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.
This book was such a treat! It made me want an extra cup of tea, even with all the talk of Turkish coffee.
I've read and loved all of Sandra Byrd's adult novels, but it's been her gothic romance series, Daughters of Hampshire, that I've loved more than any other. I've been greatly looking forward to reading A Lady in Disguise, and now as I leave it, I'm left greatly looking forward to reading more from her.
In this book, we meet Miss Gillian. She's middle class, and works hard as a costume designer. She loves her work, but when her father dies suddenly, she's left with more worries, along with the hope to prove his innocence, both to herself and to others. She learns quickly just how dark and untrustworthy those in control can be, even those claiming to be friends. We're also brought into the world of theater and the children that suffered as a result of it, particularly young girls that were ushered into a world they should never have had to face after their acting was finished.
There were times I felt completely hopeless for Gillian and cringed at the turn events took. There were also plenty of moments filled with love and hope, not only with the leading man, but also with friends and new acquaintances. I'll even freely admit that I cried at one special moment of honor. There was plenty to keep me rapidly turning the pages, in all ways.
The writing is fantastic, the time period is well researched, the mystery is full of drama and suspense, and as I've come to expect from Mrs. Byrd, the romance was perfectly done, meaning I didn't roll my eyes not once. While plenty of scenes were beautifully romantic, they were never taken into inappropriate territory. There are even quotes from Little Women and references to Alice in Wonderland. Really, what more is there to hope for from a book?
I enjoyed every moment I spent in the pages of A Lady in Disguise, and can easily recommend it! (The books in this series can be read in any order, since they completely stand alone from each other.)
*I was given a free copy of this book.