Friday, March 10, 2017

"A Lady in Disguise" by Sandra Byrd - a Gothic suspense

A Lady in Disguise (Daughters of Hampshire, #3)In this Gothic suspense, Gillian Young, a seamstress and costumer for Drury Lane, is disturbed when, shortly following her father's funeral, word comes out that he was corrupt policeman. Not wanting to believe the allegations that even his friends on the force are convinced of, she begins investigating his death on her own. However, each step she takes seems to bring more threats and danger to not only herself, but the girls she has hired as apprentice seamstresses. Who can she trust? A dashing viscount, who may have ulterior motives regarding her property, or an old friend on the force, whose father appears to be a threat himself?

I generally consider myself fairly well educated in history and period detail, but I learned a surprising amount about Victorian England in this book, from missions, to children's theatre, to Victorian era human trafficking. It's all woven together in a delightfully menacing plot.

Gillian is a strong heroine. Having done costuming and taken in commissions myself, I really enjoyed that she is not only a seamstress, but an independent business woman, not dependent on anyone (save occasional employers). Thanks to her profession (and, to a degree, her heritage) she is able to travel some between classes, though she herself is rooted in the middle class. I can't imagine the devastation as it feels like the world is conspiring to take everything away from her, yet she remains strong and compassionate throughout.

I enjoyed the allusions to classic literature and fairy tales; it was a fun change to see Little Women take a prominent place in the story. Over all, it was an enjoyable suspense.

Thank you Howard Books and NetGalley for providing a free e-book. No review, positive or otherwise, was required, and all opinions are my own.

Daughters of Hampshire
1. Mist of Midnight
2. Bride of a Distant Isle
3. A Lady in Disguise

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