Monday, August 6, 2012

Review: Love in Disguise by Carol Cox

Book Cover and Synopsis:
When costume-maker Ellie Moore suddenly finds herself out of a job in the middle of a bleak Chicago winter, she uses her knowledge of theatrical disguise to secure a position as an undercover operative with the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Her assignment: find the culprit behind the theft of silver shipped from the mines near Pickford, Arizona. 

Disguised as Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow, Ellie begins her investigation. Soon she finds she must also pose as the dazzling young Jessie Monroe, whose vivacious personality encourages people to talk. 

Mine owner Steven Pierce is about to lose his business after the theft of several bullion shipments--until hope arrives in the unlikely form of Lavinia Stewart, who offers to invest in Steven's mine. In his wildest dreams, Steven never expected to be rescued by an inquisitive gray-haired widow . . . or to fall head over heels for Lavinia's captivating niece, Jessie. 

But then the thieves come after both Lavinia and Jessie. Ellie isn't safe no matter which character she plays! Will she be forced to reveal her true identity before the criminals are caught? What will Steven do when he discovers the woman he loves doesn't exist?

My Thoughts:
For some reason I find Pinkerton Detectives to be a mysterious and intriguing subject in fiction, so I gladly picked up this book. I was quickly amused watching Ellie weasel her way into the Pinkerton job, with no qualifications except her unique ability to disguise herself!

Ellie's scheme of splitting herself into two "characters" for the benefit of her investigation was very unique and definitely an amusing idea. I rather feel like I've seen something similar in a sitcom or movie somewhere...I think the idea may be a bit better suited to film, but it was still an interesting read. I expected a bit more humor with Ellie trying to keep others from finding out her game, but the story actually ended up having more of a serious tone, without venturing much into humor. Although, I will say I found it amusing watching Ellie try to hide her attraction for a certain man. When the entire town (and the man in question) think you are an elderly lady, it's not good to appear interested in a man half your age! :)

Overall, I have to say I wasn't able to connect with the characters quite as much as I would've liked, and I'm not really sure what the reason is. I did "like" the story, I just didn't "love" it. For sure, it's definitely well written and researched, and the storyline is very unique; it's certainly not just the typical historical tale! If you're looking for something a little outside the box, this would be a good choice.

My Rating: 3.5 stars
(I received this book courtesy of the publisher, Bethany House, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, a positive review was not required.)

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