It happens to all of us–authors and readers alike. Sometimes books just don’t “click” with us. The worst is when “everyone” loves a book and you just don’t. So disappointing and well… I mean, it’s easy to get the feeling there’s something wrong with you. That happened with a book by Michelle Griep a while back, and I’ve been waiting for her next–hoping I’d love whatever it was just as much as I have her other books.
So, when I had a chance to read and review The Thief of Blackfriars Lane recently, of course, I accepted. (More like begged and pleaded, but why get all technical. But then the question must be asked. Did I like it?
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Happy Days Are Literarily Here Again–Thank Goodness!
Most of the time in historical fiction, when you find yourself in 19th century London, it’s not racing through the sewers as fast as your feet can fly through the sludge, clinging to the walls to avoid pursuers, or wedged in an alcove to avoid being flattened by trains.
Can I just say it was wonderful to read something different? (I wanted to say refreshing, but that sewer is still taunting my nostrils!)
With all the wit and banter I fell in love within the first Michelle Griep book I ever read, The Thief of Blackfriars Lane kicks off with a bang and at a quick clip and doesn’t stop moving. I’ve seen some people say they found it difficult to get into the story, but I have to say that I was swept along from the first page. The action only slows long enough for you to catch your breath and do a bit of thinking before the next thing hits.
The moral dilemma of deception as a way of convincing others to do what they should do anyway was played out well, I thought. Kit had a fun twist on the “Robin Hood” mentality, and I loved that she worked hard not to break the law even while breaking the spirit of the law. Her character growth also seemed realistic to me–not too neat and tidy, not too “justified.” She’s awfully young, still. And it takes years to mature enough to see past your thunderpuppy ideals at that age.
My complaints of last time–not here. I didn’t feel the draggy info-dumping or the jarring jump from one style to the next. It wasn’t there this time. My soul sings.
I loved Jackson and Kit. I got a bit tired of a few of the “expletives” Kit and Jackson were fond of. I’m not sure why. They weren’t on every page. Flit! Pah! Gah!
Sigh. Something about them really felt like they were overused, and I suspect that either it’s just me and the time I read it OR it’s that they’re unfamiliar so they stood out more than other ones would. I remember noting a “blast” that didn’t bother me until something else followed and I remembered that. Pretty minor, if you ask me.
Loved seeing Jackson’s faith drive him, make him waver, drive him again, and then sharing it with Kit. After a bit of misplaced sermonizing in her last book, I was cheering this time.
What was my favorite part of The Thief of Blackfriars Lane?
Aside from just the funness of it all, this book has kind of a Miss Phryne Fisher feel to it (but clean!). Kit is clever, but she makes mistakes. She’s not the heroine who does everything perfectly or comes up with the perfect ideas while the bumbling police officer looks like an idiot. No, Jackson is a rookie and makes rookie mistakes, but he has a brain, he uses it, and together, they make a formidable team. She has street smarts. He knows how to think outside the criminal box.
I guess basically, the part I loved best is that neither is a “Mary Sue” character. Both have strengths and imperfections, they play well off each other, and they’ll each grow from one another. And those things I loved.
Most definitely–for readers who love adventuresome historical fiction with a twist of faith and great banter. Not recommended for readers who expect the unsaved to act saved. It doesn’t happen in here. Thank goodness. So glad I requested the free review copy. Pleased that I loved it so much.
About the Book
Book: The Thief of Blackfriars Lane
Author: Michelle Griep
Genre: Christian historical
There’s Often a Fine Line Between a Criminal and a Saint
Constable Jackson Forge intends to make the world safer, or at least the streets of Victorian London. But that’s Kit Turner’s domain, a swindler who runs a crew that acquires money the old-fashioned way—conning the rich to give to the poor.
When a local cab driver goes missing, Jackson is tasked with finding the man, and the only way to do that is by enlisting Kit’s help. If Jackson doesn’t find the cabby, he’ll be fired. If Kit doesn’t help Jackson, he’ll arrest her for thievery. Yet neither of them realize those are the least of their problems.
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