Daughter of a legendary thief, Emmy Danvers has always hidden on the outside of society. Outwardly accepted by the ton, but only because they don’t know her and her family’s secrets. Until a specter from her father’s past appears and threatens to reveal her family’s secrets unless her family can deliver to him the French crown jewels. But in doing so, Emmy is put at odds against the one man who makes her heart race. The one man who she has adored for years. The one man who has the power to ruin her utterly.
Alex Harland, the Earl of Melton, is a man of the law. A man of duty. Only once has he allowed himself to follow his heart, and the object of his desire disappeared on the eve of his deployment to the Peninsula, leaving only the lingering memory of her perfume. Now that the war is over, Alex devotes his attentions to the new gaming hell he runs with two of his friends and catching criminals. As members of the Bow Street Runners, Alex is called upon to solve a series of jewel heists. Heists which place him firmly at odds with the one woman who stole his heart many years ago…
Kate Bateman is a new to me author. I’ve heard good things about her, and I was eager to read this book when it appeared on NetGalley.
I wasn’t disappointed.
The writing style is excellent, engaging. Kate Bateman writes in the kind of style you can slip into and be instantly transported into the ballrooms and backrooms of Regency London.
I absolutely adored the majority of the characters. I found Emmy charming and just a little quixotic. Her personality sparkled. I’m not ashamed to say I adored her. I also adored her equally eccentric grandmother, Camille. Camille is the kind of meddling grandmother I am here for. She reminds me of the great meddlers from Marion Chesney, Barbara Hazard, and Georgette Heyer. Her advice is many times spot on, but often not always the best for the situation… “No, Grandma, I am not going to go flirt with the nice policeman while we’re casing the British Museum.”
In fact, it’s Camille’s advice which leads to one of the big headdesk moments in the book – Alex recognizing Emmy’s perfume. Thankfully, this bit of airheadedness was telegraphed.
I also really liked Luc and Sally and wished they’d gotten their own book. I am happy to see that Seb is up next… He, quite frankly, was one of my absolute favorite characters in this. His advice was spot on.
If only Alex had listened… In fact, my lone issue with this book has to do with Alex. He’s an anti-hero in the vein of Vegeta, Loki, and Sterling (from Leverage). He does some pretty problematic things that put the sex and actually the whole relationship very firmly into dubious consent. I especially disliked his handling of the resolution of the book… please talk to your love interest… Please…
That being said. I liked the romp this book took me on. The hunt for the French Crown Jewels was fun… having the “gentleman thief” turn out to be a woman was a nice way to use the trope. In a way it reminded me of the Thomas Crown Affair, which isn’t a bad thing. I enjoyed the look into Regency London, especially the British Museum. Other than some issues with modes of address, I didn’t catch much in the way of anachronisms.
The fact that the hero and the heroine’s brother were disabled and didn’t magically get better was great. Alex’s literal blind spot were both acknowledged and important to the character. His war experiences colored his life. I am loving all of this disabled rep that we are getting in Regency romance right now. More please!
Frankly this book was breath of fresh air after some disappointing offerings. But I’m also torn because the dubious consent is so very very dubious. How do I rate this?
The thing is, I want to read more. I’ve already picked up the first book, which I’ve missed. And I am dying to read the third… more Seb please! And so because of that I can’t rate this any lower than:
If this is your jam, you can get it here.
I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley, thank you St. Martin’s Press for allowing me to read it.
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