I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Series: Covent Garden Cubs #1
Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca on February 3, 2015
Genres: Historical Romance
Source: the Publisher
Marlowe is a pickpocket, a housebreaker—and a better actress than any professional on the stage. She runs with the Covent Garden Cubs, a gang of thieves living in the slums of London’s Seven Dials. It’s a fierce life, and Marlowe has a hard outer shell. But when she’s alone, she allows herself to think of a time before—a dimly remembered life when she was called Elizabeth.
Maxwell, Lord Dane, is intrigued when his brother, a hired investigator, ropes him into his investigation of the fiercely beautiful hellion. He teaches her to navigate the social morass of the ton while his brother attempts to confirm her true identity. But Marlowe will not escape so easily. Instead, Dane is drawn into her world of danger and violence, where the student becomes the teacher and love is the greatest risk of all.
Lady Elizabeth Grafton, daughter of the Marquess of Lyndon, was abducted from the park when she was 5 years old. No one knew what happened to her until she was discovered answering to the name “Marlowe” by Brook Derring, a Bow Street runner. From there, Brook kidnaps her again and takes her to the home of his brother Maxwell Derring, Earl of Dane. Then Brook runs off to another case, leaving the spitfire Marlowe in Maxwell’s unwilling, but capable hands.
Marlowe aka Lady Elizabeth, is resourceful, intelligent, and refuses to put up with Maxwell’s condescending demeanor. She craves the love and security that she only vaguely recalls from early childhood and struggles to navigate the duplicitous waters of London society while trying to protect the Derring family from evil machinations of the rookery-boss who is tailing her. Marlowe is a beautifully complex character who straddles the fence between street-smart urchin and innocent, vulnerable woman. Her past makes her incredibly sympathetic and you can’t help but root for her.
Maxwell Derring is as straight-laced as they come – meticulously tidy, disdainful of the poor, and uncaring for those who “refuse to work.” In truth, this made his character a little difficult to sympathize with at first, but thankfully he begins to soften and grow as a person as the plot progresses and he gets to see first-hand that perhaps the “lazy poor” deserve much more attention than he previously thought. He softens towards Marlowe and shows her all kinds of new things – soft beds, Shakespeare, daily bathing, and more hot fresh food than she could ever eat! This was endearing and it was very satisfying to see Maxwell grow as a character and loosen up around Marlowe. It is in this respect that you really see how perfect these two characters are for one another.
I really enjoyed reading the verbal sparring between Marlowe and Maxwell’s characters. There also were some great laugh-out-loud moments as well as tense scenes that kept me turning page after page. This book uses a lot of rookery-based slang terms that are usually fairly easy to figure out from context. There is a lot of slang used at the beginning, some of which was difficult to understand, but by the middle to end of the book I wasn’t even blinking an eye and the terms read right into the narrative as easily as any other word. This book is rich in historical detail and thoroughly enjoyable. It is the first book I’ve read by Shana Galen, but it will certainly not be the last! I honestly couldn’t put this down.