- My name is Chelsey and I am the creator of Charming Chelsey's! I read and review anything and everything that I find to be "charming." I accept ARCs or already released books for review, and I'm also available to participate in any blog tours or book reveals too. If anything, please don't hesitate to email me any time for any reason at: charmingchelseys(at)gmail(dot)com
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Wednesday, July 11, 2012
4:16 PM | Posted by Chelsey
Publisher: Bethany House
When costume-maker Ellie Moore suddenly finds herself out of a job in the middle of a bleak Chicago winter, she uses her knowledge of theatrical disguise to secure a position as an undercover operative with the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Her assignment: find the culprit behind the theft of silver shipped from the mines near Pickford, Arizona. Disguised as Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow, Ellie begins her investigation. Soon she finds she must also pose as the dazzling young Jessie Monroe, whose vivacious personality encourages people to talk. Mine owner Steven Pierce is about to lose his business after the theft of several bullion shipments--until hope arrives in the unlikely form of Lavinia Stewart, who offers to invest in Steven's mine. In his wildest dreams, Steven never expected to be rescued by an inquisitive gray-haired widow . . . or to fall head over heels for Lavinia's captivating niece, Jessie. But then the thieves come after both Lavinia and Jessie. Ellie isn't safe no matter which character she plays! Will she be forced to reveal her true identity before the criminals are caught? What will Steven do when he discovers the woman he loves doesn't exist?
The first thing that I noticed about this cover was the cobalt blue of the ladies hat because it is in fact my favorite color! I also noticed the red hair on the very attractive and mysterious looking lady. Red hair on covers seems to be becoming a major trend this year, which is fine by me because red is a grabbing color and really gets the reader's attention. The word “disguise” coincides well with the cover because the woman possesses a very sly and mischievous glare about her and this led me to wonder what is was that was going to be disguised; I was also hoping for a mystery novel!! Yay (: I could tell by the clothes that the woman on the front cover was wearing that this was in fact going to be a historical fiction novel, which I am all about!!
Ellie Moore is a girl who always seems to be a part of the back drop and never a star in the limelight. Her career has always been to prep and prepare the major stars for the stage, while never reaching it herself. All of that comes to a drastic end when she is told, unexpectedly, that she needs to seek employment elsewhere. From that point on her life begins to spiral into a thundering whirlwind and she cannot even begin to fathom how she will pay her rent or afford food to eat. These are not fun thoughts for any character to harbor. She begins to run out of time and options until what seems like the last straw, isn’t it funny how that always works?
Ellie overhears a few men talking about what seems to be an undercover operation in which they need to hire one more woman for in order for the mission to be a success. Ellie, having no experience investigating but plenty of experience acting if only behind the curtains, decides that this would be the perfect option for her. She eventually convinces them that she is the woman that they are looking for, in a rather comical way if I do say so myself, and is whisked off to Arizona in order to uncover who or whom is stealing all the silver from the local mines in Pickford.
Ellie’s character is strong and has many different sides, this is funny but you have to read the book to understand what I am insinuating here!! She is quite fearless and takes on an operation that puts her in harm’s way more than one time. In the 1880’s it was not the woman’s place really to involve herself in the affairs of men, but Ellie surely does. I was just so shocked with how nosy and forceful she could be with grown men. She had a mission and she had agreed with herself to not stop until it was completed to the best of her ability. She carried so much faith in herself and was never one to doubt herself even when others may have.
I love mystery stories like this one because I was actually able to follow along with Ellie as she kept track of everything that she witnessed or learned each day. Many characters with different viewpoints were introduced, but it was not confusing at all. I was able to keep up with each character and was able to relate his or her importance with the overall story. Ellie was a smart thinker and was often forced to think on the spot when she was placed in a tough situation. I can really admire all of her brilliant detective work. If I were her I would have felt so alone in the small town of Pickford, Arizona where she hardly knew anyone. But being a detective she was forced to jump right in and meeting all of the various people that Ellie meets is a huge part of the book!
This was a quick read with a heroine that was not your average every day, at least in some historical fiction novels. She was bright and diligent instead of vulnerable and scared. She knew that as a woman it was, more times than not, not her place to speak up in a meeting of men but that is what makes her so brilliant. She knew what she wanted and she went for it. I feel like when she faced an obstacle or she realized that someone was trying to shut up that that only made her talk louder. I constantly found myself relating to her! My only complaint is just that at times I found myself wanting to skip over pages because the descriptions or points leading up to an big event went on way too long and I was ready to get to the main point.
**A copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at Bethany House in return for my honest review and I am so thankful!**
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