Sunday, August 26, 2012

Love in Disguise - A Book Review

From the Back:  Jobless and down to her last dime, Ellie Moore hears about a position with the Pinkerton Detective Agency and believes it's the perfect chance to put her acting skills and costumes to use.  Reluctantly, the agency agrees to give her one assignment, one chance to prove herself.  Disguised as Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow, Ellie travels to Arizona to begin her investigation.  When the need arises, she also transforms into the dazzling Jessie Monroe, whose vivacious personality encourages people to talk.  Mine owner Steven Pierce is going to lose his business if he can't figure out who's stealing his silver shipments.  In his wildest dreams, he never expected to receive help from a gray-haired widow...or to fall in love with her beautiful niece.  Then the thieves come after Lavinia and Jessie.  Ellie isn't safe no matter which character she plays!  Should she give up and reveal her true identity?  What will Steven do when he realizes the woman he's falling in love with doesn't really exist?

Synopsis:  Ellie Moore is an actress wannabe and a personal assistant until her boss fires her and heads to Europe.  Frustrated, Ellie happens to overhear a need for a female detective to work for the Pinkerton Detective Agency.  Using her unique skill set, Ellie convinces the agency to give her the job in Arizona.  Initially, Ellie is partnered with another female agent but that falls through before Ellie even boards the train.  By the time she arrives in Arizona, Ellie is playing two roles, the older Lavinia Stewart and the young, beautiful Jessie Monroe.  Her task is to blend in around town and discover who is responsible for stealing silver from the town silver mines.  Ellie introduces herself to the town (and the mine owners) as Lavinia and introduces Jessie a few weeks later.  She easily begins to build a relationship with various people from the town as both Lavinia and Jessie.  She also begins to collect information about the silver thefts.  It's enough information to lead the thieves to threaten Lavinia.  What Ellie doesn't expect is to fall in love with one of the owners.  Can the relationship survive Ellie's multiple personalities?

My Review:  I'm not overly familiar with Carol Cox's work but this was a good introduction.  I liked the spunk in Ellie's character - she saw a potential solution to her problems and acted on it.  She wasn't willing to take no for an answer.  The story itself moved along at a nice pace.  There is mystery, suspense and romance all wrapped into a nice, neat little story.  I will say that the story is a bit far-fetched but doesn't go so far as to be annoying.  This is a quick, fun read that has enjoyable characters (both good characters and "bad guys") and a good plot.  I'll definitely be checking out more of Cox's work.

Score:  3.5 bookmarks out of 5.

Bethany House Publishers gave me a copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review.

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