Series: The Bow Street Runners #1
Published by Shiloh Run Press on 2015-01-01
Length: 322 pages
Reviewing Kindle from Kindle Unlimited
Reading Challenges: Beat the Backlist 2019
Place an unpolished lawman named Nicholas Brentwood as guardian over a spoiled, pompous beauty named Emily Payne and what do you get? More trouble than Brentwood bargains for. She is determined to find a husband this season. He just wants the large fee her father will pay him to help his ailing sister. After a series of dire mishaps, both their desires are thwarted, but each discovers that no matter what, God is in charge.
Brentwood’s Ward by Michelle Griep is the first in The Bow Street Runners that combines mystery with a touch of romance. While the series itself is based on a real profession and location in London during the late 1700s to mid-1800s, the characters and story are pure fiction. I found myself engrossed at times, missing meals to finish the book. Nicholas and Emily are from two different worlds, but compliment each other perfectly.
Nicholas Brentwood is a Bow Street Runner (think policeman or hired gun for the city/county), and he is good at what he does. When the magistrate gives him his new assignment, he is less than thrilled. He is to be a guardian for a young woman while her father is out of town. Raised on the streets having fought for everything he has, he prejudges Emily as a spoiled aristocrat. Nicholas is stern and unyielding, what he says goes. But he wasn’t counting on Emily.
Emily Payne is 23 at the opening of the story and has plans to find a husband during this social season. Her father leaving town on business and leaving her as the ward of a Bow Street Runner hinders her plans. She can be shallow at times which I found added to her character growth later on in the story. She’s loyal to those that she loves to a fault, and she is (as one friend describes) very “whimsical.” Emily acts before she thinks which gets her in all kinds of trouble with Mr. Brentwood.
I enjoyed the alternating points of view. It gives the reader insight onto the thoughts behind the actions of each character. This is especially important for Emily because her actions can come off as selfish when in reality the thought behind them is anything but.
The plot of the story revolves around why Mr. Payne leaves town and why he would hire Mr. Brentwood to protect Emily. With death around every corner, multiple kidnap attempts, and assaults, Emily keeps Nicholas on his toes. The author left me guessing right up to the end on what was happening which kept me engrossed long after I should have been in bed.
Overall I really enjoyed Nicholas and Emily’s story. I like the setting and the way Griep interweaves history with fiction. It was a fantastic trip to the past, one that I didn’t want to end.