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Friday, November 3, 2017

Review - City of Lies

This is the debut novel in a new series by the bestselling author of the Gaslight mystery series with midwife Sarah Brandt and Detective Frank Malloy.  I jumped at the chance to read and review this new series based on the cover blurb.  Let's take a look at Ms. Thompson's new series.

Author: Victoria Thompson

Copyright: Nov 2017 (Berkley) 320 pgs

Series: 1st in Counterfeit Lady Novel series

Sensuality: Nothing graphic, but some violence in workhouse and occasional swearing.

Mystery Sub-genre: Historical Suspense

Main Characters: Elizabeth Miles, smart and cunning grifter

Setting: 1917, Washington DC, Occoquan Workhouse, and New York

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review (Netgalley)

From the book cover: "Like most women, Elizabeth Miles assumes many roles; unlike most, hers have made her a woman on the run. Living on the edge of society, Elizabeth uses her guile to relieve so-called respectable men of their ill-gotten gains. But brutal and greedy entrepreneur Oscar Thornton is out for blood. He’s lost a great deal of money and is not going to forgive a woman for outwitting him. With his thugs hot on her trail, Elizabeth seizes the moment to blend in with a group of women [Suffragists picketing the White House] who have an agenda of their own [get women the vote at any cost]. 

She never expects to like or understand these privileged women, but she soon comes to respect their intentions [after being arrested with them and meets historic Lucy Burns], forming an unlikely bond with the wealthy matriarch of the group whose son, Gideon, is the rarest of species—an honest man in a dishonest world. Elizabeth knows she’s playing a risky game, and her deception could be revealed at any moment, possibly even by sharp-eyed Gideon. Nor has she been forgotten by Thornton, who’s biding his time, waiting to strike. Elizabeth must draw on her wits and every last ounce of courage she possesses to keep her new life from being cut short by this vicious shadow from her past."

Elizabeth Miles is an outstanding character.  She was raised a con artist and thinks on her feet.  When she is arrested with Suffragists picketing the White House in her effort to escape Thornton's thugs, she assists the women in dealing with the ordeal at the Occoquan Workhouse.  Once they are released she really has to be creative to stay alive with Thornton on her trail and maintain her new identity.  

Anna Vanderslice is a gentle and fragile suffragist that Elizabeth befriends and assists to get through the workhouse.  Anna bonds with Elizabeth quickly, relying on her courage.  David Vanderslice is Anna's brother who becomes a part of the story once they are released from the workhouse.  Mrs Bates is an older lady arrested who takes Elizabeth under her wing.  Gideon Bates, is her son and a lawyer who fights to get the Suffragists released and remains a key figure.

The settings are all a matter of historical record, even the Occoquan Workhouse.  Ms. Thompson did an amazing job of bringing the Suffragist movement to life, and gives the reader a slight taste of what women endured to get us the vote.  I found the depiction of the workhouse and the infamous "night of terror" well done without getting graphic.  

The plot twists and weaves and kept me turning pages.  The pacing is perfect, suspense is maintained and I never had to drag through any sections.  The interweaving of the historical events of the Occoquan Workhouse with Elizabeth's flight to escape a murderous man was pure genius.  

The climax was full of tension and some edge of your seat thrills, loved it!  The wrap up was equally enjoyable, with it's own twist. 

I had high expectations from the book blurb, and the story lived up to all of them.  Besides the importance of what it took [historical accuracy is high in the story] from many brave women to literally fight for the vote as a backdrop to the plot, the characters shined.  Elizabeth is a complex lead and Anna has her own depths that come forward.  The plot twists kept coming and I had to known how Elizabeth was going to get out of each challenging situation.  I give high praise for this novel and already am a fan and want the next installment.

Rating: Shear perfection - Couldn't Put it down. Buy two copies, one for you and one for a friend.

Here is a very short informative video.  FYI, women received the right to vote by one swing vote!  https://youtu.be/m1jAM2c0yz4



Here is a four minute informational piece worth the time.
https://youtu.be/9_q2Aw464KI



The movie Iron Jawed Angels starring Hillary Swank is great as well.



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