I've read several of Lorraine Heath's books following a group of former pickpockets who find themselves in various ways among the aristocracy of Victorian London. Surrender to the Devil is perhaps the one I have enjoyed the most, with hero and heroine both interesting and appealing characters.
Frannie Darling has made a life for herself working as a bookkeeper
while also running an orphanage. Her brothers-in-crime from her youth take care of her and are consequently concerned when the new Duke of Greystone expresses interest in her. Not as a wife, of course - she's a commoner - but as a mistress.
Frannie finds herself unexpectedly tempted by the duke's offer. As she gets to know him better, she discovers that he isn't the selfish wastrel she might have thought; he cares for the orphans
whom she has rescued - and for her. The duke has a secret, though, and he knows there's no future for them together - but does Frannie know that, and can she live without him?
Surrender to the Devil includes the darker parts of London that are often glossed over in books about the aristocracy.
We learn of the life of child pickpockets, of women forced into prostitution, and of murders unsolved.
However, the overall tenor of this novel is positive and bright - that Frannie and others can make a difference
- and the central love story is entirely believable and encouraging. This is a book to enjoy, and the future happiness of the central characters