This review is based on a complimentary book I received from NetGalley. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.A Lady in Disguise by Sandra Byrd
Series: Daughters of Hampshire #3
Genres: Christian, Historical Fiction
Release Date: March 21, 2017
Publisher: Howard Books
Format: ARC, E-book
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Book Depository ◊ Google Play ◊ Kobo ◊ IndieBound
In this intriguing novel of romance, mystery, and clever disguise set in Victorian England, a young woman investigates the murder of her own father.
After the mysterious death of her father, Miss Gillian Young takes a new job as the principal costume designer at the renowned Drury Lane Theatre Royal. But while she remembers her father as a kind, well-respected man of the Police Force, clues she uncovers indicate he’d been living a double life: a haunting photograph of a young woman; train stubs for secret trips just before his death; and a receipt for a large sum of money. Are these items evidence of her father’s guilty secrets? His longtime police partner thinks so.
Then Gillian meets the dashing Viscount Thomas Lockwood. Their attraction is instant and inescapable. As their romantic involvement grows, Gillian begins to suspect even Lockwood’s motives. Does Lord Lockwood truly love her? Or is his interest a front for the desire to own her newly inherited property? And what should she make of her friend’s suggestion that Lockwood or men like him were involved in the murder of her father?
Soon Gillian is convinced that her father has left evidence somewhere that can prove his innocence and reveal the guilty party. But someone wants to stop her from discovering it. The closer she comes to uncovering it, the more menacing her opposition grows. With her life on the line, Gillian takes on an ingenious disguise and takes on the role of a lifetime to reveal the true killer—before it’s too late both for her and for those that she loves.
While reading the synopsis, I thought that the character of Miss Gillian Young was going to be sleuthing out clues to her father’s death. Something more along the lines of a female Sherlock Holmes. The investigation was nothing like that. Mostly it is Gillian asking questions to the police and others in hopes of learning something substantial. There is danger that seems to follow her around and the suspense is good. I definitely felt myself being worried for her on occasion.
The menace that permeated throughout this story was superb! From the start, you just feel that she is in danger every minute and the circumstances surrounding her father’s death were ominous. There were many pieces of evidence or accusations that were being brought to light and it was hard to tell if he was a good man or had become a crooked cop. Gillian believed in her Father when no one else would and when even she started to doubt his integrity she was honor bound to follow the clues to the end in order to find the truth of the matter.
Being Christian fiction there is much discussion about well-being of others, doing good deeds, and supporting organizations that give help to the poor. A portion of this story is woven along those lines. There are moments of silent prayers and beseeching God for protection. It is not all roses and doves though. There is a nice underlying message and a betrayal that even made me disgusted with that character.
I really enjoyed that Gillian’s character was a seamstress who made no apologies for her choices. She was proud of her work and although she wanted someone in her life, she did not compromise her values or desires in order to achieve that end. I know the synopsis talks about romance and there is a little but nothing too heavy. Even the romance is conflicted because Gillian finds herself double guessing the motives from both of her love interests.
In the beginning of this story it felt a little slow to me. It picked up and then moved along at a nice pace. There was nothing riveting about the suspense that you felt throughout this story. It was there continuously and made for a very enjoyable read. What I loved the most was that the entire story will have you second guessing each character’s motives. The story is built so that you feel you can trust no one. When everything comes to light, you find yourself a bit surprised but at the same time satisfied. A charming read and I highly recommend!
*Thank you to NetGalley & Howard Books for this eARC of A Lady in Disguise*