When a man arrives at the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, anxious to hire them to find a missing heiress, Eunice Holbrooke realizes her past has finally caught up with her . . . and that she may no longer be able to hide under the disguise that has kept her safe for so long.
Arthur Livingston’s goal in life is to make his mark on the world as a mining industrialist, but after the man who could help him achieve his goal is murdered, Arthur feels compelled to seek justice for the family–but he’s left with more questions than answers after the eccentric Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency refuses to take on his case.
Desperate to conceal her real identity and avoid the irritatingly handsome Arthur, Eunice takes on a different case that requires her to go deep undercover and entangles her in one troublesome situation after another. When other secrets come to light, Eunice has no choice but to confront her past, hopeful that it will set her free but knowing it could very well place her life–and the lives of those she loves–in jeopardy.
Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher, the opinions below are my own.
Upfront, I have to say that Jen Turano is one of my favorite fiction writers. You know how there are some authors whose works you want to read as soon as you hear of its release? Jen Turano belongs to that list. Having read the first two in The Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency series, I was excited to learn the last book in the trilogy would be about the mysterious and eccentric Eunice. She’d intrigued me with her widow’s veils and reluctance to be seen. The first sentence in the excerpt is an absolute stunner resulting in another huge mystery. A couple of pages later, one of her secrets is revealed and it’s another doozy. I grabbed a copy of To Disguise the Truth as soon as I could. And then life got in the way, and I had to reluctantly delay my reading which is a shame because this really is a most delightful way to pass the time.
The book is set in 1887, the year writer Nellie Bly’s expose on the Blackwell’s Island Insane Asylum was released. Why is this important? The answer is because Eunice also goes undercover at the hospital. Although the plight of the women held there in appalling conditions is a serious one, Turano displays her writing skills with a comedic scene where Eunice must take on several nurses physically in the dining room.
To Disguise the Truth is set during one of my favorite periods of American history: the Gilded Age. It starts as a lighthearted historical romance set in New York City but turns into a strong historical whodunnit set out of state in an unexpected location. One scene had all the suspects gathered in a room while Eunice used her investigation skills to ferret out a killer. It’s also a Christian novel – published by a major Christian publisher – but for most of the book talk of attending church and thoughts of God only crop up in passing during conversations between the characters. There’s no “in your face” preaching until one of the final chapters, and even that’s mild compared to some Christian fiction books I’ve read in the past.
Over the years, Jen Turano has created characters you simply yearn to get to know better. To Disguise the Truth delighted me with Eunice’s story – one I hadn’t possibly imagined – as I’d wanted to know it since reading To Steal a Heart. If you’ve read my review on that book, and the next book To Write a Wrong, you’ll know my favorite character is Winston the pirate dog. I was delighted to see him reappear, even if only for a moment. The character who grabbed me the most this time around, however, was Arthur’s younger brother Chase. I would’ve loved to have seen him have a book to himself, especially after he starts working at the Inquiry Agency. Alas, how he survives will most likely remain a mystery never to be solved.
Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 18 January 2022
Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO.