Winnifred Rose Wylde is an avid reader of the wildly popular romance novels written by Percy Valentine and has notions of being a heroine in such novels. While attending the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, she witnesses an apparent kidnapping of a young lady.
Her father is Chief Inspector at the Chicago Police Department and when she tells him of what she saw, he thinks it’s just a figment of her overactive imagination. In an attempt to placate her, he allows her to investigate this further, as long as his newest Detective – Jude Thorpe acts as her bodyguard. Winnie agrees and begins her investigation.
Almost immediately upon beginning her undercover work, she meets with the suspected kidnapper and interviews to become his secretary. She quickly becomes convinced he is guilty of more than just the kidnapping she witnessed. While watching over Winnie, Jude has a private investigation ongoing concerning the mysterious death of his brother-in-law.
During this time, Winnie meets her favorite author serendipitously through the machinations of her High Society Aunt. A love triangle soon ensues in which Winnie falls in love with Jude, Jude falls in love with Winnie but is forbidden to court her. Percy is allowed to court her but seems more interested in her as his “muse” than as a love interest.
Will Winnie expose H.H. Holmes and his crimes, or will she become his next victim?
I really enjoyed the character of Winnie. I love a good Historical Fiction with a strong-willed, female as the main character. Ms. Hitchcock does a brilliant job of allowing her spunk and spirit to shine through even within the constraints of what “society” deems appropriate for young ladies of this time period.
The Christian aspect of this book was woven in subtly throughout. There were no “preachy” areas in this book. There were areas where Scriptures or prayers were shared, but I felt it would be natural for a Christian to either reach for a soothing Scripture or to pray at those moments.
While based around the first American serial killer, H.H. Holmes, his character was not fully fleshed out for me. I understand that because this is a Christian novel, there would be no graphic descriptions of his crimes, but I did still expect a more detailed account of his “evil”. In my opinion, he’s portrayed more as an insurance fraudster than a killer. In real life, he admitted to killing 27, which makes him a very sinister person, but this aspect was never really touched on in the novel.
Romance is not my genre of choice, but I’m happy to say the romance aspect of this novel was done well and tastefully. Overall, I enjoyed reading this book and would definitely recommend it to Historical Fiction fans.
Mysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair
Step into True Colors — a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime
While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as an exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for a bodyguard.
Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?
About the Author:
Grace Hitchcock is the author of The White City and The Gray Chamber from Barbour Publishing. She has written multiple novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.
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