by Julie Anne Long

April 2005
ISBN: 0-446-61426-2
Reviewer Graphic Button Warner Books
Mass Market Paperback

Despite being a brilliant barrister, Gideon Cole isn’t a wealthy one, partly due to the debts he’d inherited and some as a result of his own altruistic nature. As a result, Lady Constance, the reigning society beauty whom he’s courting assiduously, won’t seriously consider him as a suitor.

By chance, one day Gideon rescues a beautiful young pickpocket, Lily and hits upon an ingenious idea. He decides to take her to his uncle’s country estate. There he plans to train her to act as a lady, then introduce her new and hopefully improved self to society as his friend’s cousin and in the process make Constance so jealous that she’ll agree to marry him. Everything seems to be going according to plan…except, Lily.

With her sleek beauty, caring ways and a voice as seductive as a courtesan’s, Lily effortlessly charms everyone in the countryside including Gideon’s previously reclusive uncle. A suspicious Gideon won’t admit to falling under her spell himself, even as a bitter battle rages between his heart and his head. Meanwhile, Lily too has secrets of her own and they don’t involve falling in love with a blackmailing barrister.

To discover how this witty, amusing and romantic war of the sexes concludes, read the ever-entertaining Julie Anne Long’s “To Love a Thief” - a story which will surely remind readers irresistibly of the movie “My Fair Lady”. Even Lily’s sister, Anne adds her own childish charm to the story.

Lily’s a thief not by choice but as a result of circumstances, since she and her younger sister were orphaned at a young age. She isn’t happy being subjected to Gideon’s blackmail, especially since in the process she falls for him and comes to realize the vastness of the social gulf separating them. Gideon at first comes across as overtly ambitious but who can fault his aspirations upon learning the truth about his father’s debts. The barrister inside him denies his growing feelings for this thief, but then, can Love ever be denied?

Julie Anne Long proves her talent isn’t a flash in the pan with this second resounding success of a novel. Bringing a by-gone historical era into vivid life through a story that has the power to make readers laugh and cry and keep them engrossed despite a somewhat predictable storyline takes a lot of talent and Ms. Long certainly has more than enough of that.

Reviewed in July 2005 by Rashmi.

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