Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tea and Read: Love in Disguise

Title: Love in Disguise
Author: Carol Cox
Genre: Christian fiction, romance
Rating: One cup of tea (★★★)

My first book by Carol Cox. 

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?

This book started with an interesting premise, a female Pinkerton agent investigating a crime, which I found very intriguing. Unfortunately, I don’t think I fell in love with any of the characters. They were okay, but they didn’t grasp my attention enough to hook me. It took me a very long time to read this and I must admit that I read more out of obligation than enjoyment.

The pacing doesn’t help much, either. It seemed like there were very long passages of Ellie’s internal thoughts and not much progression with the plot. I found myself skimming a few times. I know Ellie was an amateur detective and the book was a romance, but I wished the mystery crime-fighting element in the book was a little stronger. As the for the romance element, the progression of Ellie and Steven’s relationship seemed a little shallow and cliché.

Will someone else enjoy this book more than me? Yes. It just wasn’t enough to hold my interest. 

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