An INSPY Victorian #25PagePreview Spotlight | “The Gentleman and the Thief” (The Dread Penny Society, Book Two) by Sarah M. Eden

Posted Wednesday, 18 November, 2020 by jorielov , , , , 1 Comment

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

This marks my first time hosting with Austenprose – although, I have been a long time admirer of her blog and it is an honour to start a new journey in hosting her blog tours! Ms Laurel reached out to me initially to host her authors for my bookish chat known for showcasing Romance & Women’s Fiction as well as stories of Feminist Lit – @SatBookChat meets on Saturdays January-November annually. Through conversing with her I had the pleasure of joy of becoming better acquainted with two authors I have been itching to start reading over the years – Ms Sarah M. Eden of whom I’m spotlighting today ahead of my review at the end of the blog tour and Ms Mimi Matthews of whom I am spotlighting on the morrow.

I started to come across Shadow Mountain Publishing authors & stories whilst participating in my favourite INSPY readathon every year during the Summer, hosted by Sydney @ Singing Librarian Books. Being a hybrid reader of both mainstream & INSPY throughout my life, I am constantly seeking out more authors who write Inspirational Fiction across both genre and publishing routes (ie. from major trade to Indie publishers (like Shadow Mountain) to self-published authors) – thus, I was delighted when I started to see Ms Eden’s novel popping up on my routes throughout the book blogosphere and being featured during Ms Sydney’s readathon.

When I first joined this blog tour, I hadn’t realised it was a series in-progress – as regular readers of Jorie Loves A Story know my personal preference for reading serials is to read them start to finish – even if that means, borrowing missing installments by inter-library loan if my local library or regional library does not carry the author, book or series. However, in this instance – between my health afflictions and my migraines, I wasn’t able to sort out a way to get a copy of “The Lady and the Highwayman” ahead of starting to read “The Gentleman and the Thief”. I decided instead to reply on a review I found quite wonderfully in-depth via Austenprose.

I even checked Scribd and was sad to see this series was not listed in their catalogue for audiobooks as that would have been a brilliant way to ‘catch’ up with the series – as being a migraineur, I regularly turn to audiobooks to help offset my migraines and/or to help me transition back into reading after having a supernova migraine such as the one I had earlier in November.

The main reason I am choosing to spotlight this novel today is because due to being taken ill at the end of October (as I was emotionally distraught over the fate of trees in my neighbourhood recently as well as other stress factors involved at the time) and the migraines I sustained as well – I haven’t had the proper chance to get into this novel and understand the story as I would  prefer as a book blogger. This novel also has a different technique in how it is being told and the layout of the novel as well – as the narrative shifts between two penny dreadful stories and the main thread of the story involving the characters of this installment.

I plan to continue reading this novel and posting my review on the last day of the tour, which is the 29th. Until then, I decided to share my thoughts on the first twenty-five pages and to give my readers & visitors alike a bit of a preview of where my thoughts are tracking as I read my first Sarah M. Eden novel as well as on diving into the second novel of the Dread Penny Society. I hope this might tip your hat towards selecting this novel and/or the fuller series to be put on your to read stack!

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An INSPY Victorian #25PagePreview Spotlight | “The Gentleman and the Thief” (The Dread Penny Society, Book Two) by Sarah M. EdenThe Gentleman and the Thief
Subtitle: Proper Romance
by Sarah M. Eden
Source: Publisher via Austenprose

A standalone novel in The Dread Penny Society set in 1865 London brimming with secrets, scandal, suspense, and romance.

From the moment Hollis Darby meets Ana Newport, he's smitten. Even though he's from a wealthy, established family and she isn't, he wishes he could have a life with her by his side. But Hollis has a secret: the deep coffers that have kept his family afloat for generations are bare, so he supports himself by writing penny dreadfuls under a pseudonym. If not for the income from his novels, he would be broke.

Ana Newport also has a secret. Though she once had a place in society thanks to her father's successful business, bankruptcy and scandal reduced his fortune to nothing more than a crumbling town house. So Ana teaches music during the day, and at night she assumes the identity of the "Phantom Fox." She breaks into the homes of the wealthy to reclaim trinkets and treasures she feels were unjustly stolen from her family when they were struggling.

When Hollis's brother needs to hire a music tutor for his daughter, Hollis recommends Ana, giving him a chance to spend time with her. Ana needs the income and is eager for the opportunity to get to know the enigmatic gentleman. What neither of them expects is how difficult it will be to keep their respective secrets from each other.

