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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

Elizabeth Black is the headmistress of a girls’ school in 1830s Victorian London. She is also 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 Charles King, Elizabeth has written about dashing heroes fighting supernatural threats, intelligent detectives solving grisly murders, 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 Charles King started taking all of his readers. 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 social and political causes of their workin…

The Lady and the Highwayman

by Sarah M. Eden

Overall Book Review:

Sarah M. Eden’s The Lady and the Highwayman is captivating, charming, and oh-so-clever. In this latest Proper Romance, two Penny Dreadful writers fall for each other while joining a crusade to help the street children of Victorian London. To say this fast-paced plot contains adventure and mystery would be an understatement! The tale follows Fletcher, a humble and hilarious hero, and Elizabeth, a strong, intelligent, and capable heroine. What’s creative about The Lady and the Highwayman is that it includes chapters from each of the main characters’ written works. It’s basically two additional books within a book…and it totally works and is a lot of fun! Eden explores themes of poverty, education, and men and women’s roles while adding elements of flirting and romance. Readers will be delighted with the characters’ dialect and expressions. Highly recommended read!

Review of an Advance Reading Copy
Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: None

Violence/Gore:  Several verbal threats; secondhand reports of children being beaten and/or a child appears with bruises and a split lip; a few incidents of destruction of property by arson; a few incidents where a character punches and fights another; an incident where characters briefly fight a vampire. 

Sexual/Nudity:  Several kisses on the hands and lips; several sexual references regarding rescuing or attempting to abduct children from sexual exploitation, a few references to brothels.

Mature Subject Matter:

Child abductions and attempted abductions, children sold into exploitation and prostitution, arson, thieving, orphans and street urchins, mention of gambling. 

Alcohol / Drug Use:

Mention of a father selling children to buy alcohol; a character mentions going to grab a pint.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

My mother was the one who sparked my love of books. Long before school instruction, she sat me down and taught me to read. My childhood was filled with trips to the library and bookmobile to find great books. My first loves were The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and the Pippi Longstocking series by Astrid Lingren. Now as a mom and speech pathologist, I am constantly looking for good, clean books to use at home and in therapy. I enjoy reading many different genres, but my favorites are usually historical fiction. I married my best friend, the “boy next door”, and we have a beautiful little girl who we often find sprawled out on the floor, flipping through picture books. Together our family likes to swim, run and play tennis. Besides reading, I also love to bake, garden and travel.