M.E. Meegs is a fictional character who writes about the adventures of her friend and/or enemy (does it make sense at all?).
The story starts with a strong Dickens vibe; somehow it reminds me of Oliver Twist in spirit: Mrs. Biddle is a poor young single mother in a cheap hotel with practically no money to support herself and her baby... If you think you know where it goes, you are wrong. The moment the poor mother leave the hotel the story takes a completely unexpected turn. Let me just quote a part of the book description (very appropriate one, too): In the dank attic room of a squalid inn on the north coast of France, a young and penniless American woman, only recently recovered from a difficult birth, yearns for home. May God help those who stand in her way...
I mentioned that I had no idea what to expect from this book; I had some vague notion that it was an over-the-top historic romance. I was pleasantly surprised as it turned out to be a very easy over-the-top read in spirit of classic stories from The Gentle Grafter collection by O. Henry. This is a fun read which while occasionally slows down is never boring and I was always curious about what would happen next. The slowdowns are mostly due to M.E. Meegs by getting in the way of her own story.
A group of con artists try to out-con each other and everybody else; the best and the most devious ones would win. The closest thing I could think of was a classic Italian comedy called - unsurprisingly - The Con Artists (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Con_Artists).
I can also give you one hint without spoiling much: Mrs. Biddle is very competent when it comes to getting what she wants, by using any means necessary.
All the con artists in question have no trace of conscience whatsoever and as such it seems hard to root for any of them initially. To my complete surprise some grew on me and I found myself caring about them - enough to wish their side would win.
I usually try to say something witty and funny in my reviews, but in this case I let the book do it for me. The slow parts I mentioned above are the only reason for 4 stars instead of 5. I look forward to reading next installment of Mrs. Biddle adventures written by the new and promising author M.E. Meegs.