Friday, October 16, 2015

Deception on Sable Hill by Shelley Gray

The World’s Fair has introduced many new ideas to Chicago society—but can two individuals from very different backgrounds find love together?
        It’s mid-September 1893 and Eloisa Carstairs is the reigning debutant 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 fringes of the Chicago elite. Born into a poor Irish family, becoming a policeman was his best chance to ensure security. Despite social boundaries, he is enamored with Eloisa Carstairs. Sean will do anything to keep her safe—even if he can never earn her affections.
        Eloisa longs to feel normal again, but a killer is on the loose. In the last month, three debutants have been accosted by an assailant wielding a knife, and Eloisa fears for her safety at every event she attends. As the danger in the city increases, and as the romance between Eloisa and Sean blossoms, they both realize they want to be seen as more than how the world views them. But will they catch the killer before all their hopes come crashing down?

        Deception on Sable Hill is the second book in Shelley Gray’s Chicago World’s Fair Mystery series, coming after Secrets of Sloane House. If I’m going to be honest with you, I have a confession to make. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book. Even more than its predecessor. The mystery was so completely impossible to figure out, in a good way, and the romance was simply amazing. I loved the way Sean and Eloisa interacted with one another, and the addition of the relationship between Sean’s sister, Katie, and partner, Owen, was super sweet and cute to read about. I also really loved the way that both relationships really broke the social barriers and led those involved to follow their hearts instead of doing what was “right” in that day and age. That fact about their relationships made me happy because I enjoy stories where love triumphs over the opposition of others who have no business opposing it simply because their reasons aren’t even valid. I really loved that about this book.
        Eloisa Carstairs is one of my favorite heroines. She is so sweet, caring, and broken, and it just made her so loveable as well as completely relatable, despite her wealthy status in society. The way that she almost initially dismisses the social barriers keeping her and Sean apart because she knows he makes her feel safe, and that is something she needs so desperately, is one of my favorite aspects of this book. On top of that, she continuously treats him as her equal, as he deserves to be treated, and I just love that about her. She never puts Sean down for being “less than her”, but rather over looks his social standing to see the heart of gold inside. And I just love her for that.
        Why? Because Sean is, by far, one of the best heroes I have ever read about, and I wouldn’t be able to stand it if Eloisa hadn’t treated him well. Sean is caring, thoughtful, brave, and compassionate, and he deserves a woman who is going to see that about him and praise him for it. Okay, rant aside, Sean is amazing. He is so sweet to Eloisa, it made me thoroughly jealous. And the way he is protective of Katie just goes on to remind me why I’ve always wanted an older brother.
        Anyway, I just really enjoyed this book—each and every aspect of it—and was so pleased to find that there was absolutely nothing about it that I didn’t like. Except the killer, of course, and it’s pretty obvious why he wouldn’t be one of my favorite characters. I cannot help but give this novel all five bookshelves, and I am SOOOO excited for when Whispers in the Reading Room—the third book in the series—finally comes out next month! I would recommend this series to anyone looking for great historical mysteries with super sweet romances, and I can almost promise that you will enjoy them!
        Happy reading!

All credit for the italicized synopsis goes to Shelley Gray and Liftuse Publishing.

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