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The Gentleman and the Thief

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"Was it possible? Had he fallen top-over-tail in love with a thief?"

Sarah M. Eden knows how to write exciting, eventful, suspense filled historical fiction novels with the perfect touch of romance. The Gentleman and the Thief proves that time and time again as the story progresses. She keeps the story rolling with new pieces to the story that keep the reader engaged and excited to see how the adventure and mystery unfolds with this one.

Hollis and Ana are both fascinating characters with their own secrets in the shadows and watching how they build a friendship and then something more, as they help each other in those shadows and in society is such a beautiful story.

On top of that you have the Dread Penny Society and all those woven into the innerworkings of it trying to help the helpless, make London a safer place for all. Book two opens up even more of the criminal side of London's shadows and while they figure out some of the mystery in this story there is the promise of more to come for the Dread Penny Society. The Gentleman and the Thief and their friends will definitely return, and I can't wait for more.

And the penny dreadfuls continue to be excellent as ever. Eden weaving stories within stories is showing just how talented she is as an author. She never fails to provide all a reader could want in a story and more. I highly recommend this book and series.
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Description- 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.


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?

I received this book to review by NetGalley before it came out, yes… I know it was a few years ago, but I DNF’d this book after the third attempt to read through it. I’m a mood reader, so I will take fault for being more into fantasy at this time than romance but it just wasn’t for me. Decent writing. Fun story.

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This series of five books is complete. I had read #4 not long ago, but I’m so glad I took the chance to binge read the whole series in a week when I received the final ARC. You can read them as individual books, but the stories are so tightly interwoven that you really should get the whole five-story plot arc together.

And, while billed as “proper romance”, the romance is not, in my mind, the focus of the stories. There are mysteries to solve—each of the first four books lead us into the final showdown.

One common theme of this series is that everyone has a past that has made them who they are. For the most part, difficult pasts have led the focus characters to fight for right and to help the downtrodden, in a society that is still very much run by class.

We begin with a schoolmistress and a former street urchin turned author of “penny dreadfuls”, the lower-class literature that thrilled and entertained. But he’s also a member of a secret society of penny dreadful authors who fight crime (while sometimes committing a few crimes of their own in pursuit of the greater good).

We move on to a music teacher and a gentleman who also writes penny dreadfuls. Then to a bookseller/Russian émigré and an Irishman—again, a writer. And a doctor/writer and his secret wife, who comes from a crime family.

We end with the oddest pairing of all—a woman who committed murder and a police constable.

The mysteries are intriguing. As we learn more and more of the criminal mastermind, the fearsome Tempest, we also learn more of what makes our characters tick. The entire series plays out in a little over a year, and it is nice to be able to follow the aftermath of the prior books as each book moves along. Unlike some series romance, prior characters still play a part beyond name-dropping.

I especially looked forward to the final volume, as I wanted so much to know the why and the how of the formation of the Dread Penny Society. While this was explained, I felt like there could have been more. Likewise with the why of the Tempest’s quest for revenge, and why one particular traitor sold out the Dreadfuls.

I think the elements of intrigue were well-balanced with the romances. These were romances that were allowed to develop, based on admiration and companionship. Each had a reason why it might be impractical, but, despite danger and turmoil, love won the day.

There were many well-developed secondary characters in addition to the ten romantic leads. The street urchins, others of the Dreadfuls, family members—all added to the depth of worldbuilding.

As with other books published by Shadow Mountain, there is no cursing and the narration of the romantic interludes doesn’t progress beyond kissing.

One more note: Each of these books, in addition to the main narrative, contains two “penny dreadful” stories that parallel the main story. So Eden was really writing three stories every time!

Possible Objectionable Material:

Foul play, including thievery and murder, fighting, perilous situations, dishonesty, poverty.

Who Might Like These Books:

Fans of clean romance, Victorian London, mystery and adventure.

These books are also reviewed at

Thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing and NetGalley for providing ARCs of these books in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Apologies for the late response on this title, and apologies for clogging up an inbox on old titles.

While I am aware it's obvious, I have chosen not to read/review this title.

As always, I appreciate access to titles and look forward to the next one...which I have likely already read based on how long ago this title was published.

Thanks, again.

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I think this is my favorite of the series so far! The romance part of the story was strong and wasn't overpowered by the mystery/thriller aspects (which I still enjoyed quite a bit). The characters are likable and relatable and the story of the overall series is moving along wonderfully.

I am eager to see what happens next!

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Historical romances are my favorite! To understand this one you really need to read the first one.
Many thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

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I enjoyed the unique format of this one, but I felt like I never got as invested in the main storyline because of the stories from the Penny Dreadful series.

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Sarah Eden doesn’t disappoint! I love and appreciate her grasp of history and the beautiful way she weaves it into stories.

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I always look forward to reading Sarah Eden's books but this one was hard for me to get into. I haven't read the first book in the series so I felt a little lost. This one was just okay for me.

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Initial Thoughts
I love historical novels and I read the first book in this series and really liked it. I was excited to give book 2 a try.

Some Things I Liked
Honestly, I read this one a while ago and it wasn't super memorable. I liked the historical banter, the time period, and the way that secret identities and writer were involved.

