City of Secrets by Victoria Thompson

City of Secrets

Victoria Thompson

Elizabeth discovers that her husband's death was not accidental, and revealing the truth could threaten her friend's life. Elizabeth, along with her honest-to-a-fault beau, Gideon, delve into the sinister secrets someone would kill to keep.

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An exciting new book in the series featuring woman-on-the-run Elizabeth Miles--from the beloved national bestselling author of the Gaslight Mysteries.

Elizabeth Miles knows that honesty is not always the best policy when it comes to finding justice.
Elizabeth has discovered that navigating the rules of high society is the biggest con of all. She knows she can play the game, but so far, her only success is Priscilla Knight, a dedicated young suffragist recently widowed for the second time. Her beloved first husband died in a tragic accident and left her with two young daughters—and a sizable fortune. While she was lost in grief, Priscilla’s pastor convinced her she needed a man to look after her and engineered a whirlwind courtship and hasty marriage to fellow parishioner Endicott Knight. Now, about nine months later, Endicott is dead in what appears to be another terrible accident. 
Everyone is whispering, but that is the least of Priscilla’s troubles. She had believed Endicott was wealthy, too, but her banker tells her she has no money left and her house has been mortgaged. He also hints at a terrible scandal and refuses to help. 
Priscilla stands to lose everything, and Elizabeth is determined not to let that happen. But, as always, Elizabeth walks a fine line between using her unusual talents and revealing her own scandalous past. Elizabeth soon discovers that Endicott’s death was anything but accidental, and revealing the truth could threaten much more than Priscilla’s finances. To save her new friend’s future—and possibly her own—Elizabeth, along with her honest-to-a-fault beau, Gideon, delve into the sinister secrets someone would kill to keep.

Advance Galley Reviews

So, I went to my local library to find a copy of "City of Lies" before reading this book because I'm the type of reader who needs to read books in order. While I loved "City of Lies," this book literally BLEW ME OUT OF THE WATER. Like, WOW. I just fell in love with Elizabeth Miles even more in this book – I felt the mystery/suspense wasn't as good, but the themes, romance, and just everything else were just altogether better than book one. "City of Secrets" was absolutely AMAZING. I loved that Elizabeth just stuck with her principles, even if they caused conflict with Gideon – she's just the BEST historical fiction heroine I've read about in a while. But, my absolute favorite thing was that I was reminded that even though this book takes place in historical America (the late 1910s/early 1920s), we're STILL fighting for equal women's rights and against mansplaining over 100 years later. Seriously, how insane is that?!

Thank you Penguin RandomHouse for the advanced copy of this book - all opinions are my own. I completely enjoyed this one! I loved the historical fiction/romance/mystery vibe from it, which was completely refreshing and a nice change from the standard plot lines that are out there. While this is the second book in a series, you can certainly read this as a standalone (although reading the first book will be a delightful treat, so who would pass that up?) I loved the characters in this story, as I prefer a flawed character to sink my teeth into, and Elizabeth had plenty of complexity and flaws to revel in. It was delightful to watch her interactions with Gideon, and I couldn't help but root for her the entire way through. This is the exact kind of light mystery fun that makes the perfect reading palate cleanser!!

Elizabeth Miles is trying to be respectable, so she can marry the very respectable Gideon. She has some mixed results, but the story of Priscilla catches her eye--twice widowed, whose second husband spent the money left to her by the first, leaving Priscilla and her two daughters in dire straights. Elizabeth is determined to find where the money went so quickly, as soon discovers she isn't the only one in polite society with a history of deceit. Elizabeth and Gideon's relationship develops further, and seeing them achieve a balance is fun. Opposites might attract, but they have to do some work to stay together without anything in common. Now that the initial rush has worn off, these two have to find their common ground. The mystery involved is a bit too neat and obvious, but watching the characters uncover the truth is entertaining, as is what they decide to do about it. An enjoyable romance with some clever puzzle solving.

