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.
I’m not going to lie to you – I’m not a fan of historical reading. When I first received this book, I wasn’t really sure how much I was expecting to enjoy it. First, I had never read anything by Dorothy Love before and the title really made me unsure what the book might be about; and second, it looked like one of those “period pieces”. I’m very happy to report that I was pleasantly surprised.
This novel is set in 1870 Georgia. Accused of the shooting death of her leading man on the stage of Savannah’s Southern Palace theater, famed actress India Hartley is sequestered at Indigo Point, the St Simons Island home of her defense attorney Philip Sinclair. For me this book was a “quick read” as I sped through the pages getting to the outcome of the jury.
A Respectable Actress is a well written book and does take care of wrapping up all the loose ends. For mystery and suspense fans, this book is highly recommended. There were some plot twists to the murder and mystery as well, and it was enough to keep me guessing. I will admit that I was a bit surprised to find that this book was published by Thomas Nelson, a Christian publishing company, but I didn’t find a “faith message”. Further, the main character of the story really doesn’t have faith in God, and the only time church is brought up is when it is used as an opportunity for India to discuss possible business. I believe some Christian themes such as hope and faith should have been added, especially given the fact that themes like murder and suicide are contained within the story.
This book was definitely a worthwhile read, and from what I understand, several characters from Ms. Love’s other book, The Bracelet, are included in this novel so that fans of The Bracelet will find this continued story of Celia Browning Mackay interesting.
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.
Dorothy enjoys traveling with her husband, collecting antique ephemera, and playing Frisbee with Jake, the couple’s golden retriever. A native Southerner, she currently lives in the Texas hill country.
I received a copy of this book without cost as part of the Fiction Guild Team Challenge in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.