Lisa's email about the book she's seeking made me snort laugh.
I'm trying to find the first romance novel I ever read. I liked it
enough that I kept reading romances, but I think it was probably much
worse than I thought. I want to reread it…but I can't find it!
It's been bothering me for ages now. Please, can the bitchery help?
The heroine is an orphan/thief in historical London. She dreams of a
better life and spends her time practicing a refined accent and making
hats. She also has a brother.
The hero is rich, but he works – a lawyer maybe, or a doctor? His
best friend is a layabout who is waiting on his aunt to cough up her
Miss Thief goes out thieving one day, but things go bad and she ends
up in the hero's carriage by accident. He saves her life by not
turning her in because he thinks she's just a kid. He shoos her off,
but she's half in love. Plot stuff happens. At some point, her
brother convinces her to go pretend to be a prostitute so they can rob
the hero, which she objects to, but it works and they knock the poor
guy out and rob him blind. She ends up with his monogrammed watch.
At this point, I don't think they even know each other's names yet and
he doesn't have any idea that the “kid” and the prostitute are the
More stuff happens. Out of nowhere, some rich, eccentric lady decides
to buy all the heroine's hats, then invites her to move in and be a
lady. (I have NO idea why.) It turns out to be the layabout's rich
aunt; now, the hero and heroine officially meet (he doesn't know who
she is, -again-), court, etc, etc. I dimly remember a visit to the
theatre. He wants to marry her. Then the old lady dies and leaves
all her things to the heroine, which pisses off the layabout. He ends
up finding the watch and tells the hero, who of course is so angry he
has to go have sex with her. The heroine, not the dead aunt.
The sex scene horrified me, because I had this notion at the time that
romance novel sex scenes were flowery and lovey-dovey. Silly me.
It's basically: “But I'm a virgin!” “Hah, you're a whore.” “No,
really, I-” “Shut up.” Followed by her deciding: “I love him so much
that even though he hates me, and is hurting me, and he deserves to be
The One and I could never stand to be with anyone else. My heart, it
is broken.” Followed, of course, by “What's this hymen doing here?
This changes everything!” (The hymen was not external, by the way.)
More stuff happens. She ends up in prison and gets put on a prison
ship. The ship sinks within swimming distance of the city (convenient
and not explained), and she escapes and lives on the street in misery
(for surely she can never be loved, etc). One of her thief buddies
shows up and tries to attack her (there's some subplot with the
brother), but lo! The hero is in the neighborhood and he saves her.
Naturally, HEA. On Christmas, no less.
Oh, and for some reason I think the title might involve “Lady” or
“Rogue” or “Thief.” Maybe the heroine's name was Kat? And the cover
was dark blue? Help!
Hymens change everything, of course. So does practicing accents. Anyone recall this book?