CBR14: Rec’d (this has been recommended by multiple Cannonballers and pretty much every romance review blog I can think of)
Edward Percival “Percy” Talbot, Lord Holland, returns to England after several years abroad in Europe to discover that his mother died in his absence, and his deeply unpleasant father hastily remarried, to Percy’s best friend from childhood, Lady Marian Hayes, who also had time to birth Percy a baby sister. Furthermore, Marian reveals that a blackmailer has contacted her with proof that the Duke of Clare was already married when he married Percy’s mother, and subsequently Marian. Neither Percy nor the baby Elizabeth are the duke’s legal offspring and Marian has unwittingly married a bigamist.
It’s not as if Percy or Marian have the funds or any intention to pay off the blackmailer, but Marian hatches a scheme that involves robbing the duke, to steal the journal of Percy’s late mother (which the duke apparently keeps in an inner pocket at all times. The journal would give them enough material with which to blackmail the duke themselves to secure financially independent futures for all three (Percy, Marion and baby Eliza).
To assist them in their outrageous plot, Percy is tasked with recruiting Christopher “Kit” Webb, formerly (allegedly the highwayman ‘Gladhand Jack’, now a respectable (and seemingly rather boring)) owner of a coffee house. Nevertheless, on his many trips to the coffee house to observe Kit, Percy begins to find him rather fascinating.
Kit has retired from his life of crime, crippled by a leg wound and rather disillusioned once his partner in crime died on the job. Now he runs a respectable coffee house along with his former fence, Betty, a formidable young woman who not only makes sure he takes care of himself but keeps him from slipping too far into depression and self-pity. Kit wants nothing to do with the hare-brained plot of some bored aristocrat until he finds out who Percy actually wants to rob. Due to his leg, Kit can’t actually do the job himself, but he offers to train Percy to do the robbery himself. Initially, Kit assumes that a pampered nobleman like Percy would have no fighting experience, and this proves true when it comes to hand-to-hand combat. When it comes to fencing, on the other hand, Percy is way more proficient than Kit expected.
Full review on my blog.
Bingo #1: Snake (Slippery Creatures), Shadow (The Sugared Game), Cold (Shards of Earth), Rec’d (this), Bodies (Fangirl the Manga, vol 2)