MrsK's Seasoned Reader Picks

Saturday, November 14, 2015

A Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love

ISBN: 9781401687595
Publisher's Synopsis:
When India Hartley is accused of murder, she must uncover the deceptions of others to save herself.
India Hartley, a famous and beautiful actress, is now alone after her father’s death and embarks upon a tour of theaters across the South. Her first stop is Savannah’s Southern Palace. On the eve of the second night’s performance, something goes horribly wrong. Her co-star, Arthur Sterling, is shot dead on stage in front of a packed house, and India is arrested and accused of the crime.
A benefactor hires Philip Sinclair, the best—and handsomest—lawyer in Savannah to defend India. A widower, Philip is struggling to reinvent his worn-out plantation on St. Simons Island. He needs to increase his income from his law practice in order to restore Indigo Point, and hardly anything will bring him more new clients than successfully defending a famous actress on a murder charge.
Because India can’t go anywhere in town without being mobbed, Philip persuades the judge handling her case to let him take her to Indigo Point until her trial date. India is charmed by the beauty of the Georgia lowcountry and is increasingly drawn to Philip. But a locked room that appears to be a shrine to Philip’s dead wife and the unsolved disappearance of a former slave girl raise troubling questions. Piecing together clues in an abandoned boat and a burned-out chapel, India discovers a trail of dark secrets that lead back to Philip, secrets that ultimately may hold the key to her freedom. If only he will believe her.

"Gunfire exploded to the right of the stage,
a burst of sound that temporarily deafened her...
Two burly officers leapt onto the stage,
seized her by both arms,
and manhandled her into a police wagon..." 
MrsK's Review:

India Hartley is devastated, she had no clue that on December 20, 1870 her life, her career, and her safety would be threatened. As the morning dawned, India's only concern was about the "upstaging" Mr. Sterling had committed during the previous nights performance. Presently, while India had her cheek pressed against "the cold bars" she caught a glimpse of gray daylight. Would the magistrate realize that she was "not to blame" for the gun shot at the Southern Palace Theater?

"India Hartley, you are charged with the murder of Arthur Sterling
and are hereby bound over for trial at a date to be determined."
So many "if only" thoughts crashed in and out of India's mind. Why had Mr. Philbrick insisted on changing the script prior to that nights performance? How was the prop gun replaced by hers? Why was Mr. Sinclair "going to such lengths to assist a total stranger?" For now, India had to accept Mr. Sinclair's services, as well as her release into his custody. For now, India would be scurried away from the "juicy scandal." India was on her way to St. Simons, an island south of Savannah . Her destination was Indigo Point where Mr. Sinclair's family owned a war-torn plantation. The only hope that India could grasp a hold of was a type of safety net that had been flung into her possession by a Mrs. Sutton Mackay. True, she did not know who Mrs. Mackay was. She only knew that Mrs. Mackay had offered her a blessing when she needed it.

"Oh, what a man was this Philip Sinclair!
She couldn't remember the last time she had felt so sheltered."
At Indigo Point, India will find the shadowing of a murder charge briefly fading. Those days will not necessarily be carefree, and yet, India will regain hope, strength, and a re-acquaintance with an inner gift for helping others in need. There will be opportunities for disclosures, for smaller mysteries to be illuminated. Mysteries in which, once truth is revealed, all of the lives from the theater and Indigo Point will converge into one single focal point... India's trial!
 "Gazing at the blackened bricks and crooked chimney, India shivered.
She couldn't give it a name, but she could feel something dark and foreboding gathering there,
waiting in the shifting shadows."

With delightfully detailed settings, enjoyable conversations, and the hint of a blessed future... the reader is given a brief journey back in time when loyalty, a passion for your heritage, and a decisiveness of hope can bring every obstacle into submission.
"A lie is the truth in masquerade,
written in dark misfortune's book."
Who can be trusted?
Enjoyable read!
Perfect for any wintry storm.   
Meet the Author:
dorothylove  Born in the middle of the twentieth century, Dorothy Love is certain she arrived on Planet Earth a hundred years too late. An avid scholar of 19th century American history, she spends most of her time poking through museums, reading dusty books, and studying the journals of the Victorian-era women whose lives inspire her Southern historical novels.
She prefers a fountain pen to a computer keyboard, print books to digital downloads, and face to face conversations to 140 character tweets. Though she admits that modern technology makes it easier to stay in touch with her readers, whenever possible she avoids automated phone systems, online banking, and booking her own airline tickets. When she’s not busy researching or writing books or avoiding technology, she enjoys teaching at writers conferences. She is a former associate writer in residence at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, FL. She has taught at dozens of  writers conferences nationwide including the Florida First Coast Writers Conference, the Columbus Ohio Writers Conference, the South Carolina Writers Workshop, and the graduate program at Hollins University in Roanoke, VA,  and was a featured author on the Writer to Writer series for Florida Public Television.

"I received this book for free from the Fiction Guild for this review."
Thomas Nelson

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