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To begin, I read this book in one night -- with all the things that are happening in my life, that's a big deal for me, because it usually takes me a week to finish one book.
Sarah Pevensey's father arranged a marriage for her with St. John Sutcliffe, Viscount Fairfax, and heir to the Marquess of Estley -- after two weeks of married life, Sarah still isn't convinced that she and St. John are a good fit. She worries about her future with St. John's coldness and indifference, but her marital problems are small compared to the problems that face her when she was found in a compromising position with another man during the ball to celebrate their marriage, and then being accused of stealing the Sutcliffe Family sapphires.
Believing her family had turned their backs on her, and believing her new mother-in-law, Sarah agrees to Lady Estley's plan to disappear from St. John's life.
It's three years later, and Sarah, as the Widow Fairfax has lived a quiet and comfortable life in the small village of Haverhythe -- she doesn't know that her husband fought a duel for her, and believing he had killed Captain Brice, the man who was with Sarah that fateful evening, quickly left the country and set off for the West Indies.
But St. John is back, and, when he discovers that his wife had not died (as his family had told him), sets out to find her -- intending to conclude the unfinished business between them. He wants to discover what happened to her that night, and what happened to his family's sapphires.
It's a strange reunion for our estranged couple who never wanted to be married to each other, but I have to admire St. John's determination to honor his marriage vows, even when Sarah offers him a way out. It's one of the many questions that the author addresses in her story: how do you convince two married people in an arranged marriage that there is a happily-ever-after for them? Would Sarah's perceived indiscretion matter? Would the missing sapphire necklace matter? Should they?
Their first foray into their marriage didn't start off well, but Sarah and St. John have an opportunity to try again -- but, can they build a new relationship on a foundation of unanswered questions? It doesn't help that Sarah never gives St. John a direct answer, but, instead, constantly challenges his faith in her by letting him arrive to his own conclusions based on what he observes of her.
This is a novel that has a lot of twists and surprises, but none of them are unexpected -- the author does a wonderful job of leaving enough hints and clues, so that we, too, can come to a our own conclusion about who is/are responsible for the tangle that Sarah and St. John find themselves in.
It's truly a compelling read from beginning to end.
To Kiss a Thief is Book 1 in Susanna Craig's Runaway Desires series and her debut novel. To find out more about Susanna Craig and her books, click below:
Disclosure: I received this ARC via Netgalley. Thank you to Susanna Craig and Lyrical Press for the opportunity. Yes, this is an honest review.