September 21, 2013

Book review: Montmorency: Thief, Liar, Gentleman? by Eleanor Updale

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When a petty thief falls through a glass roof while fleeing from the police, it should have been the death of him. Instead, it marks the beginning of a whole new life. Soon he has become the most successful -- and elusive -- burglar in Victorian London, plotting daring raids and using London's new sewer system to escape. He adopts a dual existence to fit his new lifestyle, taking on the roles of a respectable, wealthy gentleman named Montmorency and his corrupt servant, Scarper.

In Victorian London, after his life is saved by a young physician, a thief utilizes the knowledge he gains in prison and from the scientific lectures he attends as the physician's case study exhibit to create a new, highly successful, double life for himself.

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

We're getting near the end of the alphabet for my Authors A to Z reading challenge, and there are going to be some letters where I'll have difficulty finding authors with last names that begin with them. The letter U is one of them. The only author I know of whose last name begins with U is John Updike, and I have no particular desire to read his books. So instead, I went with someone I'd never heard of, Eleanor Updale.

Montmorency turned out to be an entertaining book. It was fun to read about the transformation of the petty thief, whose real name is never revealed, into the high class gentleman named Montmorency and his servant Scarper. The idea may seem absurd at first, but with the way that the author described the steps involved, you almost believe that it can happen at that time in history. The details made sense to me as well as being engaging.

My only complaint with the book is that it reads too much like a biography instead of like a novel. There wasn't enough tension in the plot. Every obstacle that Montmorency encountered was easily solved within a chapter, so there was never any sense of a larger danger to his endeavors. Aside from that, I found the book to be a pleasant surprise and would recommend it to other readers.

I read this book as part of the Authors A to Z reading challenge. Next up: Heir Apparent by Vivian Vande Velde.

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