1. A Lady in Disguise
    A Lady in Disguise
    Sandra Byrd
    Howard Books / 2017 / Trade Paperback
    $10.49 Retail: $15.99 Save 34% ($5.50)
    5 Stars Out Of 5 41 Reviews
    Availability: In Stock
    Stock No: WW717937
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  1. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Mesmerizing and Beautiful story
    March 21, 2017
    Mrs ARS
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    A Lady in Disguise is a gothic story filled with intrigue and mystery told in first person that really put me in the heroine's shoes. Starting out rather sadly and continuing along with that theme, we have Gillian Young bereft of her family and looking toward an uncertain future, quite possibly alone. Her father's death and the absence of support from his fellow friends and officers have definitely caused Gillian to pause. Strange occurrences and threatening confrontations only begin to make her very suspicious of the events surrounding her father's death. Add to that the growing unease that something sinister has been hidden and shadows of doubt have been cast upon her concerning her beloved father.

    Gillian is a costume designer who finds she is the heir to her family's ancestral home. She meets her neighbor Viscount Thomas Lockwood who mesmerizes her yet she is unsure of him and his possible ulterior motives. We watch with her trying to interpret his actions and looks that are as puzzling to the reader as to the heroine. I waited in anticipation at each visit he had with her and hoped he revealed he was a noble character.

    I was also intrigued with the history that author Sandra Byrd brought into her story. I was not aware of the pantomime children in Victorian England who on one hand delighted the wealthy with the very elaborate plays they were involved with, and then to be turned out as outcasts when they are too old. Looked and judged oftentimes with an air of being disreputable. Gillian's heart was very open to these poor children and her charity was love in action.

    This novel was filled with mystery, themes of love (neighbor, family, romantic), danger, and foreboding all set against an atmosphere that was growing only tenser with each page turning. I liked that there was just a brief touch of the supernatural, to give us a ray of hope when all else looked doomed. What a satisfying ending and a very nice nod to a certain favorite fairy tale.

    I received a copy of this novel for free from the author and publisher. I was not required to give a positive review and all views and opinions expressed are my own.
  2. Missouri
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    I thoroughly enjoy reading Sandra Byrd's historical fiction novels!
    March 21, 2017
    Kathleen
    Missouri
    Age: Over 65
    Gender: female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Tuesday, March 21, 2017

    A Lady in Disguise by Sandra Byrd, 2017

    Daughters of Hampshire Series, Book 3

    My Review:

    I thoroughly enjoy reading Sandra Byrd's historical fiction novels! In this story the protagonist will be solving a mystery close to her heart ~ what is behind the death of her father and... henceforth uncovering circumstances revealing a hidden life?

    England ~ early-spring 1883

    Miss Gillian Young and her attendant stand graveside at the burial of her Papa at the chapel in the village near Winton next to her Mamma with none in attendance beyond the vicar. Andrew Young had been an Inspector with the Metropolitan Police Chelsea division. Upon the late night arrival at Cheyne Gardens in Chelsea at her townhouse, they find there has been a break-in ~ and the interloper is still there rummaging through their house and goods. Questions loom as Gillian sets out on an adventure of her own to tie up the loose ends. Where it will carry her is unknown to find truth of dubious activities that has escaped all of them.

    As the newly appointed principal costume designer for the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and individual seamstress of designer gowns for a titled lady of merit for the April-to-mid-August Season, Gillian has access within the theatre and society. Her mother had been an actress here in past golden days. She aspires to deem clues to solve the mysterious happenings before the officials and those wanting secret substances to remain hidden.

    I took a deep breath and forced my mind to recall the joy of seeing my latest creations on that stage. What a pleasure that had been!

    --A Lady in Disguise, 32.

    In her search for seamstresses to assist with her theatrical wardrobe for the upcoming show, Gillian knows just where to begin her search: The Theatrical Mission.

    Like herbs in a pestle, life steadily ground out the essence of those who did not have access to comforts.

    --Ibid., 62.

    Her mother had spoken of the Cause in notes Gillian uncovered and instead of rejecting them, she indeed cared to include those no longer needed in pantomimes because of their advancing ages beyond being "cute."

    ~*~

    Enters Lord Lockwood whom Gillian had gazed on horseback afar at the graveyard. He soon came to deliver a hamper from his mother with tea and delicacies. As heiress of Winton Park, her mother's childhood home, he offered to assemble a list of attentions needed for the large country home and estate.

    Upon returning to London to her work obligations, he stated he too was frequently in attendance to his investments and other concerns. A perfect opportunity for arrival it seems.

    Gillian first saw Thomas Lockwood's image again in her sketches that seemed to surface unbidden in her drawings.

    Until his carriage arrives at their London townhouse with a messenger requesting if he might call and bring his mother in attendance? Thus, begins an informal acquisition of the needs of Winton, and an open door to friendship.

    Warnings come to not interfere with the past and her visit to King Street where her father met his untimely death.

    As you likely will know, Gillian is not one to be set aside. Sandra Byrd is a tremendous author with detailed characters, which I love, and a firm story surrounding a past and a future. A hope attained!

    ~*~

    You may read this book as a stand-alone, but you will love books 1 and 2 in the series too!!

    I was provided a copy of A Lady in Disguise by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    Review from Rambles of a SAHM
    March 21, 2017
    Fitzysmom
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    A Lady In Disguise is the third and final book in the Daughters of Hampshire series. Of the three books included in the series it is by far my favorite. If you've not read the first two books, never fear, each are stand alone titles so you can read them in any order.

