She’s beyond his reach…
Gideon Harrow has spent his life in London’s dark underworld-and he wants out. A thief and a con, he plans one last heist to finally win his freedom. But when everything goes wrong, he finds himself at the tender mercies of one of Society’s most untouchable women-Lady Susanna Derring.
…and out of her depth.
Susanna has spent her life in London’s glittering ton, under the thumb of a domineering mother-and she wants out. When a wickedly charming rogue lands at her feet, she jumps at the chance to experience life before it’s too late. But as she descends into London’s underworld, she finds that nothing- not even Gideon-is as it seems. As excitement turns to danger, Susanna must decide what price she’s willing to pay…for the love of a reformed thief.
Publisher and Release Date: Sourcebooks Casablanca, September 2015
Time and Setting: Regency London
Genre: Historical romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars
Review by Maria Almaguer
This book is classic Shana Galen adventure and excitement. She is the skilled master at creating tense moments and nail-biting action in her well-choreographed and realistic chase and fight scenes.
Susanna Derring is the younger, sheltered, and fearful (of her mother) sister of Lord Dane, who married Marlowe (Earls Just Want to Have Fun), Gideon’s crony and former Covent Garden Cub. The Cubs are a group of child thieves similar to those in Lorraine Heath’s Scoundrels of St. James series.
Susanna longs to escape her quiet and boring life and yearns for a life beyond tea and fashions. She grabs hold of it when Gideon Harrow literally comes crashing into her life. Gideon has stolen a necklace and is on the run from his gang when he runs to Marlowe’s in-laws’ townhouse in Mayfair, hoping for a safe haven. With this necklace (which he is withholding from the Cubs), he hopes to escape his life of theft and begin a new and respectable life. But Beezle, the leader of the Cubs, is on to him and is on the hunt for him all over London.
Susanna comes upon Gideon and impulsively blackmails him into taking her to Vauxhall Gardens where, she suspects, her mother long ago enjoyed an encounter with her one true love. Susanna is curious about this since her mother is so stiff and proper to the point of humiliating Susanna publicly and often. If Gideon agrees to take her to Vauxhall, she’ll return the necklace.
I liked Gideon and wanted more from his point of view. He’s a sympathetic portrait of someone who found himself in poor circumstances and is now desperately trying to get out and make his life better.
Susanna is a friendly and rather naive free spirit who has been stifled by her mother’s expectations of a good match for her and the drills of proper decorum. During her two days in the dirty streets of London with Gideon, she really lets loose and has the adventure of a lifetime. Along the way, she befriends nearly everyone she meets (including some downright scary characters in Gideon’s world), rescues a ragtag and loyal dog, enjoys intimacies with a most improper man, and runs helter-skelter all over London’s poor neighborhoods as they flee from Gideon’s many enemies.
Their goal of eventually visiting Vauxhall Gardens seems almost anticlimactic considering all that they go through to get there. And Susanna’s law-abiding brother, Brook, is connected to the Bow Street Runners so her exploits eventually end.
The secondary character development of Susanna’s mother, Dorothea, is nicely portrayed as she comes to terms with how her mistakes have impacted her children’s lives. Ms Galen creates sympathy for a woman who, at the story’s beginning, doesn’t seem very deserving. I also liked the minor characters Susanna and Gideon met in the course of their breathtaking escapades; they add a richness and authenticity to the novel. I could smell the stench and see the dirt and refuse in the streets and hear the coarse accents of the lower classes. All of these aspects lend a great richness to the storytelling without being cloying or manipulative.
The romance between Susanna and Gideon is very sweet, almost innocent, and seems to build slowly despite their few days’ acquaintance. The author writes with feeling and heart and their encounters simmer with passion as they get to know each other in truly trying circumstances.
This is another fine addition to Ms Galen’s Covent Garden Cubs series. Brook’s story is next and I look forward to reading this serious brother’s happy ending.