This was so good! Somehow I didn't realize it was the second book in a series and I so wish I did and had read the first one before this one, but that's okay. This was still such a good book! There's romance, mystery, blackmail, and politics all set in the late 1800's New York. I found this book refreshing and reminiscent of a lot of great historical fiction books that feature great and strong female characters. I will be grabbing the first book in this series very soon so I can fully appreciate all the greatness that was this book. Definitely on my must read list!

This is a second book in a series but you can still follow if you start with this one. Long story short Elizabeth grew up as a con woman who got mixed up with some arrested suffragettes and as a result made some connections with society. Elizabeth still finds herself falling back on the grist to solve her problems while her boyfriend Gideon puts his trust in playing by the book. A nice mix of historical fiction and mystery without being too serious. This was a fun read with a bit of suspense and mystery.

Former grifter Elizabeth Miles has given up on her life of lies and is ready to marry attorney Gideon Bates. But sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men go awry. When Elizabeth finds out her friend Priscilla Knight, widowed for the second time, has been bilked out of her first husband’s money she sees red. It seems Priscilla’s second husband was being blackmailed, and he only married her for her money. Now that he is dead, she and her daughters from her first marriage are left penniless. Elizabeth knows something has to be done to get to the bottom of things and get Priscilla’s money back. She turns to her father, a master con artist who agrees to help. But Gideon is not happy about Elizabeth turning toward her former life. They fight, and she soon realizes he will never be able to accept her former life of lies. Their disagreement tears a rip in their relationship that might not be repairable. Will Elizabeth be able to help her friend and keep her bond with Gideon intact? Set in the 1920s, in the time of women’s suffrage, City of Secrets is a tight, complex tale that draws the reader in immediately and keeps them tightly bound until the end. Even though you know who the culprits are, you can’t help but turn the pages at a rapid rate to see how Elizabeth and her crew work to make things right for Priscilla. There were more than a few times when I was pumping my fist in the air in a “good job,” movement. Then there is the relationship between Elizabeth and Gideon. They are perfect together, and come from such different backgrounds. The attraction between them is intense, and so well written that you feel their pain when they were going through their troubles. I enjoy historical novels, and this one is rich in detail of the time period, and the people who would have lived during it. The writing is fluid and the tale is perfectly told. This is book two in the Counterfeit Lady series. I haven’t read the first one, but I already have my hands on it, and have moved it up in my TBR pile. Definitely a series that will keep me coming back for more. I read a digital ARC of this book through Penguin’s First To Read program.

I found this book to have been a good interesting mystery. I love historical mystery & this one met my expectations.

This is the second in the series by Victoria Thompson entitled "Counterfeit Lady". I read the first which introduced Elizabeth Miles, a resourceful woman who with father, brother and others, perpetrates cons on people. These people undoubtedly deserve it because they are just as guilty of wanting to cheat others as the Miles 'clan' is. I enjoyed the first book and am glad to continue on with the second. Thompson weaves a story around real historical events. In this book the reader is introduced to Mrs. Edith B. Ordway and her book The Etiquette of Today which were considered the ultimate authorities on such matters. We also learned of the The Safe Deposit Company of New York, the first independent safe- deposit company, opened in 1865. (in the book, the time period is 1920's and the company is still viable). Elizabeth Miles is engaged to be married to Gideon Bates, a very painfully honest and incorruptible lawyer. It is nice to see that the two can come to grips with their differences and forge a loving relationship. Or... can they? Recommended to lovers of the cozy mystery genre.

A slow read. I had trouble staying with this novel. So many women in the time of this novel, early 1900s, had pre-arranged marriages. I am glad that is no longer the norm in our country. Lots of twists and turns.

