This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing Love in Disguise Bethany House Publishers (June 1, 2012) by Carol Cox
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Native Arizonan Carol Cox has an abiding love for history, mystery, and romance. The author of more than 25 books, she believes in the power of story to convey spiritual truths. Carol lives with her husband and daughter in northern Arizona, where deer and antelope really do play--within view of the family's front porch.
A word from Carol:
As a native of Arizona, I have a longtime interest in the Southwest and its history. My family shares my love of the Old West, as evidenced by this photo taken back in the halcyon days before my son turned to a life of crime and started robbing trains for a living...
ABOUT THE BOOK
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?
If you're looking for an absolutely fun Western romance - this is it! What starts out as a sort of "costume party" on a grand scale, with the spirited Ellie taking on whatever role necessary to avoid destitution and to play detective, turns into a complicated twist on reality with some serious ramifications if Ellie can't keep her various identities in line.
After losing out on what seemed like the chance of a lifetime to travel across Europe, Ellie overhears a conversation that might just lead her on another adventure in the opposite direction - into wild Arizona territory. Sure, she's never been a detective before... But how hard can it be to use her skills with makeup and costumes, along with all her observations of acting in the theater, to discover information and put all the clues together while undercover? Well, Ellie learns that it can be very hard, indeed, when one girl has to play two very different roles and still keep her sanity intact, her safety secure, and her heart independent!
I loved this book full of intriguing twists and humorous turns! The plot is just plain fun, and yet there is an important reminder disguised within: when we divide our lives into various "roles" that we take on, it can be too easy to forget who we are fundamentally beneath the facades. Knowing who you really are and living in that knowledge requires humility - and discovering love in that state of authenticity is beautifully powerful.
Love in Disguise has it all - sweet community, a wonderful and unique love story, and some dastardly villains that need to be brought to justice. I'll admit that the climax has its cheesy moments, but the resolution is too happy to judge. And with great romance and cleverness, this book is just all-around awesome!
*With thanks to Bethany House through CFBA for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*