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Leo is the proper young lady of an affluent 1870s family who lives with her married sister, Christabel. She’s also Mad Miss Mimic who when stressed randomly mimics another people’s voice flawlessly. It’s embarrassing and liberating… especially when she draws the eye of popular Mr Thornfax, the son of a lord who is fabulously wealthy and her brother-in-law’s business partner. When the Black Glove start terrorizing the city Leo and Mad Miss Mimic come upon Tom, who seems to know more than he’s saying… Will she reveal the mastermind, and who will capture her heart?
I love me a good historical romance. I actually quite loved the premise, Leo, Mr Thornfax and Tom and thought the setup was particularly well done. Leo doesn’t start out as some bluestocking rich girl being forced to marry against her will. No, she’s on board with her sister’s plan to get married and become independent. What she is though is a curious and brave girl who due to her affliction has to face some tough spots at times. This isn’t her first romance either – she’s had many a failed one. I just loved how you got this sense of Leo through the opening situations she’s in. She doesn’t always have the answers but she’s not afraid of going out and finding them.
Leo was excellent from start, to growth, to finish, but Mr Thornfax and Tom were equally well developed. I quite loved Mr Thornfax. I think in her situation Leo would be quite susceptible which is why Thornfax courted her the way he did. I just loved how things were not as they appeared. Tom too was just as good at drawing us in. I don’t know that I ever mistook either man for a role other than the one he was meant to play but it was quite well done how the author kept us on our toes as each man went about his story acting out his part. We would follow Leo around as she tried to separate truth from illusion.
The storycraft and writing though were quite superior. I loved how Leo’s thoughts lead to action in a brilliant way. There was an immediacy that worked quite well, especially after 50% once Leo made up her mind to know the truth.
“Discover all the facts before you make up your mind. Tossing my book onto the bed… I found a long over-jacket and shawl I had not worn often. … Carrying my sturdiest boots I stole through the kitchens to the side door. From the hook I scooped Mrs. Fayerweather’s forgotten bonnet, … I wrote a hasty note to Bess, telling her that I was going alone to call on neighbours…”
And it wasn’t the same setup over and over, but it fit in each situation.
“Now then,” I addressed myself, whispering behind my scarf. The resolve that had pushed me to abandon my bedchamber this morning now took on a clearer shape. I wanted to discover the facts. I wanted to do what was right. But most of all I wanted to be less afraid. …”
I wasn’t disappointed by the ending either. It was right in line with the rest of the story. The writing was strong on form and details that made the world very real feeling. The villain was very good and you don’t dislike Leo for being deceived, she wasn’t stupid!! (Which is quite a change from most heroines…) I quite highly recommend this book to everyone, even modern lovers will take a shine to this historical novel. I seriously could read this again – which is a rarity for me!
BOTTOM LINE: Action, intrigue, history and romance + excellent storycraft = a winner!
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review. Thank you Netgalley and Penguin Random House Canada.