Elizabeth Miles was a grifter. In an attempt to get away from one of her marks, she mingled with a group of suffragists and was arrested with them. This was where she met Mrs Bates, whose son Gideon became her fiancé. In Victoria Thompson’s second book in the Counterfeit Lady series, Elizabeth is trying to establish herself as a lady in New York with Mrs. Bates assistance. When she encounters the widow Priscilla Knight, however, she decides to use her skills as a grifter to help her. Priscilla has lost two husbands in a short time. When her first husband died, she was rushed into a second marriage by Reverend Honesdale and his wife. Her second husband, Endicott Knight, was being blackmailed and after his death Priscilla discovered that all of his money as well as the money left by her first husband is gone. She and her two young daughters now have nothing and face a life of poverty. While Gideon is a lawyer who believes in justice through legal means, Elizabeth realizes that she will have to rely on other means to retrieve Priscilla’s money. Using her family, she sets a plan in motion that is both daring and highly entertaining. While it is a clever mystery, this is also a look at the efforts of the suffragists to gain the vote as well as the social behaviors of the early 1900s. Elizabeth refers to Ordway’s The Etiquette of Today a number of times to prevent a social faux pas and embarrassment. Thompson provides some clever twists. While the blackmailer is revealed fairly early, Elizabeth’s sense of justice and her plans to assist her friend keep the reader engrossed. For an enjoyable historical mystery, I would definitely recommend this series. I would like to thank First to Read for providing this book for my review.

This 1910s murder mystery is the tale of Miss Elizabeth Miles, a new initiate into the high society of New York. Upon the mysterious death of the husband of her friend Priscilla, she discovers that her friends has been left penniless, though she ought to have been left rather well off. Elizabeth works together with her friend Gideon in a world somewhere between churches and brothels to figure out what happened to the money, and if it is possible to get it back into Priscilla’s hands. And yes, there is romance. This is the second book in this mystery series, and there are several allusions to the first. If you haven’t read the first one, the book really starts making sense into the second quarter. If you have, I believe it to be a sensible continuation. I would read it again, and am already looking forward to seeing how this series progresses. Thanks to Victoria Thompson and Penguin Random House for letting me read this prior to release in exchange for an honest review.

Even though this is the second entry in the series it can be read as a standalone. I loved the relationship in this novel and found it interesting. The plot was well organized and written flawlessly. I loved the twists and turns.

I enjoyed this second entry in the Counterfeit Lady series more than the first. Elizabeth and Gideon's relationship was interesting, as was the crime they were investigating. I thought the plot moved along nicely and all the loose ends were tied up well.

Thanks to the First to Read program for a digital ARC of this book. The following is my honest opinion of this book: The second entry in the Counterfeit Lady series, City of Secrets is a quick read that's definitely worth looking into. Elizabeth Miles is a grifter but she's met a wonderful man, (Gideon Bates) who prides himself on following the law and always being honest. As Elizabeth tries to establish herself in his world, she befriends a woman at church who has just lost her second husband to a tragic accident. Unfortunately, she has also learned that all of her money from the estate of her first husband is mysteriously gone. When Elizabeth starts looking into the missing money, she discovers a blackmail scheme may have been the culprit and the prime suspects are respected members of the community. When she suggests a con to regain possession of the money to Gideon, he states he cannot condone anything outside of the parameters of the law. This book really held my attention. I must say that while not an absolute necessity, I would highly recommend reading the first book (City of Lies) before this one. In my opinion, that book sets up the series. It provides a great deal of character background information and establishes the various character relationships. Through it, you get a feel for each character and a greater understanding of who each one truly is. The second book builds on those relationships. With that said, I think the plot in City of Secrets was better and much more developed than the first book. It was an interesting story with several twists and turns. Much like the first, the historical content that is added in is a great bonus. I enjoyed learning more about the Suffragist Movement and the general conditions of women during that time period. I would definitely recommend this book to others and look forward to future installments in the series!

This is the second book in the series and quite enjoyable. It made me want to curl up in front of a cozy fire with a hot mug of tea as I read through the mystery. Despite not reading the first in the series it was easy to jump right into the book and not feel lost. The characters were developed enough that you got a sense of knowing who they are just from this book without feeling like you had to have read the first book but gave you a taste of what you had missed and makes me want to go back and read the first in the series. It's a fun little mystery with not too many unexpected twists, you can figure out most of it from the beginning or at least before they reveal it. However, if you're just looking for something fun and light to read this definitely at the top of my list. I received an e-ARC as part of the First to Read program in exchange for my honest review.