When a spree of robberies rocks the city, Ana and Hollis join forces to solve the crimes, discovering that working together deepens the affection between them. After all, who better to save the day than a gentleman and a thief?

Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

ISBN: 978-1629727905

Also in this series: Georgana's Secret, A Captain for Caroline Gray

Published by Shadow Mountain Publishing

on 3rd November, 2020

Format: Paperback ARC

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The Dreadful Penny Society:

The Lady and the Highwayman (book one)

The Gentleman and the Thief (book two)

The Merchant and the Rogue (book three) ← forthcoming, August, 2021!

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Published by: Shadow Mountain Publishing (@ShadowMountn)

Read a review of the first story in this series: The Lady and the Highwayman via Austenprose

Converse via: #HistoricalRomance or #HistRom
+ #TheGentlemanAndTheThief, #ProperRomance and #Austenprose

Available Formats: Trade paperback and Ebook

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#25PagePreview banner created by Jorie in Canva.

Acquired Book By: This is my first time hosting for Austenprose and being able to host authors of both Historical Fiction & Historical Romance stories or series. These are two of my favourite genres of interest and it is lovely to start hosting for a book blogger whose organising blog tours of whom I have long admired in the book blogosphere. I received a complimentary ARC copy of “The Gentleman and the Thief” direct from the author Sarah M. Eden in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

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You have to give credit to Ms Eden for gripping your attention straight out of the very first paragraph as she did for me as I read about Hollis Darby’s thoughts about his brother! He apparently doesn’t have a very good relationship with him and the fact he is constantly reappraising himself against the judgement of his brother’s opinionated lifestyle choices speaks volumes on behalf of his own character, too. The two brothers’ could not be further apart in how they choose to live their lives and I gathered the strongest impression Randolph would prefer Hollis to buck up a bit and act more accordingly to what is ‘acceptable’ within their society circles rather than be the fodder of gossip which I think is what was rankling Randolph the most!

I remember hearing about the penny dreadful stories – stories spun for entertainment and sold for a penny seemed almost too thrilling to be real. And, what I loved most is that they were printed in booklet style and were easily portable as Eden describes in her story. The fact that Hollis secretly likes to purchase and read these stories said something else about his character. I was rather convinced Hollis had one of those kinds of personalities that is hard to sort through on initial meeting and would take a bit to uncover his layers and to better understand his motivations. Of course, watching him maneuver through the crowded street as he bought the dreadful story, I half wondered if he himself was one of the writers of them as he had this air about him that was a bit hard to pin down and it felt like perhaps he was watching his readers (or potential readers) in a clandestine manner of approach.

I admit, I wasn’t sure what I was expecting to find in regards to the Dread Penny Society and yet, as it was disclosed to me in the opening bridge of the novel, it felt rather lovely to have a secret society at the heart of this series; especially one which was open to both men and women! I noted that the woman in question Elizabeth Black had a reputation which preceded her and Hollis was quite taken with her as well. He didn’t reveal much about his innermost thoughts but in small ways, he was able to ink out a few hints and details others might overlook if they weren’t been observant towards how he discloses bits of himself. I’d have to say, this might be part of why he and his brother do not get on very well – Hollis is new school in this Victorian world and his brother is hinged to the old school way of doing things. Neither is wrong in their choices but you can see how two brothers might spar and disagree quite frequently as a result of their differing personalities, too.

I liked how Eden was writing a multicultural story wherein there are characters representing different backgrounds in both lifestyle and ethnicity. It was quite refreshing as most Victorian stories I’ve read over the years are more limited in their scope for multiculturalism and for representing stories for all voices and lives. I definitely wanted to learn more about Stone and Kumar as they were such a delightful presence to behold.

Ah, ha! I had a feeling Hollis was involved in the penny dreadfuls but what surprised me moreso than the fact he was a writer was the fact the Dread Penny Society was quite the Victorian Robin Hood band of brothers and sisters! They saw what was needed to be repaired in their society and environs and they took it as their duty to chase after what was needed to be done and did it! It was quite the undertaking of course, especially if you consider they had to find creative lines of support to endeavour their projects were a success long after they started them. It was curious how they focused on the poor and disenchanted whilst trying to help the middle class rise a bit out of their circumstances; if you consider how Hollis was constantly berated by his brother for his choices in how he occupies his days and hours. I wonder what Randolph would have to say if he knew Hollis spent much more time contemplating the fates of others and was part of an intervention society to help those in need?

