The Lady and the Highwayman Review
The Lady and the Highwayman is another entertaining Proper Romance from best-selling author Sarah M. Eden. Set in Victorian-era London, it is the story of adventurous and independent headmistress, Elizabeth Black. Not only does she run a school, she is also a noted author of respected novels. And she is also the secret author of serial novels, known as “Penny Dreadfuls,” a fact which she must keep hidden to maintain her reputation. Fletcher Walker is also an author of Penny Dreadfuls. But his life is very different from hers. In an effort to protect his success, the two end up joining forces.
From the beginning, I could easily picture both characters as I read, down to their accents and mannerisms. Ms. Eden is skilled in her detail and descriptions, making her stories very visual. I would imagine they could easily be scripted into movies, her writing is so vivid.
As is so often the case, these characters are relatable and likeable, and by the end of the book, I again found myself wishing our time together was not so soon over. I always enjoy not only her characters and plots, but the idea that I have learned a little bit about an era of history, and about customs and cultures by the time I have finished.
If you are already a fan of Sarah M. Eden, or the Proper Romance editions from Shadow Mountain Publishing, you don’t need me to tell you that you’ll want to add The Lady and The Highwayman to your reading list. And if you aren’t yet familiar with Ms. Eden’s work, it’s time you got to know a new author.
The Lady and the Highwayman Summary
Elizabeth Black is the headmistress of a girl’s
school in 1865’s 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 working-class readers. The group knows King could be an asset with his obvious monetary success, or he could be the group’s undoing as King s readership continues to cut into their profits.
Determined to find the elusive Mr. King, Fletcher approaches Miss Black. As a fellow author, she is well-known among the high-class writers; perhaps she could be persuaded to make some inquiries as to Mr. King’s whereabouts? Elizabeth agrees to help Fletcher, if only to ensure her secret identity is never discovered. What neither author anticipated was the instant attraction, even though their social positions dictate the impossibility of a relationship.
For the first time Elizabeth experiences the thrill of a cat-and-mouse adventure reminiscent of one of her own novels as she tries to throw Fletcher off her scent. But the more time they spend together, the more she loses her heart. Its upper-class against working-class, author against author where readers, reputations, and romance are all on the line.
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