3 stars. This was good, but not as enjoyable as City of Lies (the first book in the series). It was a bit of a slow read because there was a lot of repetition and the focus was exclusively on the mystery, unlike the last one which delved into the Women's Suffrage movement and more details of historical New York and DC. Here, the mystery revolves around a widow in Gideon's church who Elizabeth befriends. The widow was left destitute by her second husband - who she barely knew when she married at the insistence of her clergy and his wife. As Elizabeth and Gideon investigate how her money could have disappeared, they realize that her second husband was involved in some nefarious business, including potentially the demise of the widow's first husband. Elizabeth's friend Anna makes only a few appearances, though we do get to see more of Elizabeth's father, as well as her aunts and their literary circle. Gideon and Elizabeth understandably have a lot to work out between them despite their love for each other. They come from different backgrounds and have very different views of the world. Through their investigation they debate the importance of morality and justice and what is permitted to achieve those ends. It will never be smooth sailing for them, but at least they are willing to work on it. Thank you to the Penguin/Berkley First To Read program for providing an ARC for review!

I might categorize this as a 'cozy historical mystery', the 2nd in a series. I haven't read the 1st, so had a bit of a time falling in with the continuing characters...reading the 1st might help with that? I thought the book stated kind of slow, maybe just because I was trying to figure out the characters? Once I got past that, the story picked up for me & I started enjoying it the end, I was quite enjoying it, & even offered a chuckle out loud when realizing some of the tricky moves being played! V. Thompson is already a noted author of historical fiction, with another successful series that I also I hope this series can hold it's own too. This one takes place in the 1920's in NYC & follows a young woman & her exploits, having been raised as a 'grifter'. I especially like at the end, the 'author's note' tells of the real historical aspects of this story. I will look up the 1st book in this series & read it, & will watch for the 3rd too! I'd recommend it for anyone who might like a 'nice, easy historical fiction.' Maybe a 3.5 in rating, out of 5, 5 being 'awesome'! I received this e-ARC from Penguin's First-To-Read giveaway program, in return for reading & offering my own honest review.

Grifting, blackmail, murder, robbing a mother with two children, prostitution plus more make for an exciting, well written, well plotted story. The story is set in the 1920s. Elizabeth Miles is a con artist who is in the process of reforming her ways. She is trying to do this due to her relationship with the uptight, upright lawyer..... Gideon Bates. Elizabeth is also trying to learn and live life according to society’s rules of etiquette. Elizabeth meets Priscilla Knight, a two time widow with two young children. Helping Priscilla by reviewing her husbands finances, Elizabeth discovers a scam has happened to the widow. This scam has left her penniless. After discovering the scam, Elizabeth starts to investigate. Seems blackmail and murder have happened by how will Elizabeth help get money back for the widow. It is necessary for a con artist to outsmart the murderer and scam artist. This is a fun, entertaining, interesting and intriguing read filled with deadly secrets. Although this is book # 2 of the Counterfeit Lady Mystery series, it can be read as a stand alone. The author mixed the past and present together effortlessly so the characters are easy to get to know. I volunteered to read City of Secrets. Thanks to Penguin’s First-to-Read fit the opportunity. My opinion is my own.

City of Secrets is the second novel in Victoria Thompson’s Counterfeit Lady series. I read the first in the series, City of Lies and, unfortunately, was not impressed. However, Thompson has done a complete 180 in this second novel. The author’s writing style was never an issue, but there were too many elements in Lies. In Secrets, Thompson was able to bring the characterization in line with the plot and the background elements. Both books are historical fiction, intrigue and chaste romance all in one, and Thompson was able to successfully wrangle all three in this second novel. Elizabeth, the lead female character, has fully evolved as has her love interest, Gideon. The plot was fully realized and held my interest from start to finish. The backstory was interwoven in a manner that made this a decent standalone, though reading the first in the series made this an easier and more enjoyable read. Elizabeth sets out to help her friend, Priscilla, in her own unique, exciting way and drags Gideon and the rest of her supporting cast along with her. I look forward to reading the rest of the series. I was chosen to read an advance copy of this book as part of Penguin's First to Read program. However, the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine and mine alone.

