Facing the Past While Planning for the Future
I’ve been looking forward to checking back in with Elizabeth Miles for months. She is the star of the Counterfeit Lady series from Victoria Thompson. The series is something different, and I love it for that. City of Schemes was another delightful book.
If you are new to the series, you really need to meet Elizabeth. She is a conwoman raised in the business in 1910’s New York City. However, she’s put that behind her (well, almost behind her) after getting engaged to Gideon Bates, a member of society. She seems to find herself getting involved in schemes despite her promises to stay away.
And if you are new to the series, I do recommend you start with the earlier books. This one builds on those earlier books in a big way, plus is contains a pretty big spoilers for the previous book in the series. Those events are crucial to character development in this book, so it didn’t surprise me at all that we got the spoilers. But it really is best to go into the book unspoiled.
Elizabeth and Gideon have kept their engagement quiet, not putting notices in the paper, and are only planning a small ceremony for family and close friends. However, when word gets into the paper anyway, they find a face from the past popping back into their lives. Oscar Thornton is not happy to learn that Elizabeth is still alive, and he wants the money that he feels she owes him. Can they stop him once and for all?
Meanwhile, Gideon has reconnected with one of his friends who has returned home from World War I. Logan Carsten had become engaged to a young woman before he left, but he fell in love with someone else while stationed in France. He intends to honor his engagement, but then, he hears from this Frenchwoman asking for his help in coming in America. Elizabeth thinks something more is going on. Can she also help Logan?
As you can see, there is plenty going on in this book to keep us engaged. As these plots unfold and circle in and out of each other, I was glued to the page, not wanting to stop until I found out what Elizabeth was planning next, especially when something would happen to derail her plans. The story unfolds in a very unique way. While I could guess a few of the things that were going on, there were still some twists I didn’t expect. I did have a quibble with the ending; I suspect if the motive for what Elizabeth did had been built up a bit more, I wouldn’t have minded what happened.
The characters are fantastic. I love Elizabeth and Gideon. Since they drive much of the story, that makes every page a delight. We’ve got a great collection of supporting players as well, and I was happy to spend time with them again. Meanwhile, the development we get here is fantastic and really does build on what has come before.
I’d forgotten just how funny these books can be. I couldn’t help but laugh at some of the antics of the characters, especially early on in the book. Things do get more serious later on, but the initial humor was great.
City of Schemes is a fantastic book. It will pull you in from page one, and you’ll be reluctant to set it down when you read the end. I’m already looking forward to finding out what the future holds for Elizabeth and Gideon.
Missing one of Elizabeth’s adventures? Check out the rest of the Counterfeit Lady series.
NOTE: I received an ARC of this book.