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 town 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.
Review: In this refreshingly original start to a new series, Shana Galen once again reminds me of what I love about historical romances.
Marlowe was missing she became a clever and cunning thief, a “cub”, living off the streets, but has to turn all her wages over to her ‘guardian’, a man named “Satin”. Her life is rough and dangerous, she is often cold and half starved to death.
Being taken into the opulent lifestyle Max introduces her to is what we might refer to as “culture shock”. It’s not an easy road Max and Marlowe will travel down. Max is firmly rooted in his role as an aristocrat, taking his responsibilities to heart, even if they are tedious. He is arrogant in the extreme and his attitude toward the “lower classes” was absolutely shocking. However, he doesn’t think there is anything wrong with the way he views things..until he begins spending time with Marlowe, who happens to “clean up” pretty nice.
Naturally, I pulled for Marlowe all the way and felt so bad for her because she had really been dealt a sorry hand of cards. She is mistreated and used, then judged by the pious Max and his loathsome mother, and she missed out on a relationship with her real parents.
Marlowe’s character was real, honest, and raw. Although she eats like a pig and says the first thing that pops into her head, she inspired me from start to finish as she continuously one ups Max, and shows him how ridiculous his society rules and opinions are, teaching him that people are not always responsible for the hard times they have fallen upon and maybe all they need is a leg up to get back onto an independent and productive path. Marlowe forced me to giggle a time or two as she manages to keep Max tongue tied and flustered.
While no one reading this book will like Max very much in the beginning, it was so fun watching his transformation, being taken to task by Marlowe, fighting his ever increasing attraction to her, and his falling hopelessly in love with her. Needlessly to say, Max will have a complete change of heart by the end of the book, proving that love can transcend over money, class, and all other obstacles.
This story has a thoughtful moral to it, with a poignant and heartwarming conclusion. I highly recommend this one!!
Favorite Quote: “ You prefer thieving to honest work?”
“Honest work? How much do you pay your maids annually? Six pounds? Eight? I can make that in a month- in a night, if all goes well. I could make more than that as a beggar. Why do you think so many take to the streets, begging? Because honest work is hardly honest when the only one profiting is the rich man who owns the workplace.”