Tag Archives: Bow Street Runners

Too Sinful to Deny (Scoundrels and Sinners, Book 2) by Erica Ridley

Susan Stanton loves gossip, so much that when she overhears a juicy bit from a wife cuckolding her husband, she finds herself on the wrong side of The Ton, despite the truth to her words. Her mother’s attempt to marry her off to a morally questionable but well off gentlemen was destined to fail (see Too Wicked to Kiss) so she ends up confined to her room until further notice. Yet Susan was determined to attend The Frost Fair in celebration of the Thames freezing over, a rare occurrence. Who knew that despite her stealthy attempts to sneak out, she was discovered when she fell through the ice and drowned. Luckily she was rescued and brought back to life, but only to be banished from her beloved London – packed up and sent to the end of nowhere at Moonseed Manor in Bournemouth, to stay with her cousin Lady Beaune with the closest center of civilization the town of Bath.

The situation is even worse that Susan expected when there is no Lady Beaune to greet her and she is “welcomed” instead by her cousin’s creepy husband, Ollie. The town folks don’t cotton to her overtures of friendship, especially the owner of the dress shop who resents her popularity with the only decent men around including Gordon Forrester, the local magistrate. Susan’s only interest, though, is to find a way home again, if only she can discover a way to get to the closest town where her recognizable family name will provide the means of the necessary escape. Things are looking up when Forrester offers to accompany her to the upcoming Assembly in Bath, occurring in about two weeks, but Susan is not sure she can wait that long. It seems that there have been a series of recent deaths, and the lingering ghosts can’t rest until she does them each a favor. Seeing and hearing spirits seems to be a new but unwanted talent she has acquired after her near death experience and she’ll do anything to shut them up. Of course, these are ghosts of the recently departed, so who exactly is the murderer? There is a plethora of suspects which only a Bow Street Runner could untangle. Then there is the question of her missing cousin. Is she buried under that unmarked grave or is it that freshly dug mound of earth the resting place of some other hapless soul? Nobody’s talking.

Complicatiog her life is Ollie’s friend, Evan Bothwick, a devastatingly handsome rogue tinkering in the Pirate business and bent on making her his latest conquest. If only she could trust him, but she worries that he will not only keep her from escaping, but also steal her heart. Her focus is to keep her eye on the prize – someone from The Ton who loves London as much as she does, ready to marry a chaste and pure innocent, a dream threatened by Evan’s carefree ways.

Too Sinful to Deny, Book 2 in the Scoundrels and Sinners series, never seemed to end. While Erica Ridley tried to capture a sense of gothic all she exceeded in doing was to create a horrifying scenario filled with mean spiritedness and senseless violence which could not be compensated for by the rest of the trappings of a Regency Romance. The ghosts actually provided a bit of levity, if you can believe that. While the love interests had a somewhat decent sensibility, the townsfolk were a horrid unredeeming bunch who I’d just as soon not meet again. The only scene which brought a smile to my lips was when the heroine buys a seemingly endless round of drinks resulting in a packed bar with a tab she can never hope to pay unless her parents cough up her allowance.

If you are a fan of the Saw movies, this one is for you, but if you avoid fare such as chainsaw massacres, then find another book to read. Two and a half stars.

This ARC was provided by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Viscount of Vice by Shana Galen

In the Regency Romance,The Viscount of Vice by Shana Galen, Henry Flynn, the new Earl of Chesham, also aptly known as the Viscount of Vice, finds himself in Bath, instead of London, at the urgent request of Sir Brook Derring who has accidentally found Flynn’s long lost, presumed dead brother. With the help of Lady Emma Talbot, Flynn finds, not just his brother, but true love, in this satisfying novella, an introduction to the new Covent Garden Cub series.

