Author: Carol Cox
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Pub Date: June 2012, Baker Publishing Group
Source: Purchased from BN.com
Can she solve the crime before they uncover her true identity?
Jobless and down to her last dime, Ellie Moore hears about a position with the Pinkerton Detective Agency and believes it's the perfect chance to put her acting skills and costumes to use. Reluctantly, the agency agrees to give her one assignment, one chance to prove herself. Disguised as Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow, Ellie travels to Arizona to begin her investigation. When the need arises, she also transforms into the dazzling Jessie Monroe, whose vivacious personality encourages people to talk.
Mine owner Steven Pierce is going to lose his business if he can't figure out who's stealing his silver shipments. In his wildest dreams, he never expected to receive help from a gray-haired widow...or to fall in love with her beautiful niece.
Then the thieves come after Lavinia and Jessie. Ellie isn't safe no matter which character she plays! Should she give up and reveal her true identity? What will Steven do when he realizes the woman he's falling in love with doesn't really exist?
This review is a long time coming, as I read Love in Disguise while we were on vacation last month. I'm not sure why I put this off because I really did enjoy my first read by Carol Cox. I was reasonably sure just from reading the synopsis that this would prove to be a fun book with adventure and romance and I was not disappointed! This is so different from the other Christian/Inspirational fiction I have read, given that Ellie also disguised herself as other characters and took the story in multiple directions.
Overall, I thought that Cox did a great job writing all of the characters. It was fun to see all sides of Ellie and watch her grow as she played the elderly widow Lavinia and the saucy redhead Jessie, though naturally I couldn't wait for her to finally be herself out in Arizona because I was curious to see how the revelation would play out. I was glad to see that Cox didn't blow the revelation out of proportion and everything worked out quite well once Ellie was able to be herself. All too often when identities are revealed, there is a lot of melodrama and seemingly fabricated angst over what is usually a relatively harmless charade and I was glad that Cox didn't treat Ellie's situation this way. Overcoming the shock of her true identity pretty quickly, I appreciated that Steven was able to see Ellie for the person she was.
As for the mystery itself, the story takes some twists and turns and it is not immediately obvious who is behind the theft of the silver. Now, I'll be the first to admit as "historical" fiction goes, this story is not very plausible, but it makes for such a fun fictional read. The Christian element isn't in your face or preachy at all, which is what I usually look for in this genre. The story did start off a little slow, but once Ellie is in Arizona, the pace really picks up and the book moves very quickly.
If you like to read inspirational historical fiction, I think you'd enjoy Love in Disguise. I am looking forward to reading other books by Carol Cox, as well!