Saturday, January 14, 2012

Review: The Gentleman Thief by Deborah Simmons (5 stars, historical)

Full Description: Amazon

Rating: at least 5 out of 5

Thoughts After Reading:
Deborah Simmons is rapidly climbing the ranks on my imaginary list of favorite authors. Not only is The Gentleman Thief another one of her excellent novels (this time a regency), it is quite possibly a flawless example of what I hope for in a historical romance. I absolutely loved the premise, the heroine, the hero, and that, while the book is mostly lighthearted, the conflict did not seem contrived or insignificant in the least.

The heroine is extremely fun: she is a diamond of the first water, but wishes more than anything that she was born a man so that she could be a Bow Street Runner :). It frustrates her that people are not able to see past her beauty, when she wants to be acknowledged for her cleverness and ability to solve crimes. Therefore, it is borderline adorable to see her slight disillusionment when she meets her first Bow Street Runner. The hero is somewhat a complex character, which is particularly revealed to the reader at the heart of the conflict. In some ways he plays the character of an arrogant and slightly self-absorbed aristocrat, yet he quickly allows the heroine to wrap him around her finger. He is enthralled with, as he puts it, her "joie de vivre" and recognizes her innate intelligence before too long. He offers to be her "assistant" as the heroine investigates the theft of a necklace during a ball. The plot follows the hero and heroine as they investigate the heroine's suspects, often with humorous results. The degree of the couple's amorous interactions deepen in proportion to their attraction with each other, although I liked that the relationship wasn't fully consummated until after the wedding vows. The heroine struggles with her attraction to the hero as she wants to focus on the mystery. I really wanted to see the heroine succeed in her investigation at the end, rather than continue to come out looking a little silly, and was not disappointed. She eventually puts all the pieces together, and has to figure out what she wants to do at that point. I don't want to give away the actual conflict (which isn't that hard to guess to begin with), but both the heroine and hero have to do some self-reflection before the relationship is resolved. I found the resolution to be more than satisfying when compared to my HEA standards ;).

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