Welcome to Cozy Jo's Romance Review blog. This is where you'll find reviews and discussions on historical or contemporary romance books and maybe a few other bits and bobs thrown in for good measure.
So come on in, sit down and find yourself a good romance book to read.

Saturday, 7 January 2006

To Love a Thief by Julie Anne Long

Excellent, well-written regency romance
5 stars

This was my first book by Julie Anne Long and so I really did not know what to expect after buying it on impulse. I am glad to say that by the end I was very much a fan.

The story uses Pygmalion for its inspiration but although there are similarities - this is so much more than just a reworking of an old story.

Lily Masters is a skilled London pickpocket who steals to support herself and her sister, and is good at what she does. Gideon Cole is a handsome barrister who has a desire to better his position in life and plans to do so by marrying the daughter of a marquis and so obtain a position in the government.

Gideon catches Lily trying to rob a man and in exchange for her freedom she must pose as the object of his affection to make the marquis's daughter jealous enough to accept his proposal. So Lily and her sister move to Gideon's estate and as she is polished into a lady, they find themselves drawn to each other and start to fall in love.

Lily is spirited and feisty without being a stereotype and is someone you can really root for. Gideon is your typical deliciously rugged male who despite his desire to marry high to better his life, is not single-minded and makes a convincingly troubled hero. Together, the pair have chemistry that jumps off the page and this makes you more than interested in their story.

The basic story is not new, but with the quality of the writing it really shines through as an original. The character development shows you the characters struggling with their feelings and you can really see why they act the way they do and feel their happiness and pains. At times the book is poignant and touching but is also witty, and on occasion laugh-out-loud funny. The secondary characters add depth to the book and are entertaining and realistic but never overpowering.

All in all I was thoroughly impressed with the book and will be seeking out Ms Long's first book and any she writes in the future. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a sweet, well-written regency romance that is similar in style to Julia Quinn or Sabrina Jeffries - I'm sure you will enjoy it.

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