Book Review: Deception By Gaslight by Kate Belli
In 1888, the midst of the Gilded Age, Genevieve Stewart is both part of the ‘Astor 400’, the wealthiest upper echelons of New York society, and not. Finding the endless whirl of society unfulfilling and the suggested life path of marrying another of the Astor 400 unpalatable, she becomes, with her eccentric but wealthy family’s backing, a journalist. And at the beginning of the book, she is on the trail of the elusive ‘Robin Hood’, a jewel thief targeting the rich and allegedly, sharing their spoils with the poor, when she runs afoul of a gang of street toughs. Rescued by a stranger, she is astounded to encounter him in a ballroom a few days later and discover him to be Daniel McCaffrey, a millionaire who inherited his wealth in unusual circumstances.
With the instincts of a born journalist, Genevieve senses a story and Daniel finds that he can’t just leave her to blunder into a potential minefield, with the rich and powerful willing to kill to maintain secrecy around shady dealings.
A mystery with a side of fairly slow-build romance, this is excellently written and feels very authentic to the period. There was an intriguing twist in the identity of Robin Hood - and his reasons for stealing weren’t at all what I expected - and then an odd time-jump of a year right at the end of the book, before an event which leaves the narrative on a cliffhanger and sets up for what is presumably intended to be a series featuring Genevieve and Daniel as the main characters. I hope we get to see more of Esmie and Rupert in the next book as I was fascinated by the pair of them, both flawed as they were.
Five stars for an authentic-feeling Gilded Age mystery with a likable heroine and an intriguing hero.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this title via NetGalley.