(Website, Twitter)Published by Shadow Mountain on 2019
Genres: Clean & Wholesome, Fiction, Historical, Romance, Victorian
Elizabeth Black is the headmistress of a girls’ school and 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 Mr. King, Elizabeth has written about dashing heroes fighting supernatural threats 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 Mr. King started taking all of his readers--and his profits. 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 rights of the less-fortunate.
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 insure her secret identity is never discovered.
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.
The Lady and the Highwayman by Sarah Eden was a great, quick read. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it, and it had everything I was looking for in a read.
Elizabeth Black is the headmistress of a girl’s school and also the author of well-respected “silver fork” novels but she has a secret she can’t share with anyone or risk the fate of her school. Her big secret is that she also happens to be Mr. King, the newly famous author of the Penny Dreadfuls that are all the rage among the working-class men.
Fletcher Walker has worked his way up out of the gutters of London and has been the most successful Penny Dreadful author for a while but when Mr. King unseats him and starts taking his readers…and his profits, he has to find out who this man is. Even the men in the Dread Penny Society, a secret group of authors, don’t know who Mr. King is and it could impact their mission of fighting for the rights of the less fortunate.
By doing his own digging, Fletcher determines that Mr. King must be from higher up on the social chain based on the language he uses and because of this, he approaches Elizabeth hoping she can make some inquiries to find out where he is. Elizabeth decides to help Fletcher so she can keep him off her scent and by doing this, she is drawn into something bigger than protecting her identity.
I loved how the relationship developed between Fletcher and Elizabeth. The banter between them was one of my favorite parts of the story. Yes, they are from different levels of society, but it doesn’t bother Elizabeth one bit that Fletcher had to claw his way up. They are both smart and witty and they make each other feel things they haven’t ever felt before. They also have a lot in common and could relate to each other regardless of social standing.
There is plenty of action and danger in this book because as I mentioned, the Dread Penny Society looks to protect the less fortunate children and that’s where things take a bit of a twist for Elizabeth. As she learns more about the children who are in danger, she jumps right in to help protect them however she can which leads to her students and school being put in dangerous situation.
One of the things I loved about this book was that it included two Penny Dreadfuls. One written by Fletcher and one by Mr. King. Both were enjoyable and added to the overall story. If you are looking for a historical romance that will keep you turning the pages, add this one to your TBR shelf right now. It was such a good read and I will definitely be adding Eden to my author watchlist.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the early copy in exchange for an honest review.