She's a liar.
She's a con.
She's a thief.
And God help him, but he'll do anything to keep her safe.
Beautiful and conniving, maddening and brilliant, Esther is everything private detective Samuel Brass shouldn't want. Esther knows she's put herself in terrible danger, but nothing will stop her from making amends-not her family's enemies, not old fears, and certainly not the domineering, interfering, and undeniably handsome former officer of the Scotland Yard. Yet whenever he's near, Samuel makes her long for a life that can never be hers...and wish she were worthy of being saved.
Second in an exciting late Victorian romance series from a RITA Award nominee!
Thief Takers Series:
A Talent for Trickery, Book 1
A Gift for Guile, Book 2
Dangerous Deceit, Coming Soon
"From the first page, Johnson seizes readers' attention... Losing none of her witty dialogue or clever plotting, she pulls readers this way and that as the story swiftly turns from suspense to romance and back again."-RT Book Reviews on A Talent for Trickery
About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I really enjoyed Esther and Samuel's story. You don't have to have read the first book in the series to enjoy this one, but I think that you will enjoy it more with a little more history of the characters. I really liked Esther. She was on a mission and she wasn't going to let anyone or anything get in her way of accomplishing it. Samuel felt it was his duty to make sure that Esther didn't get into any trouble, which of course causes conflict between the two. The banter between these two was masterfully written by Johnson. I loved watching this mis-matched duo falling in love! I'm excited to read the next book in the series!!
A GIFT FOR GUILE is an entertaining story of redemption, with enjoyable and strong characters, great dialogue and a mystery to satisfy even the most dedicated mystery fan. My favorite thing about this story is the author's dedication to building the characters and the story. Esther Bales is facing an identity crisis and on a quest to make up for her past misdeeds but due to those misdeeds, London is not the safest place for her to be, so she has her very own personal escort in the form of her brother-in-law's closest friend. Sir Samuel Brass is a devotee of the law, having lived his life on the right side of it, enforcing it and his attraction to Esther is unexpected and unwelcome because she operates on the other side of the law, but he is determined to keep her safe while helping her complete her mission. But Esther's path to redemption lies in accepting herself, even the less than savory parts and watching her get to that place of acceptance was a really enjoyable process. Samuel has a good heart and best intentions but he's a bit clumsy in the delivery, often putting his foot in his mouth, but there is no doubt that he has Esther's best interests at heart. I liked that they actually took time to talk to each other and that they put in the work needed to build their relationship. In addition, there is enough mystery to get the heart pounding and a lot of humor to soften the explosions between them. One thing is sure: Samuel has his hands full with Esther and there is never a dull moment between them. A GIFT FOR GUILE has something for every reader and if you love strong characters, an engaging mystery and witty dialogue, then this is one book that should be on your reading list. Ms. Johnson is a new to me author but I really enjoyed her writing and will be looking forward to more from her. Disclaimer: I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
How have I never read anything from this author before? Must. Remedy. SOON. I absolutely adored everything about A Gift for Guile. Esther and Samuel were wonderful characters--definitely not perfect by any means, and boy did they have a talent for making the other one crazy!--but wow, were they absolutely perfect for each other. Their banter seriously had me giggling practically nonstop for pages at a time (thank goodness no one was around during my lunch break. I'm pretty sure they would have been speculating about my sanity. More than usual, anyway) and my ecopy has so. Many. Highlights. Really, it was getting ridiculous. :) (And oh, poor Samuel. The guy just couldn't get a gift that was truly for Esther--and he tried so hard! But when he finally does, boy does he! The guy's good...I guess that's why he's a detective, huh? ;)) The relationship angst was 100% believable, and nicely resolved in a way that felt natural. There was a good dollop of suspense thrown in--just enough to make one anxious, but it didn't go overboard. Really, the writing here was wonderfully balanced--I honestly couldn't think of any way the story could have been improved. A Gift for Guile clearly follows the events of book one, A Talent for Trickery , which are alluded to, but it worked just fine as a standalone. Esther and Samuel spend this entire book away from the other series characters, in fact, so really, starting with this book was not at all an issue. (But, yeah. I'm going to be reading book one ASAP. Because did I mention I can't believe I haven't read anything by Alissa Johnson before? Truly, what was I thinking?) Here's hoping there's more to come in this series! (There is at least one more sibling...maybe more--so there's hope!) Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.