That I am recommending Deborah Simmons new Regency historical is a
tribute to her skill and talent. I started out convinced that I was
not going to like The Gentleman Thief and ended up
completely engrossed and cheering for the hero and heroine. Itís not
every author who can take a ditzy blonde and make yours truly care about
Of course, Simmonsí skill lies in gradually uncovering the fact that
Georgiana Bellwether, although endowed with bouncy blonde curls, glorious
blue eyes, a figure to die for, and eminently kissable lips -- while
overly enthusiastic, a bit clumsy, and charmingly naive -- is not a ditz
after all. The fun lies in watching the hero make this same stunning
Georgiana has come with her countrified family to spend the season in
Bath. She views her looks not as a blessing, but rather a curse because
everyone immediately assumes that she is, well, a ditz. Itís hard to
carry on an intelligent conversation with a man when his eyes are always
drifting to her impressive bosom. But Georgie has a mind and wants to
use it. In particular, she wants to use it to solve problems and
mysteries. Indeed, if only she were a man, she could become a Bow
Street Runner, her heartís desire.
Georgiana doesnít expect to find much scope for her talent in placid
Bath, but then, one evening while attending a soiree at Lady Culpepperís
house, something exciting actually happens. Her ladyshipís magnificent
emerald necklace is stolen. Georgie decides that if she can crack the
case, she will finally be taken seriously.
Her penchant for listening in on conversations has already uncovered one
possible suspect. Of course, while she was hiding behind a potted plant, she managed to trip and crash into the Marquis of Ashdowne, the most attractive man in Bath.
Jonathan Saxton has only been a marquis for about a year, having
inherited the title when his brother died. He misses the freedom and
excitement of his life as a younger son. The eruption of Georgiana into
his life adds some spice to his otherwise boring existence. When he
discovers that she is determined to uncover the thief, he appoints
himself her assistant. Somebody has to keep her out of
Ashdowne proves to have all sorts of skills that make him an invaluable
assistant, like the ability to open locked doors and fade into the
darkness. But he has one disadvantage, as far as Georgie is concerned.
Whenever he gets too close to her, she canít think. And Ashdowne
occasionally gets very close.
Georgianaís investigative efforts result in some delightfully funny
moments. But the story does turn serious at the end, and Simmons
handles the change in mood as well as she handles everything else. What
strikes me is how she manages to provide all kinds of clues as to the
identity of the thief, yet still kept me guessing. In retrospect, the
culprit is clear, but like Georgie, I was led astray.
So I definitely recommend The Gentleman Thief. Georgie is a
marvelous creation; the story is very well plotted; there is humor,
drama, and all the sexual tension one could ask for. A most enjoyable