The World's Fair is nearing its end, but the danger in Chicago lingers.It's mid-September of 1893 and Eloisa Carstairs is the reigning beauty of Gilded Age Chicago society. To outsiders she appears to have it all. But Eloisa is living with a dark secret. Several months ago, she endured a horrible assault at the hands of Douglass Sloane, heir to one of Chicago's wealthiest families. Fearing the loss of her reputation, Eloisa confided in only one friend. That is, until she meets Detective Sean Ryan at a high-society ball.
Sean is on the outskirts of the wealthy Chicago lifestyle. Born into a poor Irish family, becoming a policeman was his best opportunity to ensure his future security. Despite society's restrictions, he is enamored with Eloisa Carstairs. Sean seethes inside at what he knows happened to her, and he will do anything to keep her safe-even if he can never earn her affections. .
Eloisa longs to feel normal again in the midst of the danger surrounding the Chicago World's Fair, but a killer is on the loose. In the last month, three debutants have been accosted in the city by an assailant wielding a stiletto. As the danger in the city increases, and as Eloisa's and Sean's romance blossoms, they both realize they want to be seen as more than how the world views them. But will they catch the killer before all their hopes come tumbling down?
Deception on Sable Hill is the second novel in Shelley Gray's Chicago World's Fair Mystery Series. Following a few months after the death of Douglass Sloane and his actions against Eloisa, which occurred at the end of the Secrets of Sloane House, Eloisa finds herself despising the parties, the conversation, and she still has not allowed herself to process, to grieve over what happened. Not only that, but as one of society's most eligible debutantes, she is also in the sights of a serial killer intent on maiming or killing the most beautiful and rich young women in Chicago. That is when Sean Ryan makes his appearance, and there is an instant connection between the two. I enjoyed watching their relationship play out as the killer continues his rampage and as both Eloisa and Sean race to figure out who the killer is before it is too late. I found the storyline interesting and full of unexpected twists, mystery, and romance. The other minor characters were well developed and added greatly to the complexity of the story. I especially liked both Sean's younger sister and his fellow detective and partner, and I really enjoyed what they added to the story. I liked both Eloisa and Sean, but I did think their relationship was rushed at times. But I did appreciate the issues that both brought to the table and how they were able to work through those together. I also found Eloisa's breakthroughs near the end as she wrestled with her thoughts and her relationship with God to be compelling as well. Overall, I found this novel to be well written and very interesting, especially in the consideration of what it really means to help others for the correct reasons and how easy it can be to hide darkness behind the mask of a friendly face. I would highly recommend this novel and the previous one to any reader looking for a compelling and thought provoking mystery.
I received this novel from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.