City of Lies (Counterfeit Lady)
by Victoria Thompson
Cover Artist: Alana Colucci
Review by Gayle Surrette
Berkley Hardcover / eBook ISBN/ITEM#: 9780399586576
Date: 07 November 2017 List Price $26.00 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Elizabeth Miles and her brother, Jake, are running a con on Oscar Thornton. With the help of a fellow conman, they plan to take Thornton for a lot of money. The three of them were running the con with full backup and when it went off, Thornton was out for revenge. Elizabeth ran and avoided the thugs Thornton sent after her by slipping in with a group of suffragettes demonstrating in front of the White House for the women's vote.
When the suffragettes get arrested, Elizabeth thinks this would be a great way to avoid Thornton and his hired goons as she could stay in jail until he cools off and moves on. She didn't count on the fact that Thornton was the type to hold a grudge, especially against women. She also didn't expect to come to care for the women she was arrested with or to find she had began to understand their dedication to a cause that they saw as being for all women and minorities that were disenfranchised.
The women weren't sent to the local jail, but to a workhouse and cut off from all outside communications. No one knew where they were, which was fine with Elizabeth, but the lawyers working with the suffragettes didn't know where to find them either. One of the lawyers looking for them was Gideon Bates, whose mother had been among those arrested. Gideon was also a friend of the brother of Anna Vanderslice, a young girl Elizabeth had become acquainted with and cared for in the workhouse.
While the major plot is a con gone wrong and the consequence that result when the mark is not as innocent or helpless to wreak vengeance as they thought, the subplot of Elizabeth's encounter with the suffragettes grounds the story in the time period as well as giving a view of the plight of women of all economic levels. The women talk of their efforts but, despite the fact that they are mostly well-off individuals, they care about all women, even those in poverty though they are not truly aware of what those without money or opportunity actually deal with on a daily basis.
I was hooked almost immediately and couldn't wait to find out how Elizabeth would escape Thornton and his thugs. Would she manage to avoid him? How would she fit in with the suffragettes? Would she take part in their hunger strike? Would she stay with them or pay her fine and walk free – probably right into Thornton's plan for vengeance. The questions keep you reading and the story is tightly plotted and historically accurate enough to make you feel for these women who fought so hard so that women could vote.
Entertaining, informative, and not to be missed if you like strong female characters and historical thrillers.