Whitechapel, 1888: Grace Hammer and her children live comfortably in Bell Lane, their home a little oasis in the squalor of London's East End. They make their living picking the pockets of wealthy strangers foolish enough to venture there. But Grace's history is about to catch up with her; out in the countryside Mr. Blunt rocks in his chair, vowing furious retribution. He has never forgotten his scarlet treasure, or the coquettish young woman who stole it from him.
"This first novel reads like early Dickens, with every character name aptly fitting its owner, and each scene piquantly described: Grace's sons line up at the door 'like a row of sparrows on a chimneystack,' and lovers are like 'mice in a newspaper hat, afloat on their own private sea.' Then there is the unforgettable Miss Spragg, who steals little children and fondles a severed ear tucked in her pocket.... [Sara] Stockbridge captures the mood of Dickensian London perfectly in this gripping debut."—Booklist (starred review)