Deception on Sable Hill
Light, fluffy, comfort fiction. Happily ever after. We all need a bit of that every once in a while. I've been reading Steven James books so much lately I needed a change of pace, and Shelley Shepard Gray offered a kind of respite with her Chicago Worlds Fair Series. There are two other books that I know of in the series, but they don't necessarily follow each other in a certain order - linked, but not inseparable - Secrets of Sloane House and Whispers in the Reading Room. I read Deception on Sable Hill without any confusion as to who the characters were or what was happening in the story, butI believe it's the second installment in the series.
Gray's selling points in this book are the historical aspects of her fiction, the structure of her plot, and the varied cast of her characters. Not so varied that you lose track of who each person is, and in-depth enough that you know their different tastes and dislikes, and personality traits. I like to get to know the characters, and sometimes authors brush over who they are as people in favour of a riveting, fast-moving plot. In that case, there's not as much to keep you emotionally invested. I've enjoyed the way Shelley Gray weaves the two together.
She brings high-end and downtrodden societies into a bit of a head-to-head, with a princess-pauper-policemen scenario that I find light and amusing, and a relaxing distraction. Lieutenant Sean Ryan is a hard-working policeman of Irish decent, who found a way for himself outside of the limits of his less-than well-to-do family. Eloisa Carstairs is a well-known, upstanding young lady two years out in society from her debut, reputed to be the richest, prettiest girl around. But scarred by a secret. The story centers around their meeting as a result of a series of assaults on young women from Eloisa's social circles, by someone they're calling the "Society Slasher".
A hint of mystery, a bit of drama, more than enough romance - Gray knows how to write for her audience. As far as the cast of characters goes, among others, we have Sean's partner is a wealthy gentleman, good at his job, who gets entangled with Sean's younger sister, Katie. Lets call it a little excitement on the side. I'd almost have to say I enjoyed witnessing their relationship more than Sean and Eloisa's. Fancy that.
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