And now back to our regular programming of historical romance! lol. The Merchant and the Rogue is the third book in Sarah M. Eden’s Dread Penny Society series and omg it might be my favorite book in the series so far.
Irishman. Russian woman. Explosions. Fighting. Love. Secrets. What more could you want?? (if you want a Cillian Murphy gif…stick with me)
As you scroll, make sure to check out the synopsis, my review, a special offer, a little bit about the author, and the other wonderful bloggers on this tour!
Alright, let’s do this!
The Merchant and the Rogue by Sarah M. Eden
Series: Book 3 in The Dread Penny Society
Genre: Historical Romance, Historical Mystery/Suspense
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing (August 17, 2021)
Length: 368 pages
Previous Books in the Series: The Lady and the Highwayman (2019) & The Gentleman and the Thief (2020)
Vera Sorokina loves reading the Penny Dreadfuls and immersing herself in tales of adventure, mystery, and romance. Her own days are filled with the often-mundane work of running the book and print shop she owns with her father. The shop offers her the freedom and income to employ and protect the poverty-stricken Londoners she’s come to care about, and it gives her father something to do other than long for their hometown of St. Petersburg. She is grateful for the stability in their lives, but she often feels lonely.
Brogan Donnelly was born and raised in Ireland, but has lived in London for several years, where he’s built a career as a Penny Dreadful writer. He has dedicated himself to the plight of the poor with the help of his sister. His membership in the secretive Dread Penny Society allows him to feel he isn’t entirely wasting his life, yet he feels dissatisfied. With no one to share his life with but his sister, he fears London will never truly feel like home.
Brogan and Vera’s paths cross, and the attraction is both immediate and ill-advised. Vera knows from experience that writers are never to be trusted, and Brogan has reason to suspect not everything at her print shop is aboveboard. When the growing criminal enterprise run by the elusive and violent Mastiff begins targeting their area of London, Brogan and Vera must work together to protect the community they’ve both grown to love. But that means they’ll need to learn to trust each other with dangerous secrets that have followed both of them from their home countries.
A Russian heroine and an Irish hero. It’s like I created this myself from a dream I had about Cillian Murphy lol. The fact that the book is also by a Sarah…it’s too much! I love it!
But let’s get to the story!
It all starts with Vera Sorokina who, along with her father, work at their book and print shop in London. She loves reading Penny Dreadfuls and purposely has them in the shop despite her father’s disapproval. She sells them to make money, because she loves them, and because they bring in the poor and homeless children of London into the store. She loves to talk to and sometimes help them if she can. It’s through the store that she meets Brogan Donnelly.
Although, to her, thats not his name. Brogan gets a job at the store as a cover for his undercover work for the Dread Penny Society. But being undercover isn’t the only reason he needs a fake name. Vera and her father are extremely mistrustful of writers (ok, valid lol) and if they identify him as the writer of Penny Dreadfuls, he won’t get very far in his investigation.
As for what he’s investigating…well, apparently, Vera’s father might have something to do with criminal activities and a possible conspiracy. The leader of the Society has tasked Brogan to do find out what’s going on. Brogan cannot for the life of him figure out why he got the job and hot one of his friends.
But he soon finds his footing at the print shop in no small part because of Vera’s fierceness and they become quite close.
Unfortunately, trouble comes to the neighborhood and not the kind Brogan was expecting. A gang is offering “protection” to the businesses in the neighborhood for a small fee. But when they come looking for more money and some stores can’t pay, they destroy those businesses. Stores are ransacked and lit on fire. The whole neighborhood soon becomes nervous and afraid of losing their livelihoods.
That’s when Vera and Brogan team up to do something about it.
Through these struggles (or maybe because of them), they get even closer, but Brogan is still keeping a secret and it’s only a matter of time before it comes out. Vera…is less than pleased.
I really enjoyed this story. Vera and Brogan are such good characters and I loved them separately as well as together. They’re both fighters with pasts they rather not speak about and damn, they just work together so well! Whether they’re in the shop, trying to find the perpetrator of the violence, or as partners in love, they have each other’s backs.
I also REALLY enjoyed the supporting characters. I read the second book in the series, The Gentleman and the Thief last year, so I knew some of Brogan’s friends and Ana from Book 2. It was wonderful to see them back, but I was most excited to see Brogan’s sister, Moirin. She is an absolute snark queen and an ultimate badass. Learning her and Brogan’s history was THE BEST. I’m hoping Moirin gets her own book soon. I think I know who her romantic interest would be based on hints in this book but….you never know.
I also loved all the kids that came into the shop. They were hilarious and stubborn and I really liked that neither Brogan or Vera talked down to them. They were respected as their own people and it was good to see.
OH, I almost forgot about the other story! Something Sarah M. Eden has done in each book in this series is mix in an actual Penny Dreadful in between the chapters about the characters. The story she weaved into this one is SO GOOD. It’s like a zoo/museum story and let’s just say, the animals aren’t what they seem.
The Merchant and the Rogue is such a fun, romantic, and thrilling story. If you love romances with a bit of suspense and mystery, you will LOVE this book. Definitely recommend!
Please help Sarah M. Eden get her latest novel, THE MERCHANT AND THE ROGUE, to hit the New York Times best-seller list by purchasing a copy between August 15-22, 2021.
Everyone who submits a copy of their receipt and fills out the form during the week of August 15-22 will receive The Merchant and the Rogue – Swag Bundle. Supplies are limited, so act today. Please visit the Swag Bundle webpage for details.
About the Author
Sarah M. Eden is the author of critically acclaimed and award-winning Proper Romance series novels including The Lady and the Highwayman and Ashes on the Moor. Combining her passion for history and an affinity for love stories, Sarah crafts smart, witty characters and heartfelt romances. She happily spends hours perusing the reference shelves of her local library and dreams of one day traveling to all the places she reads about.
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