Wednesday, June 1, 2011

To Catch a Thief

Touch of a Thief
By Mia Marlow

You may need to set a thief to catch a thief, but if you need to steal something from the Queen's personal collection, catching the best jewel thief in London and blackmailing her into helping you is the better plan.
Lady Viola Preston's family has fallen on hard times. With the death of her father, the title and all the family fortune went to a cousin, leaving Viola, her mother and her sister with nothing but their London townhome. Viola turns to a life of crime, lifting the jewels of the ton and selling them to a fence in the seamier side of London. She has a highly successful career until she runs into Greydon Quinn, who catches her in the act and demands that she help him recover a precious red diamond, stolen from a temple in India. The allegedly cursed diamond is on it's way to London where it will be presented to the Queen, and thereafter go into the Royal vault. The theft ignited a rebellion and Quinn, who served many years in India, wants to help quell the uprising. There are many twists along the way, including a displaced Indian Prince, a malevolent gemstone, and a few ex-lovers.
Though I was at first hesitant about the slight paranormal elements to the story, I found the author handled them well. The characters are vivid, and either likeable or loathsome depending on which side of the good guy/bad guy spectrum they fall on. The love story is by turns steamy, sweet, and romantic, featuring an ongoing battle of wits between the hero and heroine. I love a good heist story, and this was lots of fun.
Interesting author note: Mia Marlowe had written other historical romances under the name Emily Bryan. I read and reviewed Distracting the Duchess a few years ago. I enjoyed it quite a bit and felt the author had a way of depicting those characters who had experienced mental or physical damage in a way that was both realistic and kind. That hasn't changed, which gives her secondary characters a lot of depth. I am looking forward to reading more from this author.

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