Title: The Merchant and the Rogue (The Dread Penny Society #3)
Author: Sarah M. Eden
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Publisher: Shadow Mountain
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: August 17, 2021
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 freedom and an income, and while she is grateful for the stability it brings to her life, 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. But with no one to share his life with, 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 past experience that writers are never to be trusted, and Brogan has reason to suspect not everything at Vera’s print shop is aboveboard. When a growing criminal enterprise 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.
London, 1865: Vera Sorokina runs a print shop with her father. Though her father doesn’t like writers, she sells and reads the Penny Dreadful stories. Brogan Donnelly is a member of the secret Dread Penny Society, a group of writers who write Penny Dreadful stories and help those who need saving. Brogan had been questioning his membership in the group because he felt guilty about lying to his sister about it. The Dreadmaster gives Brogan permission to leave the group, so that he is no longer lying to his sister, and go investigate what is really going on at Vera’s print shop. Brogan works there under a pseudonym and must help Vera to figure out who is threatening her community.
This is another fun story in the Dread Penny series. Vera and Brogan were both immigrants with mysterious backgrounds. They both kept secrets, and they didn’t necessarily know everything that had happened in their pasts that led them both to London. Though they were from different cultures, Russian and Irish, their circumstances as immigrants to London drew them together.
One of my favourite parts of these books is that there are penny dreadful stories included throughout the novel. There are always two stories, one written by Mr. King, one of the best penny dreadful authors, and another by one of the protagonists. These stories relate to the main romance plot, but they’re also very entertaining in themselves. I really enjoy reading these stories within the novel.
The Merchant and the Rogue is a great Victorian novel. I hope there will be more in the series!
Thank you Shadow Mountain for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What to read next:
The Matchmaker’s Lonely Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen
Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore
Other books in the series:
Have you read The Merchant and the Rogue? What did you think of it?