cover image To Catch a Raven

To Catch a Raven

Beverly Jenkins. Avon, $8.99 mass market (256p) ISBN 978-0-06-324322-4

A con artist and a tailor join forces to retrieve a stolen copy of the Declaration of Independence in Jenkins’s characteristically brilliant finale to the Women Who Dare series (after Wild Rain), which returns to post–Civil War America and introduces a new pair of bold Black protagonists whom readers will love. The Pinkerton Detective Agency recruits New Orleans scammer Raven Moreau and Boston businessman Braxton Steele to aide in its latest investigation, threatening false imprisonment if the unlikely duo fails to comply. These strangers must go undercover as husband-and-wife domestic servants to a former Confederate soldier suspected of the theft. Though both start out harshly judgmental of their preconceived notions of the other, their fake marriage and efforts to crack the case soon lead to deep conversations, mutual understanding, and passion. Meanwhile, in an equally swoonworthy subplot, Raven’s mother and Braxton’s father, former lovers themselves, rekindle their old romance. As ever, Jenkins makes no bones about the difficulties facing Black Americans during the Reconstruction, but neither does she overemphasize hardship and trauma, keeping the spotlight firmly on Black love, joy, and triumph. The heat between Raven and Braxton is palpable and the twisty mystery keeps the pages flying. Fans will be sad to see the end of this outstanding series. Agent: Nancy Yost, Nancy Yost Literary. (Aug.)