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Friday, May 3, 2019

#NetGalley Book Review: The White City by Grace Hitchcock

This is a very sweet historical romance.
The White City
by Grace Hitchcock
The White City: True Colors: Historical Stories of American Crime by [Hitchcock, Grace]
File Size: 810 KB
Publisher: Barbour Books (March 1, 2019)
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical Romance, Historical Mystery
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0

Mysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair
Step into True Colors -- a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime
While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.
Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?

Winnifred Wylde is the nineteen-year-old daughter of a top Chicago police inspector. After the death of her mother when Winnie was ten, her Aunt Lillian stepped in to help guide the family. Winnie wants to enjoy her reading and visits to the Chicago World’s Fair, but Aunt Lillian wants Winnifred to decorously attend social events and secure a marital match. Inspector Wylde is happy to leave the socializing to Aunt Lillian as he is determined that Winnie marry someone other than a law man.

Winnie is at the Fair when she sees a young woman taken off by a man. Her father isn’t willing to call the police out to investigate because she made a previous allegation that turned out groundless. Inspector Wylde agrees to allow Winnie to continue to visit the Fair but only with a police guard, a new man on the staff, Jude Thorpe. Jude has a good reputation from New York and has secretly come to Chicago to investigate the death of his brother-in-law.

Winnie soon spots the man she suspects and wrangles a job interview so she can learn more undercover. Jude has already been on hand to ‘rescue’ Winnie from the drudgery of a suitor she wants nothing to do with. Now he is standing by to protect her if needed as she works undercover. As they share time together investigating, their easy friendship grows. Assuming Winnie can come through the assignment safely, is there any chance for a continued relationship with family (and boss) set against them?

I liked the characters right away. They are cheery, bright and imaginative. Winnie loves books and gets to meet her favorite author in a surprising element of the story. The mystery plot develops slowly, but this allows the relationship, with conflicts, to develop. I found the author’s afterward interesting as she explained this story was based upon a true crime event.

The author uses fun quotes from Jane Austin books and others to introduce the chapters. I also liked the light scripture and faith references. During a frightening situation, Winnie pulls on her memory verses for support. The story reads easily and moves along at a good pace. There is a good mix of mystery, suspense and romance. I would like to read more in this series and recommend this to readers who enjoy clean, historic romance/mystery.

Source: NetGalley 2019. This qualifies for 2019NetGalley goal.

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