It's mid-September of 1893 and Eloisa Carstairs is the reigning beauty of Gilded Age Chicago society. To outsiders she appears to have it all. But Eloisa is living with a dark secret. Several months ago, she endured a horrible assault at the hands of Douglass Sloane, heir to one of Chicago's wealthiest families. Fearing the loss of her reputation, Eloisa confided in only one friend. That is, until she meets Detective Sean Ryan at a high-society ball.
Sean is on the outskirts of the wealthy Chicago lifestyle. Born into a poor Irish family, becoming a policeman was his best opportunity to ensure his future security. Despite society's restrictions, he is enamored with Eloisa Carstairs. Sean seethes inside at what he knows happened to her, and he will do anything to keep her safe-even if he can never earn her affections.
First, I have to say that this is the second book in a series and maybe it is because I didn't love the first book, but I didn't really feel that it was necessary to read the first book. There is enough backstory that you aren't lost, and the characters in the first book are maybe mentioned once or twice (except for Douglass Sloane, who is dead and is mentioned more, but that's because that backstory is definitely needed for this novel). I actually wasn't going to read any more from this author, but you know how they put a little blurb in the back of the book about the next book? Well, I read that and it got me hooked.
If you are going into this novel expecting suspense and intrigue, there is some of that, but....just enjoy it as a romance novel and you won't get frustrated. The bad guy is not obvious until the end of the book, and his motivations are interesting.
I enjoyed (and this is going to sound terrible of me) that bad things happened to Elosia (not the bad thing from the first book, but the bad thing from this book...are you confused yet?). I'm only saying this because normally in the books I read the girl is saved from whatever bad thing happens. I felt like these bad things helped Eloisa's character to grow.
I enjoyed Elosia trying to figure out her purpose in a society that really didn't give women any purpose besides marrying well. Sean was great, and I'm looking forward to a book about his sister and partner.
While this isn't a book that I would reread if I had other things to read, if you are into this part of history (Chicago World Fair time) I'd give this novel a try.
Title: Deception on Sable Hill
Author: Shelley Gray
Publisher: Zondervan Fiction
Published: February 2015
Source: I received a copy from NetGalley in exchange for a review.