by Sarah M. Eden
Publisher : Shadow Mountain (August 17, 2021)
Language : English
Paperback : 368 pages
ISBN-10 : 1629728519
ISBN-13 : 978-1629728513
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 past 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.
I’ll admit that a secret society of vigilante Penny Dreadful writers during the Victorian era sounded a little strange to me when I first started reading this series, but now I want to be a member! Sarah Eden can write so many different genres and due to her immense talent and painstaking research, I find myself immersed in every story.
The Merchant and the Rogue is different from the previous in the series because Brogan Donnelly has left the Dread Penny Society because he no longer wanted to lie to his sister, and because the Dread Penny Master wanted him to go rogue on a case involving a Russian ambassador in order to find out some information. He ends up working at a print shop where Russian Vera Sorokina and her father also sell penny dreadfuls, so he has to hide his identity.
The story takes on the same format as the previous in the series where there are installments of penny dreadfuls at the end of some of the chapters. These ones are written by Brogan and Mr King. Brogan’s stories are very unique. Because of the dreadfuls, there are more characters to keep track of, but I really like the addition of them.
There are some lovable kids from the street, and I instantly adored Olly and Liquorice. I would love to know where Eden gets the names for her street kids.
Readers not only get to know the main characters, but there are always side characters you love and hope to see again. Brogan’s sister is a force to be reckoned with, and I hope she gets her own story. I also am looking forward to learning more about Stone. So many characters are intriguing.
This series is so unique and each of the penny dreadfuls are fascinating as well. I love the characters, and I loved the mystery. I can’t wait to read more from this series.