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Monday, October 10, 2016

Book Review: To Kiss a Thief by Susanna Craig

to kiss a thief
To Kiss a Thief by Susanna Craig
Book 1 in the Runaway Desires series
ARC, e-book, 264 pages
Lyrical Press
August 16, 2016
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Heat Rating:

Genre: Historical Romance

Source: Received for review from publisher
In this captivating new series set in Georgian England, a disgraced woman hides from her marriage-for better or worse...
Sarah Pevensey had hoped her arranged marriage to St. John Sutliffe, Viscount Fairfax, could become something more. But almost before it began, it ended in a scandal that shocked London society. Accused of being a jewel thief, Sarah fled to a small fishing village to rebuild her life.
The last time St. John saw his new wife, she was nestled in the lap of a soldier, disheveled, and no longer in possession of his family's heirloom sapphire necklace. Now, three years later, he has located Sarah and is determined she pay for her crimes. But the woman he finds is far from what he expected. Humble and hardworking, Sarah has nothing to hide from her husband-or so it appears. Yet as he attempts to woo her to uncover her secrets, St. John soon realizes that if he's not careful, she'll steal his heart...

This review was previously posted at Romantic Historical Reviews.

Sarah thought that her marriage to St. John would be one of the best days of her life, but little did she realize that it would all quickly be snatched away from her, and she had no idea how everything transpired! Within a day of their nuptial ball and accusations thrown at her of thievery, Sarah is whisked away to a small and poor seaside village where she is left to survive on her own. Several years later, St. John finds his wife and is determined to prove she stole from his family, but what he finds makes him question his views on his wife and everything he has known.

The bulk of this story takes place once St. John has found his wife again on the shores of a poor fishing village. There is a very short introduction for the reader to the events that transpired on the night of their nuptial ball, and the reader will be left just as confused as Sarah about these early events and what exactly transpired. While this is sometimes confusing because you want to know more, it keeps the reader on the same level as Sarah, who doesn’t exactly know what happened because of being in an inebriated state. The reader doesn’t have any more knowledge about the actual events that transpired than Sarah or St. John, so you can’t join any characters side right from the beginning.

The relationship between Sarah and St. John is rocky throughout the novel – from beginning to end. They did not know each other very well prior to their marriage and there has been significant accusations thrown into the mix to further push them apart. There is no trust on either of their parts. They both question the motives of the other and vacillate back and forth as to whether they are going to be able to have a real chance at their relationship. Even more road blocks pop up – such as the fact that they might actually be falling in love with each other. But can you have love without trust? I loved the back and forth that occurred between these two. It was funny and real. Right up until the end I wasn’t sure if they were going to be able resolve their issues or not – and I think I would have been happy regardless of which way it ended as it was well crafted.

The question of whether Sarah took this expensive family necklace lingered throughout the novel and we don’t get the answer to the question until the very end of the book. While I didn’t exactly predict the outcome that was ultimately revealed, I was on the right track, so it’s not entirely predictable and was refreshing. The resolution entirely made sense with events that had transpired when you think back over them without being obvious. While this was the main point of conflict within the story, it wasn’t the main plot line (that would go to the relationship between Sarah and St. John).

The main characters could sometimes be infuriating. Sarah was a tad too na├»ve at the beginning of the novel – and in some ways throughout – although she does grow and adapt with her new way of life and I really liked her by the end. St. John is a little bit all over the place. He was very willing to accept that his wife was a thief and stole the jewels, but throughout questions that conviction while still holding on to it like a lifeline. He alternately wants her to be guilty and also innocent, and struggles against those conflicting ideas. His conflict though kept him an interesting character.

A sideline issue for me with the novel was the name of the male lead, St. John. That is his first name, St. John Sutliffe, otherwise known as Viscount Fairfax, or just Fairfax. It just made for awkward reading as I kept thinking St. John was his last name and that it would make my reading experience easier if he was named something else.

This is one of those books that I feel the need to comment more specifically on the level of romance within. I placed in squarely as a “4” in the heat level categorization of this blog. There are only a few sex scenes and they fit very well into the story telling, but they were quite descriptive (for reference, a “5” would be an erotic novel in my ranking). I don’t shy away from sex in novels, but I wouldn’t recommend reading some of these scenes while in public because they just might make you blush!

I was very satisfied with this novel as there was an excellent mix of romance, a little intrigue, action, and character development. It was a well-written and evenly balanced read and I am excited to see what comes next from this author.

You can read an excerpt of the book first to get a feel for the story.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Buy the Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | RJ Julia

Also by Susanna Craig:
to tempt an heiress
To Tempt an Heiress (Book 2)
Releasing Dec 6, 2016

Find Susanna Craig: Website | Facebook | Twitter

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