Series Value
I'd definitely keep reading this series and I think I could even see myself rereading the first two.

Final Thoughts
This is an enjoyable series. Not super memorable, but enjoyable nonetheless.


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I've really liked a few of Sarah's books before(especially Seeking Persephone) and I don't think it's a surprise that I ended up enjoying this one as well! We have a very sweet romance with two amazing characters who navigate class differences and other things along with the secrets that they're keeping from each other!

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This is a quick, fun heist read that you won't be able to put down! Hollis Darby has the appearance of a well-bred society man, but he has a secret: his family is broke, and he's keeping himself afloat by writing Penny Dreadfuls. Ana has sworn to right the wrongs done to her family after her father lost his fortune and London Society shunned them. She is a music teacher by day, and a thief by night, reclaiming her family heirlooms from prominent houses around the city. Ana and Hollis are enlisted to solve a mystery and the two must team up. This book was a fast read, but very entertaining! I loved both of the characters and captivated by the romance and suspense between the two.

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**Please see content/trigger warnings at the end of this review**

Hollis, a poor (but from a good family) man, who writes penny dreadfuls to stay afloat falls for Ana, a poor music teacher who moonlights as a thief at night. When a series of robberies start that are blamed on child thieves, Ana and Hollis decide to investigate. Hollis also belongs to a group of gentlemen (that also write penny dreadfuls) who are determined to make society better and are also on the case. When their investigation leads to a much bigger crime and illegal gambling rings, things start to get very complicated.

I would say all in all this book was fine. I couldn't really get into it, and I'm not sure if it was the pacing or the set-up, but nothing really popped for me. I was amused by the insertion of the penny dreadfuls that were being written by Hollis and one other gentleman (my favorite were the child ghosts). I wasn't sold on the reasoning for Ana's burglaries but I guess it leaves her with the moral high ground. The romance was chaste (both on and off-page) and there is a HEA.

**Content/trigger warnings: gambling, mistreatment of children, violence.**

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This was a fun read really enjoyed it! Sarah always writes the best stories and family friendly always. loved the the plots, places and charcters

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This was a delightful story. I am really enjoying this entire series. Ana and Hollis are unique individuals and certainly a unique couple. I’m enjoying following the various other characters from previous books in the series and ones that have now been added through this one. I thoroughly enjoy Brogan and his Irish brogue, as well as his sister, which are both well narrated in the audible version. I look forward to updates on both the individuals and the couples from the stories so far, as well as more romance yet to come

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The Gentleman and the Thief is yet another masterpiece from this talented author. I absolutely love this series of books. (Yes, I recommend you read them in order, you’ll appreciate characters more.) and the penny dreadfuls woven through the story are just as delightful as the main plot. This book has everything I love in a story, especially the little touches of humor and suspense. Ana and Hollis are fabulous. And, as always, it’s some side characters that steal the show. In this book, Very Merry. This author writes her books brilliantly and I appreciate the care she takes with the characters and details. I watched a video of her explaining how she plots these books and it is an amazing process.

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Sarah M. Eden continues to be one of my favorite authors. Besides the main story, there are the Penny Dreadful stories throughout the book. What is fun, is that the characters themselves are "writing" the dreadfuls, which compliment the plot.

I received an ARC from Shadow Mountain.

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This was a nice book, I enjoyed the writing and the characters were fun to read about, would surely recommend!

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Hollis Darby is a gentleman with the secret job of writing penny dreadful books under a pseudonym. He comes from a wealthy family, who no longer has any money, so he must support himself with his books. Hollis was attracted to Ana Newport, a music teacher, as soon as they met. Ana is also from a wealthy family, but they lost their money and belongings when her father went bankrupt. Ana has a secret: she steals back the belongings that the elite families took from her family when they were struggling. These small robberies begin to draw attention in the city, earning the thief the name, “Phantom Fox.” Hollis and his friends at the Dread Penny Society investigate the robberies, though he isn’t prepared for what he discovers.

Hollis and Ana appear to be in different levels of society but they have similar backgrounds. Ana is working class and Hollis is upper class. However, both of their parents made mistakes that lost their family money. The difference is that Hollis kept up the appearance of wealth, whereas Ana had to work to survive.

This story also includes short penny dreadful stories, told in chapters throughout the book. These are stories that are written by characters under their pseudonyms. I love that these stories also relate to the plot and what is happening in the main narrative. These short stories are a great addition to this Victorian novel.

The Gentleman and the Thief is a fun historical romance!

Thank you Shadow Mountain for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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The second installment of the Penny Dreadful Society Series, finds Hollis Darby smitten with music teacher, Ana Newport, a young woman from a society family that fell on hard times.

A fast paced romantic mystery with charming characters that blends Hollis and Ana's story along with the mysterious, and hilariously haunting tales of the Penny Dreadfuls. I especially loved the one about the human boy living in a school for ghosts!

This was such a fun read with great characters and stories within the story, I loved seeing characters from the previous book like Elizabeth and Fletcher. I can't wait to read the next book about Donnelly! Enjoyable and entertaining, a light-hearted read set in Victorian England.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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