hero does..force himself on the heroine at one point, but it reads far more like a seduction and is ultimately consensual. Also, it's a rather funny sequence - since he winds up knocking himself unconscious. But I point it out - because for readers that find any allusion at all to rape and/or sexual violence triggery - you may want to avoid. If you've read Rosemary Rodgers, Kathleen Woodwiss, Sylvia Day, or Judith McNaught...you'll think it's tame and not an issue.
If you've only read Georgette Heyer and Lisa Kleypas...you may be repulsed.
It's enjoyable with some laugh out loud moments..but not really all that memorable. A quick fun read.
- Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
- Publisher: Pocket Star (1 June 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743470044
- ISBN-13: 978-0743470049
- Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.5 x 17.1 cm
- Boxed-product Weight: 272 g
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