Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
I’m always here for a thief/con artist romance rec & if it’s paired with an uptight lead: SOLD. Like with every other Beverly Jenkins book I’ve read To Catch A Raven has a standout, resourceful, & irrepressible heroine, an intriguing amount of historical detail & info, & a hero who goes “what just happened?!” when the heroine blazes into his life.
This book has an interesting premise: Raven Moreau & Braxton Steele must pretend to be husband & wife—& servants—to a South Carolinian Senator & his wife. Meanwhile they’re actually there to search for a stolen copy of the Declaration of Independence.
They’re not there by choice, either. Instead, they’ve been forced to engage in this dangerous plan by the Pinkertons, who are aware of the activities Raven & her family, & once-upon-a-time, Braxton’s father, are/were up to.
Fascinating layers abound in this book. Braxton is a wealthy, law-abiding tailor from Boston; Raven, an ex-convict who’s fiercely devoted to her family, frequently runs cons with the rest of the on-the-edge-of-a-respectable-life Moreaus in Jim Crow New Orleans.
Braxton doesn’t take to the con/heist life right away & that nicely builds up some tensions between the two leads.
As they travel throughout the South & then make their way North & Jenkins explores what their expectations are of each place—like, for example, how safe it’s expected to be for the Black leads—& the complicated people inhabiting each locale.
These “older” leads are fun to watch & there are many poignant moments too, like when Braxton—who isn’t accustomed to manual labor—takes on extra tasks like washing because he knows it will help Raven. He has a real tender, loving side, & so does Raven for him.
Really the only quibble I have is how Braxton’s almost engagement is incorporated into the story.
But overall, To Catch a Raven is lovely historical romance!
4⭐️. Out 08/23.
CWs: Jim Crow trains. Reference to human trafficking. Reference to attacks against Black people, especially in South Carolina. White supremacist parade. Miss Helen wants them to “pretend as if you weren’t” free before the war. Miss Helen’s husband, Aubrey, trashes the house they’re living in & their things. Reference to some of Braxton’s war experiences. Reference to death, including from yellow fever. Helen murders her husband.
Give me that HEA, please.
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