I absolutely love historical fiction and read a lot of it; I love to learn history this way. I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller and non-fiction science.
Fifteen year old Tommy Arthur has had an interesting few years. After his grandfather lost their family inheritance, the Arthur family was left destitute and Tommy fled to the prairie to survive. Now, he is back in Des Moines with his mother and sisters, having found housing with the independent business woman Violet Pendergrass, an anomaly in 1892. Tommy tries his best to earn money for the family, working odd jobs selling prayers for the Reverend, being a bell boy at a hotel and doing some things for Miss Pendergrass. As much as Tommy wants to be a good person, help his family and save money for their future, but it seems everybody else would like to see him fail. The Reverend asks him to steal trinkets from the houses that he delivers prayers to, Miss Pendergrass isn't forthcoming with what exactly the women in her house are up to and Tommy easily falls into the comforts of drink and gambling. When Tommy's little sister, Yale is taken to a house for imbeciles he knows that it is time to be a man and help his family. Luckily, Tommy has family and friends who still believe in him and know that he is a good person.
The Thief's Heart is a story of struggle and survival in the late 19th century. This is the 4th book in The Letter series and while I could tell that a lot had happened before this book began, I did not feel lost at all. I did find myself wrapped up in Tommy's strife and constant attempts to make his and his family's life better. I had a lot of sympathy for Tommy as his successes were cut down and attempts to right wrongs were squashed by miscommunication or circumstance and found myself frustrated for him. The love of family and friends stood out for me. Tommy is willing to sacrifice, steal and work unsavory jobs in order to help, but he is slow to see how other's are trying to help him. One of the friendships and characters that I absolutely adored was Frank the crow, a perfect companion as well as an addition of humor. Along with Frank, Pearl Riverside's character adds a lightness to balance Tommy's edge with her honest and strong personality as well as her ability to rebound from many situations. As a lover of historical fiction, The Thief's Heart is a perfect read for me, bringing me back to the late nineteenth century in the midwest. I enjoy Kathleen Shoop's seamless addition of touches of magic throughout the story to create hope, wonder and whimsy.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.