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4 Stars Out Of 5
August 28, 2013
This is a charming mystery and romance set during the Civil War in Washington, D.C. The main characters are Juliet Button and Carter Forbes. Carter is one of the supporting characters from the first book in the series, Diamond in the Rough. Now, the series continues with his story.
Carter now has access to President Lincoln through his boss Allan Pinkerton. When Lincoln's young son Tad is kidnapped, Lincoln wants the best Pinkerton agent on the case, which is Carter Forbes. Carter enlists the help of a spiritualist, Juliet Button, to help him investigate clues to Tad's kidnappers. Carter doesn't want to be attracted to Juliet as he objects to her profession and thinks her a swindler of honest and innocent people. However, he is attracted to her more and more.
Juliet Button or Miss Avila as her clients know her has to support her family. Her family actually is a group of outcasts and not related to her biologically. Juliet has a compassionate heart and is known for helping others. She grew up as a magician's assistant, illusionist, makeup artist and is used to performing so she has put her only professional skills to work to earn a living for her family. She "speaks" to the dead for a fee; she is a medium. Her "family" helps her with her parlor tricks unbeknownst to her clients. When she is forced to help Carter defraud another medium, she is unwittingly involved in another mystery. She likes Carter and wants to help find little Tad. She has experience with the seamier side of life in Washington, D.C. so her help to Carter is invaluable. Can there be a future between a con artist and a Pinkerton agent? Juliet thinks surely not, but decides to trust the Lord for her future.
I really enjoyed the mystery in this story. The kidnapping of Tad Lincoln and the subsequent search for clues created great tension and kept me turning the pages to see what was going to happen. I liked the short chapters, which I thought gave a good, quick pace to the plot. The characters were well-developed with good dialogue for easy reading. I recommend this book and am looking for to the next book in the series.
Juliet Button has such a big heart, her family are not blood relatives, but heart family. She does have an unusual occupation of being a medium. She wants to help others who are in pain, and give them some comfort in their grieving.
Enter Pinkerton Detective Carter Forbes, he meets Miss Avila, Juliet's business name. She helps him expose a fraud to help Carter's sister, and they begin a tentative friendship.
The story is set during Lincoln's Presidency, there is dislike on both sides, and you never know who is really on the side of the North. There is a lot of action built into the book. We visit the White House, and find Mary Lincoln in mourning with the loss of another of her sons.
When trouble hits again, Carter is helped by Juliet. She is a master of disguise, and helps others besides herself. What an amazing woman she is.
You hope throughout the book for her to come out on top. This is one page turner, and you never know what is about to happen next, or who the bad guy is. Enjoy!
I received this book through First Wild Card Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
I have always been amazed reading collaboration novels and often wonder who's voice I was reading. In Jennifer AlLee and Lisa Karon Richardson's book, Vanishing Act, the second release in their Charm & Deceipt series (the first book was Diamond in the Rough), I found myself often wondering if they each wrote a chapter or if they just simply worked together or if they each took a character to write. But if the truth be told, it didn't really matter as the characters and plot were woven tightly together and I soon realized it didn't matter how it happened, just that it did happen and a beautiful historical novel was produced.
Vanishing Act, takes place in Washington D.C. during the Civil War. A young woman, Juliet Button, has adopted a group of misfit people as her family. In order to support them, she relies on her years spent as an assistant to her Illusionist uncle and now poses as a Medium who speaks to the dead. During one of her sittings, a Pinkerton agent, Carter Forbes sits in and afterwards threatens to shut her down unless she helps him convince his sister that another Medium, Lord Shelston, is a charlatan duping his sister out of money. Juliet, who's "medium" name is Miss Avila, agrees to do so reluctantly. She and Agent Forbes make an appointment to go to one of Lord Shelston's sittings. She insists she go in disguise so as not to ruin her reputation in town. During the sitting, she foils all Lord Shelston's tricks and after the sitting ends, Agent Forbes suggests Lord Shelston leave town, which he does. Agent Forbes then requests Juliet join him at his home to let his sister Emily know what a conniving cheat Shelston was, but Emily will have nothing to do with it. In time, well you'll have to read the book to see if Emily ever comes around or follows Lord Shelston.
Juliet, Miss Avila, made Agent Forbes promise if she helped him with his sister that he would leave her and her 'family' alone. But the unthinkable happens and Agent Forbes finds himself asking Juliet for help again. President Lincoln's son Tad has been kidnapped and Carter Forbes is the Pinkerton agent in charge of finding Tad and bringing his kidnappers to justice. Carter needs help creating personas and he knows Juliet is a master at creating illusions with makeup and dress. This starts a whirlwind story of murder and mayhem through the city of Washington D.C.
These two talented authors created two wonderful and believable characters in Juliet Button and Carter Forbes. I didn't want to say good-bye to them. When that happens in a book I know it was well worth the read. I also loved how they created their Mr. Lincoln. He was three dimensional and could have walked right off the page. Fascinating story.
Did I like this book? No, I LOVED it! I love historical, especially set during the Civil War period in our Nation's history. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good historical novel. There was just enough balance of history, suspense, love story and Christian thread.
On a 5-Star scale - 5 Stars!!!!!
I would like to thank the publisher, Whitaker House, for my Advanced Reader's Copy. I received my copy for free in order to read it and give my honest opinion, which I have done.