Published by Emily Larkin on April 21st 2017
Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Lady by day, Robin Hood by night...
Arabella Knightley is an earl’s granddaughter, but it’s common knowledge that she spent her early years in London’s gutters. What the ton doesn’t know is that while Arabella acts the perfect young lady by day, at night she plays Robin Hood, stealing from the wealthy to give to the poor.
Adam St. Just is one of Society’s most sought after bachelors. He’s also the man responsible for Arabella Knightley’s nickname: Miss Smell o’ Gutters—a mistake he regrets, but can never erase.
Bored by polite society, Adam sets out to unmask the elusive thief ... but he’s not prepared for what he discovers.
(My Lady Thief was originally published as The Unmasking of a Lady, by Emily May.)
Tell us a little bit about My Lady Thief.
My Lady Thief is a Regency romance with a strong Robin Hood element. Or perhaps I should say, Robyn Hood, since it’s the heroine who has the secret identity!
This is an enemies-to-lovers romance, so there’s quite a bit of humor as the characters spar verbally, there’s adventure as the heroine rights wrongs as the altruistic thief ‘Tom’ and the hero pursues Tom, and there’s also a glimpse of the dark underbelly of Regency society.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
I enjoyed lots of things about writing this book! The banter, the cat burglary scenes, the scenes in the slums, but I think the thing I liked most was Adam St. Just’s transformation from snob to hero. He has quite a character arc to get through before the end of the book!
What type of scenes are your favorite to write?
I think . . . the action scenes. I love those heart-in-your-throat moments that are full of danger and adrenalin. But I also really enjoyed writing the comic scenes in this book. And Lord Revelstoke? I love him. He will definitely get a book of his own!
Can you tell us a little bit about what you’re working on now?
My Lady Thief was the catalyst to a whole new series, so I’m working on that. It’s called the Baleful Godmother series, and it incorporates all the elements that I love so much about My Lady Thief—plus a little something extra.
To paraphrase one of my readers, the Baleful Godmother series is about heroines with agency (i.e. heroines who do things). There’s usually an element of adventure/mystery/danger, plus Regency settings that stretch from the ballrooms to the slums, plus . . . a baleful faerie godmother. (Yes, I know, that last element is a little unusual.)
The first book in the series, Unmasking Miss Appleby, is currently free on all platforms and has had 100 000 downloads, so I think readers are enjoying it!
Adam grimly surveyed the far corner of the ballroom. His sister sat alongside Arabella Knightley, as she had for the past fifteen minutes.
They made a pleasing tableau, dark and fair, their heads bent together as they talked, Miss Knightley’s gown of deep rose-pink perfectly complementing his sister’s white satin.
Adam gritted his teeth. He strode around the ballroom, watching as Grace said something and Miss Knightley replied—and his aunt, Seraphina Mexted, sat placidly alongside, nodding and smiling and making no attempt to shoo Miss Knightley away.
Grace lifted her head and laughed.
Adam’s stride faltered. Arabella Knightley had made Grace laugh. In fact, now that he observed more closely, his sister’s face was bright with amusement.
She looks happy.
Arabella Knightley had accomplished, in fifteen minutes, what he had been trying—and failing—to do for months. How in Hades had she done it? And far more importantly, why?
Miss Knightley looked up as he approached. Her coloring showed her French blood—hair and eyes so dark they were almost black—but the soft dent in her chin, as if someone had laid a fingertip there at her birth, proclaimed her as coming from a long line of Knightleys.
His eyes catalogued her features—the elegant cheekbones, the dark eyes, the soft mouth—and his pulse gave a kick. It was one of the things that annoyed him most about Arabella Knightley: that he was so strongly attracted to her. The second most annoying thing was the stab of guilt—as familiar as the attraction—that always accompanied sight of her.
Adam bowed. “Miss Knightley, what a pleasure to see you here this evening.”
Her eyebrows rose. “Truly?” Her voice was light and amused, disbelieving.
Adam clenched his jaw. This was the third thing that annoyed him most about Miss Knightley: her manner.
Arabella Knightley turned to Grace and smiled. “I must go. My grandmother will be wanting supper soon.”
Adam stepped back as she took leave of his sister and aunt. The rose-pink gown made her skin appear creamier and the dark ringlets more glossily black. A striking young woman, Miss Knightley, with her high cheekbones and dark eyes. And an extremely wealthy one, too. But no man of birth and breeding would choose to marry her—unless his need for a fortune outweighed everything else.
She turned to him. “Good evening, Mr. St. Just.” Cool amusement still glimmered in her eyes.
Adam gritted his teeth and bowed again. His gaze followed her. Miss Knightley’s figure was slender and her height scarcely more than five foot—and yet she had presence. It was in her carriage, in the way she held her head. She was perfectly at home in the crowded ballroom, utterly confident, unconcerned by the glances she drew.
Adam turned to his aunt. “Aunt Seraphina, how could you allow―”
“I like her,” Aunt Seraphina said placidly. “Seems a very intelligent girl.”
Adam blinked, slightly taken aback.
“I like her, too,” Grace said. “Adam, may I invite her―”
“No. Being seen in her company will harm your reputation. Miss Knightley is not good ton.”
“I know,” said Grace. “She spent part of her childhood in the slums. Her mother was a . . . a . . .” She groped for a euphemism, and then gave up. “But I like her. I want to be friends with her.”
Over my dead body.
“Shall we leave?” Adam said, changing the subject. “It’s almost midnight and we’ve a long journey tomorrow.” To Sussex, where there’d be no Arabella Knightley.
He began to feel more cheerful.
“I’ve decided to stay in London,” Grace said.
Adam raised his eyebrows. “You have?”
“Yes,” Grace said. “This is my first Season, and I’m going to enjoy it.”
Emily is giving away two (2) digital copies of My Lady Thief (download via BookFunnel, open to anyone in the world)
She is curious…
What’s your favorite enemies-to-lovers romance? Book, TV, or film. (Mine is Buffy and Spike.)
~~Reviewed by Mary~~
It’s not everyday that I discover a new author full of talent, creating characters with passion, depth, intelligence, and a great sense of humor.
However, the back blurb made the hero, Adam St.Just, to sound more rakish than he actually is, which is another reason why I adore him so much.
Lady Arabella Knightley is unlike any heroine I’ve ever read. She’s a born and bred lady, granddaughter to an earl, yet she has lived in the London slums with her mother, and as such made the subject of much dislike by polite society. It only got worse when Adam St.Just insulted her six years ago, resulting in her having a long-lasting moniker of “Miss Smell O’Gutters.” Since then, she has held her head up and refused to reveal her vulnerability. Behind her lady facade, Arabella is a Robin Hood figure who punishes ton members who have hurt others by stealing their jewelry under the pseudonym Tom, and donating that money to a school for destitute girls.
As she helps the victims of ruthless gossipmongers, befriending Grace St.Just, she crosses path with Adam, and he, initially wary of her intentions, comes to admire her honesty, bravery, intelligence, and beauty, while holding an obsession with finding Tom.
What drew me to this story was the characters. They are both so wonderful. Adam initially came out as overbearing and rude, but he redeems himself quite nicely in the story trying to win Arabella’s love. Arabella was my favorite, as she embodies the courage of historical heroines.
I wish Mrs. May would come out with more books because after this one, I’m dying to read more.
Update: This is a great historical romance…and LOL, so my grammar was quite bad back in 2012, it seems!