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Saturday, January 30, 2021
About the Book
Book: The Thief of Blackfriars Lane
Author: Michelle Griep
Genre: Christian historical
There’s Often a Fine Line Between a Criminal and a Saint
Constable Jackson Forge intends to make the world safer, or at least the streets of Victorian London. But that’s Kit Turner’s domain, a swindler who runs a crew that acquires money the old-fashioned way—conning the rich to give to the poor. When a local cab driver goes missing, Jackson is tasked with finding the man, and the only way to do that is by enlisting Kit’s help. If Jackson doesn’t find the cabby, he’ll be fired. If Kit doesn’t help Jackson, he’ll arrest her for thievery. Yet neither of them realize those are the least of their problems.
Michelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the Christy Award-winning author of historical romances: A Tale of Two Hearts, The Captured Bride, The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, and Gallimore, but also leaped the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest
More from Michelle
Zootopia in Victorian London
I admit it. I like kid’s movies. You know, the animated sort that entertain both young and old alike. One of my favorites is Zootopia, a rollicking adventure about a bunny whose dream it is to be a police officer and make the streets of the big city safe for all animals. In fact, I loved it so much that I thought why not set it in Victorian London?
So I did.
And that’s what The Thief of Blackfriars Lane is all about, but that meant I had to do a little digging into the history of police force of the late 1800’s. Here’s what I learned…
The Metropolitan Police (founded in 1829 by Robert Peel) was composed mostly of young men, many of whom were recruited from rural areas. Few were from London, the philosophy being that they would thus be free from local patronage and influence.
It is a bit of an anomaly that hero Jackson Forge and his friend, Officer Baggett, carry a sidearm. Some did, but most relied on truncheons. It was up to the officer. Revolvers were usually only supplied after the death of a police officer by an armed criminal, at the discretion of the Divisional Officer, or if a constable requested to use one during night duty. In 1884, after the deaths of several police officers, the Home Office ordered nearly a thousand revolvers from Webley & Scott to be issued to branches of the London police. . .which is where I got the idea of a shipment of guns for the villain to attempt to steal.
Police detectives were recruited from within the ranks of existing uniformed officers. There were actually women on the force at the time, employed as police matrons. But these were behind-the-scenes workers, tasked with guarding women and children. If my heroine, Kit, were to be out in public, serving as Jackson’s assistant, she’d have to keep her job secret. The first female police officer wasn’t seen on the streets until 1919.
And so, armed with that information, I wrote the adventures of not a police bunny and a con artist fox, but of Jackson Forge, a fresh-faced constable, and his thorn in the side, swindler Kit Turner. Snatch up your own copy and enjoy a visit to Victorian London!
This has been an adventure that I didn’t want to end. The author does a great job of exploring London during Victorian times. I loved feeling like I was there and watching as pickpockets scurried from one person to another. Kit was fascinating and funny to read about. She sure doesn’t seem intimidated by the Constable Jackson.
Jackson I think could be over his head as he tries to prove himself worthy to uphold the law. When he and Kit join forces to find a missing person, shenanigans abound. I did laugh in several places as Kit outsmarts Jackson. The twists in the story are just enough to keep readers guessing. The most endearing quality Kit has is her heart for those less fortunate. She goes out of her way to help them although it may not always be within the law. Her heart is in the right place, she just needs to refocus herself on what is right and wrong.
Jackson sometimes irritated me because he didn’t seem to have it all together. I’m not sure he is cut out for the job as a Constable. As they both work together Kit and Jackson forge a friendship. I began to wonder if there was more feelings they weren’t sharing about each other. The adventure is fun and full of danger as they two try to find the missing man. There is a great theme of faith in the story and I liked seeing how one character found a relationship with God. This is one of the author’s best stories to date.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.