4 out of 4 stars
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The Lady and the Highwayman is the latest novel from USA Today bestselling author Sarah M. Eden. It is a Proper Romance novel, meaning that it has no profanity or sexual situations, and takes place in Victorian England.
Elizabeth Black is the headmistress of a girls' school. She writes silver-fork novels, novels that are meant for the upper class, in order to supplement her school's funds. However, she has a secret that could ruin her reputation if it were to be found out. She also writes under the pseudonym Mr. King and is an up-and-coming author in the realm of Penny Dreadfuls, novels for the lower class that are full of excitement and adventure.
On the other hand, Fletcher Walker has made a name for himself as a Penny Dreadful author despite being born an urchin. He is part of the Dread Penny Society, a philanthropic group of Penny Dreadful authors. Mr. King is stealing Fletcher's spotlight in the market, which means fewer funds for the society to use for charity. Mr. King's writing has a hint of sophistication to it, so Fletcher approaches Elizabeth hoping that her status as a silver-fork author might lead to some clues. Elizabeth agrees to help him, if only to throw him off her scent.
The Lady and the Highwayman is honestly the best romance novel I've read in a long time. Eden's writing is witty and her characters are stunningly charming. I honestly knew nothing about silver-fork or Penny Dreadful novels before reading this book, but her simple explanations slipped into the writing made it easy to stay engaged even while learning something new. Better yet, sandwiched between chapters from Elizabeth and Fletcher's perspectives are actual installments of their Penny Dreadfuls. It is so entertaining to see the differences in their writing styles. Also, the slight respite from the novel's plot gave it great pacing. Between the characters' perspectives and the Penny Dreadfuls, it felt like I was getting three books in one.
The editing was also superb. I only found one minor error in the entire novel. I honestly have no complaints with the book at all. Eden's ability to change her writing to suit each character amazed me. Her characters truly seem to pop off the page and click despite being so different.
I would gladly give this novel 4 out of 4 stars and highly recommend it to fans of historical romance. Also, if you're a fan of writing, you'll enjoy spotting the differences in the characters' writing styles and seeing how they battle against each other as authors. The Lady and the Highwayman has a little bit of everything you could possibly want: romance, action, and mysteries. I've definitely become a fan of Eden's work after reading it and look forward to reading her other works.
The Lady and the Highwayman
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