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A Dangerous Deceit

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Dangerous Deceit (2017) Alissa Johnson

That was completely unexpected. In a very good way.

Gabriel Arkwright is the third Gentleman Thief-taker, and like Samuel, he has a past he doesn’t talk about. He’s also glib and very good at becoming who he needs to be for each case.

Jane Ballenger lives in an isolated country house hiding both her disability and her past.

She wasn’t a clumsy woman. Her faults were legion. She was easily distracted. She was rude. She lacked a proper sense of humor. She was hard of hearing. According to some, she was a proper idiot. But, as a rule, she could put one foot in front of the other without making a spectacle of herself.

For as long as Jane had been aware there was something wrong with her, secrecy had been her one and only consideration. The need to be honest had never presented itself.

And that is what made this story. Yes, the mystery was interesting, but Jane’s hearing problems were fascinating, as were the way she was treated because of those problem. Let me be clear, she isn’t deaf, not really. Here is part of the author’s note at the start of the book (so I’m not giving anything away).

When I set out to write the character of Jane Ballenger, a woman with central auditory processing disorder, I knew I was going to run into some interesting obstacles.

Although it has gained some attention in recent years, CAPD is still not a particularly well-known disorder. It’s also not something I could give a name to in a book set in Victorian times, when the condition was not recognized.

Jane’s reasons for hiding this problem from Gabriel are well-founded, but they also place the both of them in significant danger multiple times.

She looked from Gabriel to the tied mare. “This horse isn’t for me to ride, is it?”

“No, cheese fork amen to furlough.”

She whipped her gaze back to his. Cheese fork? Surely not. “I…”

But there is far more to Jane than that, of course. First and foremost is her love for the couple that has taken care of her since she was ten. There is also the fact that her fears are completely justified, given both her past and society at the time. So although she knows her problems are placing her in greater danger, just glibly giving up her secrets is not an option.

Which is what makes me like the story so well. Gabriel, of course, has his secrets, which are interesting, but not nearly as interesting as Jane. Which is both a strength and a weakness in the story, since Gabriel’s issues feel almost tacked into the story to provide some parity. But I didn’t really care because I found Jane so interesting.

I highly recommend this book, and you do not need to have read the first two books to enjoy this one.
Rating: 8.5/10

Published by the author

Categories: 8/10, British, Historical, Mystery, Private Eye, Romance     Comments (0)    



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