The heroine of my new historical novel, EARLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN, isn’t your typical Regency heroine. Marlowe is a thief who grew up in the slums of London and runs with a gang called the Covent Garden Cubs. “Cub” is a slang term for a young thief.
When she’s suddenly mistaken for the long lost daughter of a marquess, she has a lot to learn in order to fit in with her “betters.” But what Marlowe learns is that sometimes street smarts are good for more than just survival. In fact, those lessons she learned on the street, come in handy when she’s introduced into Society.
Lesson #1: Trust no one.
Growing up in the rookery of Covent Garden, Marlowe quickly learned not to trust anyone. One false move, and she could end up with a knife in her back. Literally. Even the Bow Street Runners, the police of the era, weren’t above using unsuspecting cubs for financial gain and then abandoning them to face time in prison or hang for their crimes.
So when Marlowe meets the Earl of Dane, she doesn’t trust him or anyone in his family. Dane might claim to want to help her, but she can’t know his true motives. She’s always watching her back, which comes in handy when the crime lord who leads her gang comes looking for her. Then it’s Marlowe who has to make a choice between betraying a friend or trusting someone besides herself.
Lesson #2: Never pass up a meal.
Food was scarce in the slums of Covent Garden, and Marlowe grew up having to either steal food or the coin to buy it. So when Marlowe has breakfast in Derring House, Dane’s swanky London town house, she is overwhelmed by the amount and variety of food offered to her. Not only does she stash some in her pockets for later, she eats until she wants to burst. She never knows when another meal is coming.
Food definitely holds Marlowe’s attention, and it’s while she’s eyeing a table of food that she first spots trouble coming her way in the form of the Dowager Countess of Dane. A woman who deigns to sip only weak tea and passes up clotted cream must be an enemy.
Lesson #3: Watch and learn.
Marlowe might not know how to behave in Polite Society, but she’s a quick learner. She’s learned to be a consummate actress and can ape her betters flawlessly. When Marlowe is obliged to attend a duchess’s ball, her acting skills see her through the morass of unfamiliar social rules.
I loved writing about Marlowe because I am so not street smart. I wouldn’t have lasted the day in Covent Garden. But I have other smarts, like getting my preschooler to bed in under 30 minutes or quoting large portions of Star Wars verbatim. What are you smart about?
About EARLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN
His heart may be the last thing she ever steals…
Marlowe is a pickpocket, a housebreaker-and a better actress than any professional on the stage. She runs with the Covent Garden Cubs, a gang of thieves living in the slums of London’s Seven Dials. It’s a fierce life, and Marlowe has a hard outer shell. But when she’s alone, she allows herself to think of a time before-a dimly remembered life when she was called Elizabeth.
Maxwell, Lord Dane, is intrigued when his brother, a hired investigator, ropes him into his investigation of the fiercely beautiful hellion. He teaches her to navigate the social morass of the ton, but Marlowe will not escape so easily. Instead, Dane is drawn into her dangerous world, where the student becomes the teacher and love is the greatest risk of all.
About Shana Galen
Shana Galen is the bestselling author of passionate Regency romps, including the RT Reviewers’ Choice THE MAKING OF A GENTLEMAN. Kirkus says of her books, “The road to happily-ever-after is intense, conflicted, suspenseful and fun,” and RT Bookreviews calls her books ” lighthearted yet poignant, humorous yet touching.” She taught English at the middle and high school level off and on for eleven years. Most of those years were spent working in Houston’s inner city. Now she writes full time. She’s happily married and has a daughter who is most definitely a romance heroine in the making. Shana loves to hear from readers, so send her an email or see what she’s up to daily on Facebook and Twitter. Visit her website and Goodreads page for more information.