Charlotte Gleason, a rich heiress from England, escapes a family crisis by traveling to America in order to marry the even wealthier Conrad Tremaine. She soon decides that an arranged marriage is not for her and persuades her maid, Dora, to take her place.
What begins as the whim of a spoiled rich girl wanting adventure becomes a test of survival amid poverty beyond Charlotte's blackest nightmares. As for Dora, she lives a fairy tale complete with gowns, jewels, and lavish mansions--yet is tormented by guilt and the presence of another love that will not die.
Will their masquerade be discovered? Will one of them have second thoughts? There is no guarantee the switch will work. It's a risk. It's the chance of a lifetime.
A lovely tale of America's Gilded Age unfolds as the pages turn on this historical romance. Lottie teaches Dora and the reader that "the first rule of being a lady" is to be "polite, prompt, pretty, and proper," and the second rule is to "smile." That sounds doable, but with the rules of dining, the restrictions of proper clothing, and propriety, we see our characters struggle. Each girl wants to be free and marry for love, but is that possible?
Along with a look at the extravagant party given to introduce their special visitor from England to the Four Hundred of society's elite, held inside the mansion owned by the nouveau riche fictional Tremaine family, the reader experiences the horrible conditions of Five Points, the first American slums, where three to four babies would suffocate each night in the airless tenements. What a contrast!
I read this novel straight through; I did not want to put it down. Although I guessed at the ending, I was never certain that I was guessing correctly. If historical fiction is your genre, grab this one.
Discussion questions are included.
Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Bethany House for my Advance Reading Copy.
If you would like to read the first chapter, click here.
If you would like to buy a copy, click here.
I am willing to give away my copy of this book. Note: This is an Advanced Reader Copy. It is illegal to resell ARCs.
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