“Pride can masquerade as standards; control can masquerade as a concern. Self –righteousness masquerades as religion.” Pg. 246 A lady in Disguise
In this intriguing novel of romance, mystery, and clever disguise set in Victorian England, a young woman investigates the murder of her own father.
After the mysterious death of her father, Miss Gillian Young takes a new job as the principal costume designer at the renowned Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. But while she remembers her father as a kind, well-respected man of the Police Force, clues she uncovers indicate he’d been living a double life: a haunting photograph of a young woman; train stubs for secret trips just before his death; and a receipt for a large sum of money. Are these items evidence of her father’s guilty secrets? His longtime police partner thinks so.
Then Gillian meets the dashing Viscount Thomas Lockwood. Their attraction is instant and inescapable. As their romantic involvement grows, Gillian begins to suspect even Lockwood’s motives. Does Lord Lockwood truly love her? Or is his interest a front for the desire to own her newly inherited property? And what should she make of her friend’s suggestion that Lockwood or men like him were involved in the murder of her father?
Soon Gillian is convinced that her father has left evidence somewhere that can prove his innocence and reveal the guilty party. But someone wants to stop her from discovering it. The closer she comes to uncovering it, the more menacing her opposition grows. With her life on the line, Gillian takes on an ingenious disguise and takes on the role of a lifetime to reveal the true killer—before it’s too late both for her and for those that she loves.
A Lady in Disguise is a Gothic story filled with intrigue and mystery told in first person that really put me in the heroine’s shoes. Starting out rather sadly and continuing along with that theme, we have Gillian Young bereft of her family and looking toward an uncertain future, quite possibly alone. Her father’s death and the absence of support from his fellow friends and officers have definitely caused Gillian to pause. Strange occurrences and threatening confrontations only begin to make her very suspicious of the events surrounding her father’s death. Add to that the growing unease that something sinister has been hidden and shadows of doubt have been cast upon her concerning her beloved father.
Gillian is a costume designer who finds she is the heir to her family’s ancestral home. She meets her neighbor Viscount Thomas Lockwood who mesmerizes her yet she is unsure of him and his possible ulterior motives. We watch with her trying to interpret his actions and looks that are as puzzling to the reader as to the heroine. I waited in anticipation at each visit he had with her and hoped he revealed he was a noble character.
I was also intrigued with the history that author Sandra Byrd brought into her story. I was not aware of the pantomime children in Victorian England who on one hand delighted the wealthy with the very elaborate plays they were involved with, and then to be turned out as outcasts when they are too old. Looked and judged oftentimes with an air of being disreputable. Gillian’s heart was very open to these poor children and her charity was love in action.
This novel was filled with mystery, themes of love (neighbor, family, romantic), danger, and foreboding all set against an atmosphere that was growing only tenser with each page turning. I liked that there was just a brief touch of the supernatural, to give us a ray of hope when all else looked doomed. What a satisfying ending and a very nice nod to a certain favorite fairy tale.
I received a copy of this novel for free from the author and publisher. I was not required to give a positive review and all views and opinions expressed are my own.