Review: City of Lies

October 12, 2017

City of Lies by Victoria Thompson
Series: Counterfeit Lady #1
Rating: ★★★☆

Elizabeth Miles scours 1920’s Washington, D.C. for a killer in the first Counterfeit Lady novel from the author of the New York Times bestselling Gaslight mysteries.

Every woman plays a part—but some are more dangerous than others…

Like most women, Elizabeth Miles assumes many roles; unlike most, hers have made her a woman on the run. Living on the edge of society, Elizabeth uses her guile to relieve so-called respectable men of their ill-gotten gains. But brutal and greedy entrepreneur Oscar Thornton is out for blood. He’s lost a great deal of money and is not going to forgive a woman for outwitting him. With his thugs hot on her trail, Elizabeth seizes the moment to blend in with a group of women who have an agenda of their own.

She never expects to like or understand these privileged women, but she soon comes to respect their intentions, forming an unlikely bond with the wealthy matriarch of the group whose son Gabriel is the rarest of species—an honest man in a dishonest world. She knows she’s playing a risky game, and her deception could be revealed at any moment, possibly even by sharp-eyed Gabriel. Nor has she been forgotten by Thornton, who’s biding his time within this gilded orbit, waiting to strike. Elizabeth must draw on her wits and every last ounce of courage she possesses to keep her new life from being cut short by this vicious shadow from her past.

When I requested this book for review, it was listed as a ‘historical mystery.’ I’m not saying that it’s not that, but it’s definitely heavy on the romance. Which isn’t a bad thing, I actually quite enjoyed it, but it wasn’t what I was expecting when I picked it up either.

Lizzie is a character quite unlike a lot that I’ve read. She is, of course, more forward thinking than the majority of women, however I fully expected her to be fully invested in in the suffragette movement. That she wasn’t, and even didn’t really understand what they were fighting for, was a bit refreshing. I liked that the more she learned, the more immersed she became. The more important the ideology became to her.

I’m not a huge fan of deception in books, especially between romantic leads, however I liked how it was employed here. The circumstances and facts, and how it’s all revealed, is quite satisfying.

Gideon was a truly honest person, with strong ethics. I appreciated that about him, but – even though I liked Lizzie, I struggled to figure out why he became so enamoured of her so quickly. For that matter, I’m not sure why everyone fell in love with her so quickly. I know she’s a grifter and she makes her livelihood off of maintaining people’s interests, but she was actively trying not to…

Anyway, the “mystery” part of the novel wasn’t so much a mystery as a suspense. Lizzie has gotten caught up by a mark she’d thought to get away from. It drives all of her decisions from that point forward – and she’s making the best possible decisions she can. She gets into some difficult situations because of it, but I like that she is really the one to get herself out of them. It’s her plans and ideas that determines her freedom from danger.

Overall, this is a pretty good book, set in a fascinating – and relevant – time. The romance was a little rushed for me, though I was happy to see them together in the end. I am still a little confused on how one particular thing is going to be resolved, but I’m not overly worried about it.

Solid read, well researched, and I enjoyed reading it.


November 12, 2017