Never Trust a Thief
Once a famous officer of Scotland Yard and now a renowned private detective, Sir Samuel Brass has better things to do than shadow a reckless hellion in her misguided quest for atonement. But when the daughter of a notorious criminal—and a former thief herself—returns to London to right an old wrong, Samuel is drawn back into the dangerously exciting world of Esther Walker-Bales.
Beautiful and conniving, maddening and brilliant, Esther is everything he shouldn’t want. She’s a liar. She’s a con. She’s a thief. And God help him, but he’d do anything to keep her safe.
Esther knows she’s put herself in terrible danger, but nothing will stop her from making amends that are long past due—not her family’s enemies, not old fears, and certainly not the domineering, interfering and undeniably handsome Sir Samuel Brass. Yet whenever he’s near, Samuel makes her long for a life that can never be hers…and wish she were worthy of being saved.
Worldbuilding: The London setting was pretty interesting, since it presents sides that might’ve been unsavory during their times, but are entirely juicy and ripe with tension and danger for readers, like Spitalfields.
Characters: Esther was very easy to love, for me. A feminist, independent in nature, skilled with knives, cunning, smart, and pretty snarky for her day and age – what’s not to love, I ask you? She had a lot of inner conflict going on regarding her identity, her affiliations if you will. It was interesting to follow her journey as she discovered and embraced herself.
Samuel was pretty goofy, in a way. Physically imposing, but pretty much a teddy bear – grumpy and without a way with words as he may be, lol! – when it came to Esther’s safety. I loved them together, the banter, the teasing, the sparks. Fun, awesome couple, and a very hot one – tensions running high, lots of yummy passion.
Plot: The slow burn, opposites attract romance was fun, ripe with tension and banter and fun moments. I loved it. The suspenseful part of the story was pretty exciting up to a point, but it got a bit less exciting toward the end (for me, a fan of mysteries). But overall the tempo was alert without becoming tiring, and I had a great time throughout.
Writing: Third person, past tense, his/her POV. Loved Esther’s voice and humor, but Samuel wasn’t bad either.
Curb Appeal: Cool cover, hooking blurb – impulsive buy material for my historical romance cravings.
All in all, I recommend A Gift for Guile to fans of more modern-air historical romance, where there’s action outside the romance and it’s somewhat fast-paced, and heroines are strong characters that frustrate, madden, and thoroughly conquer their men xD