Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Newly engaged, Clive and Henrietta now begin the difficult task of meeting each other’s family. Difficult because Clive has neglected to tell Henrietta that he is in fact the heir to the Howard estate and fortune, and Henrietta has just discovered that her mother has been hiding secrets about her past as well. When Clive brings Henrietta to the family estate to meet his parents, they are less than enthused about his impoverished intended. Left alone in this extravagant new world when Clive returns to the city, Henrietta finds herself more at home with the servants than his family, much to the disapproval of Mrs. Howard and soon gets caught up in the disappearance of an elderly servant’s ring, not realizing that in doing so she has become part of a bigger, darker plot. As Clive and Henrietta attempt to discover the truth in the two very different worlds unraveling around them, they both begin to wonder: Are they meant for each other after all?
I had so much fun reading this book! First and foremost, the setting hooked me: Chicago area circa the 1930s. Yes, please! And second, we have this “breaking all the rules” love story between Clive and Henrietta; he’s rich, high society, and a detective, and she’s one of eight children living in relative squalor, desperately trying to keep enough food on the table to feed everyone. Clearly, the odds are stacked against them, but isn’t that always how the great stories start??
One of my favorite parts of Cox’s story is the character of Henrietta. She’s got sass, and I love a female character who breaks the mold. She knows she doesn’t fit in with the society that Clive grew up with, and she does make some attempts to adjust, but for the most part she’s her own person. She knows it’s considered unacceptable by his parents and their friends to be mingling with the staff, but she doesn’t let that stop her. And she really doesn’t let that get in the way of her involvement in solving the case of Helen’s missing ring.
This book has the sweetness of a budding love story, the thrill of a potentially dangerous unsolved crime, and the spunkiness of a heroine who is bound and determined to solve the mystery. If that sounds like it’s up your alley and you enjoy historical fiction, I recommend you check out A Ring of Truth.
A note: this is the second book in the Henrietta and Inspector Howard series. I had not read the first book prior to this and I did not feel as though I had missed out on anything pertinent to this storyline. I would not hesitate to recommend this book being read as a standalone.
About the author (from her website):
Michelle Cox holds a B.A. in English literature from Mundelein College, Chicago, and is the author of the award-winning, A Girl Like You, the first in the Henrietta and Inspector Howard series. She is known for her wildly popular blog, “How to Get Your Book Published in 7,000 Easy Steps -A Practical Guide” as well as her charming “Novel Notes of Local Lore” – a blog dedicated to Chicago’s forgotten residents. Michelle lives with her husband and three children in the Chicago suburbs.
Thank you to Booksparks for providing me with a copy of the book in exchage for an honest review.