    After reading the series I am convinced that Sandra Byrd will be a name synonymous with Gothic romance in the future. She has taken all of the elements from our beloved old school Gothics and brought them forward with a few updated twists.

    While most of the action takes place in London there is still a run down estate that lurks in the background. The heroine's parents are gone and her father's death has a mystery surrounding it. There are characters that should be trustworthy but they aren't. There are those that are trusted but shouldn't be. And there are certainly those that waffle back and forth between trustworthiness and sinister motives. The tension of figuring out the truth is delicious!

    A Lady In Disguise is a wonderfully entertaining tale but it also has a great bit of depth. Mixed among the mystery and intrigue is the very real truth of the ill treatment of women and children. Sandra Byrd gives us a glimpse into the hidden-in-plain-sight world of the poor, child labor, and prostitution.

    My favorite overriding element of the book was the fact that while we as ordinary people can't help the masses we can reach out and make a difference in the life of an individual. Think of the impact if we would each reach out to just one other individual and lift their burden. The domino effect would be massive.

    I look forward to reading the next series of Gothics from Sandra Byrd. I would recommend this book and the entire series to those that enjoy mystery and intrigue mixed with a bit of historical romance. If you have a book club this would be a wonderful choice. Lots of different discussion possibilities are included in the stories.

    I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
  4. Age: 35-44
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Excellent Gothic Suspense!
    March 21, 2017
    eLynda
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    I have not read many novels set in Victorian times, but I do love all things British. Having read an earlier book in this series, I eagerly awaited this final installment in Byrd's Daughters of Hampshire. As with her previous novel, the well-defined setting and relatable characters placed in perilous circumstances is a winning combination for a fantastic page turner!

    Gillian is neither a wilting heroine nor is she an out of place example of modernity--I greatly appreciate that the author kept both her characters and the setting historically accurate. For her own time, Gillian is an independent, strong woman, but also one who finds herself in considerable danger physically as well as financially. She is vulnerable without the protection of her father or any extended family, but she has no idea who is trustworthy so does the best she can by her wits. She is realistic, and I love that she can be swayed by others (both for good and for bad) and that she can also admit when her judgement has been faulty.

    The romance is sometimes frustrating with misunderstandings and lack of trust, but all of that is understandable in a suspenseful tale where the heroine isn't sure who is her enemy. There are many exceptionally swoon-worthy moments that make up for the frustrating scenes, however, and the hero is especially romantic, perhaps even more so than Gillian.

    The prose is often exquisite--I mark portions of the text that stand out while I read and there are many here. For example, the passage where she remembers her mother's passing was especially poignant, describing her father as "hand[ing] her, gently, to the angels who came to carry her to her waiting savior." That was just one passage that had me smiling and tearing up at the same time with the beauty of both the wording and the event itself.

    Other portions have a heavy, atmospheric feel to them: darkness and light, the ever-present fog and smog, the rain, ominous shadow characters that hover at the edges of scenes--the setting almost becomes another character itself, pointing us in one direction or another or alerting us that things are not as they seem. The tension mounts almost continually, making the book difficult to put down for more than a few minutes.

    This is only the second novel I have read by Sandra Byrd, but its quality is impeccable and makes me want to read everything else she has written. Finely crafted characters and a fast paced plot combine with outstanding writing to make a thoroughly enjoyable Gothic novel of suspense and mystery. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, especially for those who enjoy Victorian settings, suspenseful plots, or a good romance. I loved it!

    I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.
  5. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    "If we each do for one what we cannot do for many, we can make a difference." Quote from "A Lady in Disguise"
    March 21, 2017
    Margie Mijares
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    "Do not marry a man if you are not sure he loves you for yourself alone, dearest little daisy," she said. "Never a man about whom you even think, for a moment, he loves me not." Excerpt from "A Lady in Disguise" by Sandra Byrd taken from a childhood conversation between Gillian and her mother.

    A Lady in Disguise is set in England in 1883 and Sandra Byrd has paid impeccable attention to historical details. Miss Gillian Young is a young woman who has just lost her father. He was a police officer who died under questionable circumstances...accident or murder? The 1st mystery in the book. Gillian is now an orphan living in the home she had previously shared with her father in London along with a few servants and her mother's long-time companion, Mrs. W. She has also inherited her mother's family home in Hampshire, Winton Park. Her grandfather had shunned Gillian's mother because he felt she had disgraced the family by choosing a career as an actress and marrying a policeman, over the plans he had for her future. Gillian's visits to Winton Park had been limited and somewhat unpleasant. She now owns the home which has fallen into disrepair over the past few years. How will she be able to make the needed repairs to Winton Park and maintain her own home on the wages she earns as a seamstress to the London elite? She gladly accepts a large commission from the theater, which will boost her income, but will it be enough. Gillian's once pleasant life is about to take a turn for the worse as she leaves her father's poorly attended funeral and returns home to find the police have searched her home. Why? What has cast this pall over her father's spotless reputation? Who is following Gillian's every move? Who can she turn to? Who can she trust? Why does she feel threatened by the people she once considered to be close friends? Who is trying to ruin her reputation and her livelihood? What can she do to protect herself and those who are under the protection of her roof? I believe that you will find yourself turning page after page, just as I did, to find the answers to these questions and many others. A thoroughly enjoyable book!

    There are two other books in the "Daughters of Hampshire" series that I have not yet read. They are "Mist of Midnight" and "Bride of a Distant Isle". I plan to read the others, but not having read them did not lessen the pleasure of reading "A Lady in Disguise".

    "I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own."
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