Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Lady and the Highwayman by Sarah M. Eden

Elizabeth Black is the headmistress of a girls’ school and a well-respected author of “silver-fork” novels, stories written both for and about the upper-class ladies of Victorian society. But by night, she writes very different kinds of stories—the Penny Dreadfuls that are all the rage among the working-class men. Under the pseudonym Mr. King, Elizabeth has written about dashing heroes fighting supernatural threats and dangerous outlaws romancing helpless women. They contain all the adventure and mystery that her real life lacks.

Fletcher Walker began life as a street urchin, but is now the most successful author in the Penny Dreadful market, that is until Mr. King started taking all of his readers--and his profits. No one knows who King is, including Fletcher’s fellow members of the Dread Penny Society, a fraternity of authors dedicated to secretly fighting for the rights of the less-fortunate.

Determined to find the elusive Mr. King, Fletcher approaches Miss Black. As a fellow-author, she is well-known among the high-class writers; perhaps she could be persuaded to make some inquiries as to Mr. King’s whereabouts? Elizabeth agrees to help Fletcher, if only to insure her secret identity is never discovered.

For the first time, Elizabeth experiences the thrill of a cat-and-mouse adventure reminiscent of one of her own novels as she tries to throw Fletcher off her scent. But the more time they spend together, the more she loses her heart. Its upper-class against working-class, author against author where readers, reputations, and romance are all on the line.

It is always, always, a pleasure to read Sarah Eden's books.  She has a remarkable gift for crafting a story that wraps itself around my heart.  I think what I love the most is how she takes the dark, hard and difficult circumstances of life and balances that with hope through a few good people trying to make a difference.  That, in turn, gives me hope.  I've been a bit heartsick lately for how difficult and cruel this world is.  The future doesn't always look so bright and I've been trying to remind myself that there are lots of good people in this world, trying to combat the evil, one person at a time.  I was worried that this book would just add to my disappointment in humanity based on what this book is about but I shouldn't have worried.  The hope was stronger than the evil and the good people made a difference.  I needed that reminder.  Even though this is a work of fiction, it portrays real life.  There are people out there rescuing and loving.  They are making a difference for the one.

I love Fletcher.  He won me over in the first few chapters because he's the underdog that everyone wants to root for.  Fletcher is scrappy, determined and has a heart that lends itself to helping the downtrodden- especially the children.  He's a gem and Elizabeth thinks so too.  😉  Elizabeth is pretty great herself.

There are stories within the story as Fletcher and Elizabeth are both writers and we get a sample of the "Penny Dreadful" stories they create.  It gave me a glimpse into both of their worlds and their hearts.  It was fun!

I really loved this book.  From beginning to end.  I felt as though I was right there with Fletcher and Elizabeth through it all.  It was fantastic.

Content:  peril, abuse (with no specific details), some mild violence, kissing

- I received a complimentary copy of this book.  All opinions expressed are my own.


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