Galen takes us on a merry ride as Flynn fights his past transgressions and pulls out his gentlemanly manners to protect the innocent Emma from both the outside world as well as from the rising passion which threatens to overwhelm them both. It takes all his will power to keep from ruining Emma, although circumstances allow him to give her the pleasure he feels she deserves. The romance is titilating, the action satisfying, and the ending fulfilling, yet leaving us wanting more. In addition, Galen makes the characters come alive and provides understandable motivations for their actions. Flynn suffers from guilt for his part in his little brother’s supposed death which results in his bad-boy-devil-may-care behavior and his inability to develop any meaningful relationships, even with his own mother. Lady Emma has her own issues since her brother, the Duke of Ravenscroft, is forcing her to marry his choice for a husband, after her rejection of too many acceptable suitors. It is not her fault that she is secretly in love with the unacceptable Flynn and all others seem just plain boring in comparison. It is the motivations of ruthless kidnapper, Satin, which leave us wondering, so it is lucky for the reader that there is an upcoming novel, Earls Just Want to Have Fun, which further delves into this evil doers misdeeds through the quest of Bow Street Runner, Sir Brook Derring, who searches to track down another one of Satin’s victims and bring this devil to justice.

I thank Sourcebooks Casablanca for allowing me to download this preview in exchange for an honest review. I heartily recommend this short story/novella to all lovers of a good romance and I give it four stars.

Earls Just Want to Have Fun by Shana Galen

Earls Just Want to Have Fun is Book 1 in the Covent Garden Cub series by Shana Galen. A prequel, a novella named The Viscount Of Vice, introduced us to Bow Street Runner, Sir Brook Derring who, in this novel, has been hired to locate a young lady kidnapped as a child by the evil Satan, the head of a local gang living in the notorious Seven Dials district.

Filthy Marlowe is the only girl in the Covent Garden Cubs and she must work twice as hard as the boys to maintain her place within the group. She is one of Satan’s favorites as she is a skilled pickpocket and can dress as either lad or lass as the need dictates. Her ability to speak in more cultured tones also leads to more convincing scams and thus more earnings. However, mostly Marlowe speaks the cant of her surroundings and Galen intersperses numerous colorful language into her conversations, sometimes only decipherable from context clues. Perhaps a glossary would be helpful to the reader, although we get the gist of the meanings.

When one of the cons goes bad, Marlowe is taken away by Sir Brook. Well actually, it is Sir Brook’s brother, Maxwell Derring, Earl of Dane, who ends up unintentionally doing the kidnapping, since he has unwittingly loaned his coach for this caper and suddenly finds himself involved in the rescue attempt. It seems that Brook believes that Marlowe is really Lady Elizabeth, kidnapped by Satin at the age of five. She, however, believes that Satin had rescued her from starving in the streets and that her loyalty lies with her cronies and her boss, especially since nobody leaves the group and lives to tell about it. Either way, Dane looks down upon the filthy Marlowe who fights dirty and speaks an indistinguishable English, and feels his brother has gone mad. To make matters worse, Sir Brook is called away and Lord Dane must deal with the hellcat alone, making her somewhat presentable since there is no place safe for her to stay, except their home. And, to top matters off, the safest spot to watch over her is tied up to a chair in his own bedchamber. With the assistance of the capable, discreet butler, Crawford, Marlowe is cleaned up enough to join the family for breakfast where she is welcomed by Dane’s sweet sister Lady Susanna who quickly befriends the hapless house guest. Unfortunately, Maxwell’s mother isn’t so understanding and refuses to spend one second longer than she has to under the same roof as this undesirable riff raff. Of course, nothing runs smoothly and Lord Dane must continually put out the fires that inevitably blaze up in Marlowe’s wake, cursing his absentee brother for leaving the bulk of the work on his shoulders.

To make matters worse, the Earl has an inherent distaste for those living in poverty who continually steal and cheat those in the upper class. His own father died from pneumonia after the trauma from their home being burglarized. This results in a mistrust of Marlowe and all she represents until he sees how the other half lives and begins to understand what drives such actions for survival. As the resistant Marlowe comes to accept the charming Maxwell and he begins to understand her past way of life, a love between the two starts to develop, although there are all sorts of misadventures along the way.

While there are quite a few convoluted plot flaws, including the continued disappearance of Sir Brook, for the most part, this novel is a delight with quite a few laughs as well as some unexpected plot twists which help keep the reader’s interest throughout the story. I heartily recommend this book with a four star rating.

I would like to thank Sourcebooks Casablanca for allowing me a free download of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.