Title: A Thief Before Christmas
Series: Maids of Honor, #0.5
Author: Jennifer McGowan
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, November 2013
Source: bought a copy
Who better to steal a heart for Christmas than a thief? In this e-short story and prequel to Maid of Secrets, an actress plays matchmaker for two young lovers.
It’s December 1558 in England and a new Queen is about to be crowned, but thief and amateur actress Meg Fellowes and her Golden Rose acting troupe are focused on survival, not politics. In between performances of their newest play in the bustling town of Leeds, the troupe is picking the pockets of rich lords and ladies in preparation for their own ragtag Christmas.
At the end of each long day’s haul, the troupe’s spoils are divided up, with the useless bits cast aside. But on this particularly cold winter’s night, Meg notices two curious, sealed letters in the discard pile. Together with her roguish troupe master, Meg opens them and discovers they are love letters—never sent—between a merchant’s son and a landowner’s daughter, who do not know of their shared affection.
Meg resolves to give the two would-be sweethearts their most hoped-for Christmas wish by returning the letters to the pockets of the intended recipients, not the senders. Can Meg master the role of matchmaker in time for Christmas, or will the young lovers be forced to spend another holiday—and perhaps the rest of their lives—apart?
Meg Fellowes was one of my most favorite female characters in 2013 and when I saw this short prequel, I knew I had to get hold of a copy and devour it. It’s so much fun to be reconnected with Meg! I finally knew why she was so good at doing what she did – it’s really cute to see her imitate the haughty gestures of a snob and when she sliced through the ends of a woman’s wig and then pacified the wailing woman, I couldn’t help but chuckle and admire her quick thinking. I liked her view about love and even though she hadn’t given away her first kiss, she surely fancied somebody charming and handsome! It’s so wonderful to see kindness and generosity among the riches during the time of Christmas and it warmed my heart knowing the father cared about his son enough to pay a visit to the girl’s family. Meg certainly knew how to play her role as a matchmaker! With only ten short chapters, this is a quick-read. If you love historical fiction but haven’t read anything by McGowan, I urge you to check this one out. And my favorite line?
“The world could always use more love.”
~ from Chapter Five