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The Reluctant Thief (Signet Regency Romance) Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 1998
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Hugh Rowland has donned many disguises in the service of his country, but none more unusual than that of a street thief. As a younger son, with wealth, but no attachments, he can afford to please himself and take another dangerous assignment. He must break into a gang that preys upon the upper levels of society--break in from the bottom. He stations himself as a street sweeper on the fashionable block where the gang will strike next, hoping to discover one of the gang members. His break comes when a footman chases a thief from one of the houses. As the man flees, he knocks a young lady into the street and the path of a carriage! Hugh rescues the lady and loses his quarry. Lady Rebecca Westcott is like no one he's ever encountered before. As a reward for saving her life, she convinces her family to give him employment. Her kindness and concern are genuine, and Hugh soon finds himself fighting the tender feelings he has for her. The web grows more tangled as he comes to the attention of the gang and is forced to steal from his benefactress to prove his good faith! Hugh is determined to keep a distance from Lady Rebecca, who, despite their apparent difference in stations, seems equally determined to prevent that from happening! The Reluctant Thief is the fourth book in the Westcott series, the Earl of Westcott having five daughters! Nor is this the first time a gentleman has posed as a servant in the Westcott household. April Kihlstrom uses that fact to ease the reactions of Rebecca's family to her apparent infatuation with a servant. However, she stretches believability when they are caught more than once alone together and Hugh isn't fired. The dialogue is sharp and the characters are well matched. And of course, there's one daughter to go! The Reluctant Thief will steal your time and attention from everything else once you pick it up! Beware the thief! Once you meet Hugh Rowland, you'll want to take him home as well! Lady Rebecca is a worthy heir to the Westcott sister ingenuity and flair! Linda Fitzner -- Copyright © 1998 Literary Times, Inc. All rights reserved -- From Literary Times
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INCLUDE A LITTLE BIT OF THEMSELVES INTO THEIR CHARACTERS, THAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A GOOD BOOK
AND ONE YOU JUST CAN`T PUT DOWN, THANKS MRS. KIHLSTROM , YOUR BOOKS ALWAYS MAKE ME FEEL GOOD (KIND
OF LIKE "SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE"DOES). THIS HEROINE IS SO SPUNKY AND KNOWS WHAT SHE WANTS, REDARDLESS
OF SOCIETY'S VIEWPOINT, SHE ALSO IS ENDOWED WITH A VERY KIND HEART,BUT CAN TURN TIGER IF NEED BE.
THE HERO IS A GOOD PERSON THAT JUST CAN`T TAKE ANYMORE HURT AND HUMILIATION. THOUGH THEY GO
THROUGH A LOT OF EVENTS, THAT MAKES THEM WHO THEY ARE IN THE END. I LOVE THESE BOOKS BECAUSE THEY
ARE VERY FUNNY, LOTS OF ACTION, A LITTLE BIT SAD AND SOME DRAMA. WHAT MORE COULD YOU ASK FOR. KEEP-EM
However, what is disappointing about this and the other book in the series I have read is the occasional errors Kihlstrom makes. She has certainly researched the Regency era, and English manners and dialogue, well - better than a number of other American Regency authors. This is what makes the inaccuracies quite so disappointing.
For instance, in this book there is a character called Sir Geoffrey Parker, whom Ms Kihlstrom refers to as Sir Parker throughout. Baronets' titles attach to the Christian name and not surname, and therefore the character would be Sir Geoffrey. This is not something which would have been very difficult for Ms Kihlstrom to ascertain.
The other mistake which jars is Ms Kihlstrom's use of some Americanisms in dialogue. I don't object to Americanisms in narrative; after all, she is an American writing for an American audience. But when she has English Regency characters saying things like 'gotten', or 'the both of us', it is so inaccurate and unbelievable that it distracts the reader's attention from the story. 'Gotten' is not, and has never been, used in British English, and so no Regency lady or gentleman would have used it. 'The both of us' is grammatically inaccurate as well as not being part of British vocabulary.
If Ms Kihlstrom could make a little more effort to avoid these mistakes, her books would certainly be considered aming the better few in American Regencies.