Kay Hooper has written over 60 novels since 1981, when “Lady Thief” was first published. Impressively, Hooper was only twenty-two when she wrote this first novel, and has had a successful writing career ever since.
“Lady Thief” proves the old adage, “You can’t judge a book by its cover.” The front cover of the novel looks a bit outdated and cheesy, bringing to mind either a bad romance novel or a poorly-written historical fiction. “Lady Thief” is neither.
Hooper’s debut novel describes the life of Lady Jenny Courtenay, a twenty-year old living in Regency England. She has a younger half-sister who is desperately–and secretly–in love, an overbearing stepfather who its trying to line his pockets with his daughters’ dowries, and a mother who is too timid to speak up for either of her children.
However, Jenny is not a typical young lady of England. By day, Jenny is proper though fiery. By night, she transforms into the Cat, a notorious thief who holds up coaches of nobility, goes through their jewelry, and later returns the jewels.
Jenny’s life becomes more complicated when she holds up the handsome Duke of Spencer, who lights a fire in her heart that both arouses and frustrates her. When they meet again, his passionate kiss reminds her of all the unfulfilled wishes that she never believes she will be able to achieve.
When Jenny and her sister make a trip to London for their “coming out,” Jenny lives in fear that her dual identity will be revealed, a fear that is realized in the personage of Mr. Brummell, and later, the Duke himself. They both guess her hidden secret and learn why she poses as a common thief, willing to risk being hanged: she is searching for her father’s killer, who is also a traitor to England.
Between the hunt for the murderer, the burgeoning relationship between the Duke and Jenny, the shenanigans of the evil stepfather, and the gossip of the “who’s who” in London, “Lady Thief” is an interesting and fast-paced read.
Although Kay Hooper is known for writing romances, this novel seemed more mysterious and intriguing than flat-out romance. Nothing to squirm through or blush about here! “Lady Thief” would be a great pool-side or vacation read. It’s not a serious book, and it has a simple, easily readable style.
Kay Hooper will be in Winston-Salem on September 8, 2012, as part of the BOOKmarks Festival, which takes place downtown. BOOKmarks is a free annual one-day street festival that features discussions, readings, book signings, workshops, storytellings, performances, and demonstrations. More than 40 authors, chefs, and illustrators will be representing many different genres. There will also be reading-related exhibitors and food vendors, a Young Readers Central Area, and an on-site bookstore. BOOKmarks will be on Sixth and Trade Streets in the Downtown Arts District.
“Lady Thief” is available at the Forsyth County Public Library for check out. Unfortunately, it is not available in paperback at Barnes and Noble, but you can get it as a Nook Book. You can also look for her bestselling Bishop/Special Crimes Unit series. Her newest installment in the series, “Haven,” will be published next month.