Monday, October 12, 2015

"A Respectable Actress" by Dorothy Love - not what I was expecting

A Respectable Actress  -     By: Dorothy Love
A last minute change to the script leaves actress India Hartley onstage with a smoking gun and a dead leading man. To protect her, her attorney, Philip Sinclair, brings her to his island plantation to await her trial. However, things are not all as they appear. Secrets riddle the household, and memories of life before the War Between States rule the hearts of the island dwellers.Will India receive a fair trial, and will the truth prevail?

There was a lot about this story that didn't quite match what I was expecting. It is not really a suspense, though there are a number of suspenseful moments. There is a mystery, though it is often passive; India isn't strictly in the heart of it investigating like in, say, a cozy mystery. There is, of course, some romance, but it isn't the focus of the story. Based on the title and the fact that, historically, acting was not a profession known for respectability, I was expecting more to do with India's reputation, and that any hint of immorality on her part would have jeopardized her case; however, there isn't any focus on her personal reputation. The pacing of the novel felt irregular, with the climax happening too soon, or maybe the ending stretching too long.

I did like how the author based many aspects of the story on history (especially some of the more unbelievable parts; it's funny how truth is often stranger than fiction). The trial was one of my favorite parts, with some interesting historical details, such as at the time, the accused was not allowed to testify on her own behalf. 

The biggest surprise was that though the book is published by Thomas Nelson, a christian publishing company, there is no faith message, the main character really has no faith in God, and church is used purely as an opportunity for India to discuss possible business. Not what I was expecting in a supposedly christian novel. It is a clean read, but I wouldn't describe it as christian.

It wasn't a bad story. It just didn't quite fit any pattern that I was expecting.

Thank you Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing an e-copy for review; I was not required to make the review positive, and all opinions are my own.

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