The Forty Elephants

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Pub Date 23 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 05 Sep 2022

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Description

Inspired by the true story of Alice Diamond and the Forty Elephants, the first all-female gang of London.

London in the 1920s is no place for a woman with a mind of her own. Gang wars, violence, and an unforgiving world have left pickpocket Alice Diamond scrambling to survive in the Mint, the gritty neighborhood her family has run for generations. When her father goes to jail yet again and her scam artist brother finds himself in debt to the dangerous McDonald crime syndicate, Alice takes over. Fighting for power at every turn, she struggles to protect her father’s territory and keep the people she loves safe from some of London’s most dangerous criminals.

Recruited by the enigmatic Mary Carr, Alice boldly chooses to break her father’s edict against gangs and become part of a group of notorious lady shoplifters, the Forty Elephants. Leaving the Mint behind, she and the other girls steal from the area’s poshest department stores, and for the first time in her life, Alice Diamond tastes success. But it’s not long before she wants more—no matter the cost. And when her past and present collide, there’s no escaping the girl from the Mint.

Inspired by the true story of Alice Diamond and the Forty Elephants, the first all-female gang of London.

London in the 1920s is no place for a woman with a mind of her own. Gang wars, violence, and...


A Note From the Publisher

Erin Bledsoe was told in sixth grade that her essay on Marie Antoinette showed promise, fueling her dream to write about historical women. When she’s not writing, she’s exploring nature, collecting journals, or rolling dice at a table with friends playing Dungeons & Dragons. She lives with her husband and children in Michigan.

Erin Bledsoe was told in sixth grade that her essay on Marie Antoinette showed promise, fueling her dream to write about historical women. When she’s not writing, she’s exploring nature, collecting...


Marketing Plan

Debut author

Perfect book for fans of badass women in history

National and regional publicity campaign

Historical fiction and women’s media buzz mailing

Social media campaign

Historical fiction–focused digital advertising

Goodreads giveaway

Bookseller and library trade show marketing

Author Twitter: @erinwritess

Author Instagram: @erinbledsoewrites

Debut author

Perfect book for fans of badass women in history

National and regional publicity campaign

Historical fiction and women’s media buzz mailing

Social media campaign

Historical fiction–focused...


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781665019897
PRICE $27.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 30 members


Featured Reviews

Who run the world? Girls! This book packs a punch of female strength and power. I was mesmerized from the beginning and loved that it’s based off real women. The main character, Alice, is bold and passionate which resonates off the page.

I definitely got Peaky Blinder with a mix of Ocean’s 8 vibe from this book. I’m always a fan of stories from the 1920s and even better, ones that are based in London. It made for an entertaining read! If you want to learn about an all female gang, The Forty Elephants, be sure to read this when it’s out in August!

Thank you Blackstone Publishing for the advanced copy! All the thumbs up to Erin Bledsoe for this fantastic book!

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This book has a fascinating premise and interesting characters. I highly recommend this book for fans of historical fiction and strong female protagonists!

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Is there a rating higher than 5 stars that I can give a book?

This book had me riveted and enthralled from start to finish. The historical aspect of the story woven in with skillful storytelling was simply masterful. It was obvious that Ms Bledsoe knew what she wanted to convey, and the time and place she wanted to whisk us away to. Congratulations on a stellar novel, Ms Bledsoe. You have a dedicated reader in me!

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Thank you NetGalley for the eARC. This is one of the best books I have read this year. It deserves to be a movie, a show , anything.... It is so good. I had never heard of the Forty Elephants before or Alice Diamond but now I am hooked! Move over Peaky Blinders, the competition is coming...and they are coming in high heels! Thank you for the journey into their world.

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"Some steal out of desperation. Some steal because they like it. I do it for both...This job, one that I was born into, is my only calling...Taking risks is the only way women ever get ahead of men in this city."

The Diamond family brought order to The Mint, a neighborhood where "the streets are blackened with London grime...a den for thieves, killers, and liars...". As a collector or shoplifter, Alice Diamond suddenly had to "up her game" since her father, the head of The Mint, was incarcerated. "...these streets talk about [Alice],... a fighting spirit of a man with [her] father's temper to match." Safecracker Tommy, Alice's brother, had amassed a huge debt. To prevent Tommy from being "owned" by The Elephant and Castle Gang, Alice was determined to pay off the debt to ensure her family's safety. But, she wanted to maintain the family rule set by Thomas Diamond: The Diamond family doesn't join gangs. Circumstances dictated otherwise.

Alice's childhood friend, Maggie Hill aka The Reaper, introduced her to Mary Carr, the head of a female gang of thieves called The Forty Elephants. Mary dealt in goods and profits. This gang of professional collectors, wore clothes designed for large thefts; large pockets sewn into garments or, perhaps crinolines and bustles that could conceal a stash. Mary would then "fence goods before the coppers can track it down. [She] had all kinds of connections to this city and the men who control it."

"Honest men are the best men...No man is honest. So the best man is no man... The girls that followed Mary, did so willingly. She wanted to give every woman a chance to wear silk and ride in cars they own. Women can make their own destiny." Alice aka Diamond Alice reveals, "It's hard to believe-a female gang of thieves, under no man's law, running by their own rules. I have power in The Mint, but only because my dad gave it to me." The Forty Elephants was a game changer for Alice. Gang life provided a taste of freedom. Real freedom always had its price!

"The Forty Elephants" by Erin Bledsoe is a fascinating work of historical fiction describing female shoplifters in 1920's London. With poverty rampant, accomplished collectors could keep the family fed. Diamond Alice succeeded Mary Carr as Queen of the Forty Elephants, a street gang in Victorian London. Collectors, mingling with the rich by wearing stylish clothes, worked as a threesome... "a face, a pair of eyes and skilled hands..." "... why survive, when you can thrive?" Highly recommended.

Thank you Blackstone Publishing and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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