Review: Counterfeit Love, by Crystal Caudill


Can this undercover agent save the woman he loves–or is her heart as counterfeit as the money he’s been sent to track down?

After all that Grandfather has sacrificed to raise her, Theresa Plane owes it to him to save the family name–and that means clearing their debt with creditors before she marries Edward Greystone. But when one of the creditors’ threats leads her to stumble across a midnight meeting, she discovers that the money he owes isn’t all Grandfather was hiding. And the secrets he kept have now trapped Theresa in a life-threatening fight for her home–and the truth.

After months of undercover work, Secret Service operative Broderick Cosgrove is finally about to uncover the identity of the leader of a notorious counterfeiting ring. That moment of triumph turns to horror, however, when he finds undeniable proof that his former fiance is connected. Can he really believe the woman he loved is a willing participant? Protecting Theresa and proving her innocence may destroy his career–but that’s better than failing her twice in one lifetime.

They must form a partnership, tentative though it is. But there’s no question they’re both still keeping secrets–and that lack of trust, along with the dangerous criminals out for their blood, threatens their hearts, their faith, and their very survival.


Disclaimer: Although I received a copy of this book from the publisher, the opinions below are my own.

Want a good, clean, historical suspense tale with non-stop action?

I recommend the debut novel by Crystal Caudill, Counterfeit Love, set in the late 1800s. This story starts with a fright for Theresa when one of her father’s creditors demands money at gunpoint. She’s able to act quickly enough to survive, but the event causes her to start asking questions about her grandfather’s activities. Is he really involved with something illegal? If he is, what can she do about it?

Counterfeit Love takes readers back to the origins of the Secret Service: not security detail, but to combat counterfeiting of American currency. Broderick and his fellow agents work at a variety of tasks, including going undercover in some of Cincinnati’s seedier locations. The book is long – over 300 pages – but never gets boring. I did have an idea of who was involved, which was proven correct, but I had no idea as to the extent.

This is the first in the Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age trilogy. A three-page preview of the next book, Counterfeit Hope, is at the end. I’d like to think there’ll be one or two familiar characters, but the brief glimpse doesn’t tell us much. Still, I’m looking to its release next year.


Rating: 4 out of 5.


Publisher: Kregel

Publication Date: 15 March 2022

Book Information



Crystal Caudill is the author of “dangerously good historical romance,” with her work garnering awards from Romance Writers of America and ACFW. Counterfeit Love is her debut published novel.

Caudill says that reading and writing are part of her soul and have been since she first held a crayon. While she considered writing to be an escape from challenges and struggles and a way to keep her sanity, Caudill would come to recognize that God used it as a teaching tool. “The stories came through my fingertips, but they were marked with His fingerprints,” she shares.

As she delved into history and crafted her own stories of hope through danger, Caudill would answer the call to pursue writing as a career after her first writer’s conference. “My stories are still filled with danger, struggle, and history, but they are also permeated with the hope and love of Christ. I hope they are dangerously good. Good for the heart and for the soul.”

She is a stay-at-home mom and caregiver, and when she isn’t writing, Caudill can be found playing board games with her family, drinking hot tea, or reading other great books at her home outside Cincinnati, Ohio.

Crystal Caudill’s Website

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