Deception on Sable Hill

Deception on Sable Hill
Shelley Gray

     The World's Fair is nearing its end, but the danger in Chicago lingers.
     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. .
     Eloisa longs to feel normal again in the midst of the danger surrounding the Chicago World's Fair, but a killer is on the loose. In the last month, three debutants have been accosted in the city by an assailant wielding a stiletto. As the danger in the city increases, and as Eloisa's and Sean's romance 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 tumbling down?
    I admit this is a book I probably wouldn't normally have picked up simply because the author writes mostly Amish fiction (which I'm not a fan of) so she really wasn't on my radar. However, I saw a copy of the first book in this series, Secrets of Sloane House, and was intrigued by the mysterious-looking cover, so I checked it out from the library a while back.

   Anyway, Secrets of Sloane House didn't amaze me, but it was much better than I had originally anticipated, so Deception on Sable Hill made my reading list.

   This book felt like it had so much going for it but couldn't quite get there. I never felt the romance between Eloisa and Sean, even though the bare bones of it could have made it really good. ("Lowly" Irish police officer in love with a sweet society lady with hidden pain? Could have been lovely. Sadly, it wasn't) Also, some things plot-wise didn't make sense to me.(For instance, if Eloisa is the sheltered society girl with strict parents the way the book says she is, how is it that she keeps going off with Sean or on her own without her parents noticing? For parents who we were told were so concerned with their daughter's standing in society, they didn't seem to pay much attention to her comings and goings without being chaperoned.) At first I was thinking I was really going to like the secondary plot with Sean's sister Katie and Officer Howard, but even that petered off for me and didn't really work, either.

   My last complaint is that this wasn't really a mystery like I was thinking it was going to be; we were never really given enough information to figure out who the killer was (and neither were our protagonists either, for that matter). We just sort of...found out...there at the end. I guess that makes this more of a "Thriller" than a "Mystery" but it really wasn't that suspenseful, at least for me.

   Anyway, this book was kind of a bust for me; I just didn't care for it. it moved really slowly and while there were some nice historical aspects, I just couldn't get into it.

Rating: 5

I received this book for free from in exchange for my honest review.


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