The Lion's Courtship by Annelie Wendeberg
The Lion's Courtship is a dark, gritty mystery/thriller/romance. The romance component of the story builds gradually until the very end of the story. This story is also very graphic. There is a very disturbing abortion scene. If that sort of thing bothers you, don't read this book. Honestly, once I realized what the scene was I skipped it. I didn't think it would make the story better for me and I think I made the right decision. But, even with skipping that one section, the whole story takes place in the slums of London during the late 1800's. So keep that in mind.
I was captured by the relationship that evolves and developes between the main character, Anna, who mascarades as a male doctor and Garrett, a thief that is on the brink of starvation constantly. Starvation is a constant theme in this story because of where and when this story takes place.
Even with the graphic nature of the story, this is one of the better books I've read this year. I couldn't put it down.
As soon as I finished it I ordered the first book in the trilogy. So far I'm not wowed like I was with the prequel, but we'll see. I'm going to finish it before deciding whether or not to buy the other two books in this series.