Listening to how Ana Newport described Hollis was comical because of his situation now with his brother and how her impression about his family and its assets were a bit off the mark as they say! I had a feeling reputation proceeds everyone here and perhaps, to her credit, the public reputation Randolph was desperate to maintain and keep for himself and his brother was working if she still thought they were men of leisurely means! Of course, this could also prove to be a short path towards a faux pas lateron in their interactions.

And, there the plot thickens wherein Ms Newport is not all she appears to be and I had to question why she would try to risk her life and freedom for undertaking such a nefarious bout of crime? I am sure there is a reason behind her actions and I look forward to reading more about her life and especially about Hollis as he truly won me over quite immediately!

Small Fly in the Ointment:

The pages of the penny dreadful stories contained in this novel were a bit harder for me to read in the ARC edition of the novel because the publisher reduced the quality of those pages in the book itself. There was a graying effect on the pages directly, almost like it was being turnt into newspaper and the text itself was harder to view than on the other pages of the story. The main story is crisp and clean off-white pages with clean black ink for the text. The other sections were just a bit harder for me as both a migraineur and as a reader who sometimes struggles with changes in typography and the background of pages as the contrast can become an issue for me. I am not sure if this was maintained in the final editions of the novel – however, I wish those inserted sections could have been dealt with differently.

For this reading of the first twenty-five pages, I skipped over the penny dreadful section because at the time I was reading this novel, I was just stepping forward after a bad migraine and I decided not to stress myself or my eyes trying to read this section.

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I am truly grateful to having found bookmarks enclosed with The Gentleman and the Thief as they are helpful to better understand which books to pursue next in the Proper Romance line as well as getting to know that another series I discovered through my favourite INSPY readathon during Summer has expanded into a quartet! I won one of the books in the series and will be listening to the first on audiobook; however, how keen to know the series now has four installments! Plus, I loved the bookmarks for this series – for the Dread Penny Society as that was a charming surprise, too! Whenever I receive bookmarks with books I am a very humbled and thankful book blogger!

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About Sarah M. Eden

Sarah M. Eden is a USA Today best-selling author of witty and charming historical romances, including 2019’s Foreword Reviews INDIE Awards Gold Winner for Romance, The Lady and the Highwayman, and 2020 Holt Medallion finalist, Healing Hearts.

She is a two-time “Best of State” Gold Medal winner for fiction and a three-time Whitney Award winner. Combining her obsession with history and her affinity for tender love stories, Sarah loves crafting deep characters and heartfelt romances set against rich historical backdrops. She holds a bachelor’s degree in research and happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library.

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This blog tour is courtesy of: Austenprose

The Gentleman and the Thief blog tour banner provided by Austenprose and is used with permission.Be sure to click the banner & find the tour route!

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NOTE: Similar to blog tours wherein I feature book reviews, book spotlights (with or without extracts), book announcements (or Cover Reveals) – I may elect to feature an author, editor, narrator, publisher or other creative person connected to the book, audiobook, Indie film project or otherwise creative publishing medium being featured wherein the supplemental content on my blog is never compensated monetarily nor am I ever obligated to feature this kind of content. I provide (98.5%) of all questions and guest topics regularly featured on Jorie Loves A Story. I receive direct responses back to those enquiries by publicists, literary agents, authors, blog tour companies, etc of whom I am working with to bring these supplemental features and showcases to my blog. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them: I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers. Whenever there is a conflict of connection I do disclose those connections per post and disclose the connection as it applies.

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{SOURCES: Book cover for “The Gentleman and the Thief”, book synopsis, author biography as well as the blog tour banner were all provided by Austenprose and are used with permission. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Stories in the Spotlight banner, #25PagePreview banner and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2020.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 18 November, 2020 by jorielov in #25PagePreview, Austenprose, Blog Tour Host, Book Spotlight, Content Note, Cosy Historical Mystery, Fly in the Ointment, Historical Fiction, Historical Romance, Indie Author, Inspirational Fiction & Non-Fiction, Jorie Loves A Story Features, Romance Fiction

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One response to “An INSPY Victorian #25PagePreview Spotlight | “The Gentleman and the Thief” (The Dread Penny Society, Book Two) by Sarah M. Eden

  1. Ugh. I’m so sorry for your illness and migraines — I can completely relate to the migraines. I hope that they go away and NEVER COME BACK. You deserve better.

    Good on you for pushing through. I hate reading series out of order, too. In fact, it’s one reason I don’t often read ARCs or participate in blog tours — I’ve found myself on the wrong end of that far too many times. That said, it sounds like Gentleman and the Thief worked out. I’m adding this series to my TBR. <3

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