This is an incredibly well-crafted book about an unusual subject for historical romance two con-artists who dont trust each other but manage to fall in love.
The book opens with our two swindlers on the same stagecoach in the 1880s. Grace Russell is dressed as a Catholic nun and Reuben Jones is the blind Spaniard sitting across from her. Reuben figures out Graces game quickly; it takes Sister Augustine longer to see Reubens grafter-side.
When they are relieved of their earnings during a stagecoach robbery, Reuben and Grace decide to escape before too many questions are asked. Sharing the horse of the one robber who was captured, they head off into the distance -- arguing.
The one thing they snag (while the robbery is taking place) is a small Chinese figurine that is part of a set of funereal art. This little sculpture is the key to the rest of the adventures in this story.
I just had to have a copy of this book; other historical romance readers mention it often on various sites. However this book didnt grab me. I spent time skimming to the next adventure. I didnt dislike the book it just seemed like a funny cartoon; great dialog and funny situations, but not very realistic. I was glad there was an epilogue; without it, I wouldnt have been convinced the couple would stay together.
Ive thought about this book for some time before completing a review; CROOKED HEARTS is an excellent title for an unusual book. My problem with this novel was that I watched the action without becoming emotionally involved.
Most of the historical romance I read seems to speak to the readers heart; this one did not. It is a highly literate, amusing tour de force by a gifted writer; it just didnt speak to me. That said, I still think the book deserves at least 4 stars; it is probably the best-crafted, breeziest, fun novel Ive read this year.
A sexy, rollicking ride through the gambling halls and sinful streets of 1880s San Francisco. When Grace meets a card-shark she's dressed as a nun and he a blind Spanish aristocrat, and he gets an eyeful when the pretty sister lifts her skirts to adjust the little derringer strapped to her thigh.
Wanted: Reuben Jones,Last seen masquerading as a blind Spanish aristocrate,he walks on the wrong side of the law-a card shark,a master of deception,and a gentleman thief with a shady past long dead buried and forgotten. Or so he thought...
Wanted Gace Russel: Last seen disguised as a pious Catholic nun,she has real habits that are quite another story... and heaven help any man who stands in her way.The loaded silver derringer strapped to her thigh is only the first warning that sister plays rough...
As two crooked hearts go Reuben and Grace are made for each other.But in the gambling dens and sinful backstreets of 1880's San Francisco,it's love-not larceny-that's about to become the most dangerous and delicious game they've ever played...