Book Review: Love in Disguise by Carol Cox

Can she solve the crime before they uncover her true identity?

Jobless and down to her last dime, Ellie Moore hears about a position with the Pinkerton Detective Agency and believes it’s the perfect chance to put her acting skills and costumes to use. Reluctantly, the agency agrees to give her one assignment, one chance to prove herself. Disguised as Lavinia Stewart, a middle-aged widow, Ellie travels to Arizona to begin her investigation. When the need arises, she also transforms into the dazzling Jessie Monroe, whose vivacious personality encourages people to talk.

Mine owner Steven Pierce is going to lose his business if he can’t figure out who’s stealing his silver shipments. In his wildest dreams, he never expected to receive help from a gray-haired widow…or to fall in love with her beautiful niece.

Then the thieves come after Lavinia and Jessie. Ellie isn’t safe no matter which character she plays! Should she give up and reveal her true identity? What will Steven do when he realizes the woman he’s falling in love with doesn’t really exist?

Set in 1880s Arizona, Love in Disguise blends romance, humor, and mystery for a can’t-put-down read.

When I got my very first Bethany House reviewer email, there were three options: Short Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer [which I already had – and had read by then], a new book by Tracie Peterson [#2 in a series where I hadn’t read book 1 – and my sister had already ordered it] and Love in Disguise by Carol Cox.

So Love in Disguise was a bit of a ‘winner by default’, but I’m so glad it did!

I’d not read anything by Ms. Cox before so was pleasantly surprised to enjoy this book as much as I did.

Ellie, desperate to survive, takes a job as a Pinkerton but feels completely out of her element. Shes able to take on the disguises easily enough but the detecting part is completely new and she feels a bit like a fish out of water [in Arizona…].

She succeeds beyond the expectations [and those of her employer] and in the process, gets the guy [of course – it’s a romance!] and a potential new career outside of the theater world.

I loved both of Ellie’s characters – especially Lavinia. I also liked Steven and had a pretty good idea who the bad guy was – though his unwilling henchman caught me by surprise. I knew there would be one, but never guessed who.

One thing I would have liked would have been a bit more time at the end – after the disguises come off and Steven and Ellie begin their relationship. Not much but a couple more pages of Steven getting to know Ellie and her changed relationship with her God and Steven – including her own self-image.

I look forward to another book by Ms. Cox and hope to find one set in the same town where I can see Steven and Ellie some more :).

Overall Rating: 8.25 out of 10

Thanks to Bethany House for a review copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

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