Type: Historical Romance
My Copy: NetGalley
His heart may be the last thing she ever steals . . . 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.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! The start to a new series that I found intriguing from page one. I have read several of Ms. Galen’s books and have liked them all. This book has danger, hope and of course romance.
Marlowe remembers little of a life before she was living with a gang in the slums of London’s Seven Dials district. The Covent Garden Cubs has been both her family and employer for many years and she is an expert pick pocket who can steal from the best. She has a small memory of a young girl named Elizabeth but not much else and never holds out hope of anything more in life.
Maxwell, the Earl of Dane is only trying to live a normal life, yet his brother Brooke often keeps him from that goal with his investigative endeavors. He now finds himself stuck with watching a bedraggled woman while Brooke is off gathering more information about her. Brooke believes that Marlowe/Elizabeth is the long lost daughter of the Marquess of Lyndon but he might be the only one. By the time trouble finds Marlowe, Dane has changed and will do anything to keep her in his life.
A wonderful start to a new series that had me hooked from the beginning. The premises is intriguing, a nod to the play, The Pygmalion with engaging characters, humor, romance and danger. I will definitely be looking for the next book.
Marlowe/Elizabeth is an amazing woman and I liked her immensely. She is strong and tough on the outside, willing to protect herself and others in her gang but there are times when she is alone that she has a faint memory of another life. Yet she holds on to what she knows with everything she has even when she is objectionable to others. When she first meets Dane and his family, I laughed out loud, Dane’s mother’s reaction had to be one of the funniest things I have read in a long time.
Dane played the part of “put-upon” brother very well. He hated that Brooke dropped this street urchin off at his home and you could tell in everything he said and did. Yet I could not dislike him, his thoughts were hilarious and although he could not believe his luck he did his best to help Marlowe and the attraction between them grew.
Secondary characters added so much to this entertaining story, I really liked both Susanna and Brooke, Dane’s sister and brother, they both believed in Marlowe from the beginning and helped Dane see her in a different light. I also thought his mother and valet were hilarious with their running commentary throughout the book. Several of the “cub’s” were also great characters, Satin for his evilness and Gideon for his friendship.
The pace of the story works well and it is a fairly fast read. We follow Marlowe from the dangers of the Seven Dials to the wonder of upscale London and back to the slums for retribution. Yet all the while the relationship between Marlowe and Dane along with his family is growing and shifting. I love how Dane’s perspective changes throughout the story, he becomes a champion of others, something he could only learn from Marlowe. I could not ask for a better ending, it is heartwarming and romantic, almost too perfect, but this is a romance and what we expect. I highly recommend this and look forward to more.
I give Earls Just Want to Have Fun by Shana Galen 4.25 stars!