City of Lies (The Counterfeit Lady #1) by Victoria Thompson (3 out of 5) 

Some of you may be familiar with Victoria Thompson from her “Gaslight Mystery” series. I didn’t know what to think when I saw this series debuting. For those wondering, yes, she is still writing those. The next installment will be available in May, 2018. This series is a mixed bag, if you are expecting similar. This series felt like more of a read-along romance, instead of a Victorian-era mystery with some romance. This was a strange little tale. It is out now, in hardcover. 

Elizabeth is a grifter who sees a con she has going with her brother go way south. She flees the scene of an altercation where her brother is getting the stuffing beat out of him, and ends up blending into a suffrigists group to escape notice. That backfires on Elizabeth when the group is arrested and thrown into a workhouse with terrible conditions. The women are determined to fight for women’s rights, and they all go on a hunger strike. A young lady named Anna attaches herself to Lizzie, and she fights hard to belong to this group of ladies. Before long, she’s friends with all and going through the same deplorable jailhouse treatment they are. Meanwhile, back in Washington, a lawyer named Gideon is retained by his friend David to get to the bottom of this group of women being held against their will. The women begin to see their determination and health fail miserably, when suddenly, David and Gideon’s efforts spring the women free. Anna, David’s sister, is relieved to see him but she’s hung up on Elizabeth. Elizabeth is hung up immediately on Gideon, but she fights it, and notices that the evildoer, Thornton, and his things are with when they women are released. Elzabeth goes with David and his family, barely escaping. Thornton vows to stop at nothing to find her, since he lost thousands in the con that her and her brother played on him. Back in Washington, Elizabeth somehow finds herself engaged to David, making Gideon see red with jealousy. And Anna, who is suddenly in love with Elizabeth, goes haywire at Elizabeth and David’s hasty engagement. Thornton makes several shady deals with a General Sterling for rifles that may or may not seal the fate of the US Army. Elizabeth, meanwhile, keeps plotting a way out of David’s affections and home, while Gideon struggles to save her from herself and Thornton. The conclusion is a little forced and something I’ve read in far too many penny dreadfuls, and after the reader thoroughly despises Thornton, his just desserts are a little skimpy on the side of retaliation. That was very disappointing. All in all, I found most of the characters refreshing, but very much caricatures of the stereotypical Victorian lady assassin in training. It all seemed to be very contrived from something already well documented. Not really my cup of tea. More like a mug of Vegemite. 

~ by generationgbooks on November 15, 2017.

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