This is my first experience reading a book by this particular author, although from what I have heard all her books are terrific. I have to add this one to the list of great books, because I found the whole book rather amusing and fun to read. The book follows a woman, Elizabeth Miles, who is working to navigate society and fit in during the 1920's. This is the time period when woman were trying to fight for equal rights, but they were still looked at as just "wife/mother" material. This qas not Elizabeth's way, as she was raised by a con man father when her mother passed away, so she was always taught how to take care of herself. This is good and bad for her. Elizabeth ends up meeting a man, Gideon Bates, and falls in love with him. Now she is working to fit into his society, which is not an easy task, especially for her! Thankfully he accepts who she is, and they even begin to work together, using her background, to solve some financial problems for a widow who attends Gideon's church. The book was a quick read, and I liked the story quite a bit. I never got bored of reading the next part of their story!

Thank you to Penguin Books and for the opportunity to read this lively and engaging book. The book is the second in a new series and I would have loved to have a little more information on Elizabeth and her introduction to grafting. That said, you can easily read this book on its own. It is a light, easy read with some humor. Of course you know who did it!

A very smart followup to the first book in the series, City of Lies. It's amazing to see how Thompson builds up the plot and weaves a complicated web that ends up making perfect sense and being quite a caper for Elizabeth and company. The character relationships and interactions really shine here, being the bones from which the impressive body of the mystery emerge. I loved seeing how Elizabeth and Gideon try to find the middle ground in their way of thinking and theirs is only one of the many complicated connections that end up making the plot so juicy. Overall, this is a whipsmart historical thriller with lovely romantic undertones and great writing. Definitely worth a read.

This is the second one book in The Counterfeit Ladies series. I really enjoyed this second book in the series. You get to know Elizabeth better as well as see more interactions between her and Gideon. It was nice to see them work through their relationship problems. This will be a definite addition to my list of series to follow.

City of Secrets is the 2nd book in the Counterfeit Lady series and will be enjoyed more by readers of the 1st book. I highly recommend both books. The relationship between Gideon and Elizabeth, a grifter, is tested when their ideas about justice clash. When Elizabeth’s friend Priscilla Knight is left penniless, Elizabeth is determined to discover what happened to the money left to Priscilla by her first husband. Acutely aware of how vulnerable women are in a society ruled by men, Elizabeth will do whatever is necessary to recover the money. Together, Gideon and Elizabeth uncover sinister secrets that threaten not only their lives but their relationship. This series is the perfect combination of mystery, romance, and historical fiction. I love this series and can’t wait for the next book.

I really enjoyed City of Secrets. I read the first book in the Counterfeit Lady series, City of Lies, also via First to Read, and this book begins pretty much where that first book left off. The mystery surrounding Priscilla was interesting, and though you have a clue as to who the villains are right from the start, how everything came together in the end was not overly predictable. I like the characters, and I think the relationship between Elizabeth and Gideon is really sweet (though they can both be annoyingly stubborn at times). It's also interesting to see Elizabeth's efforts to fit into "polite society" while still maintaining who she is as a person. Gideon's very black-and-white view of the world starts to change a bit in this installment, and I'm looking forward to seeing whether that continues. All in all, this was a really great addition to the series, and I'll definitely be looking out for the next Counterfeit Lady book.

Victoria Thomson outshines her last book with this one. I love the sense of movement, danger, and action in this series. We get inside New York with Elizabeth and Gideon.

An enjoyable historical mystery. Lots of period details and characters I still enjoy

This is not a review of the title, I am sure it's an interesting book. I read the first book in the series and really enjoyed it and was looking forward to reading City of Secrets. This will be a review of First To Read program. I have been frustrated about it in the past and even more so recently because the only reading format available is PDF. I was approved to review City of Secrets but I was unable to open the file in either Bluefire Reader or Adobe apps, which I especially downloaded so I could read books from First To Read. PDF format is already the least desirable format for reading books because of how hard it's to adjust the font and change the pages, which takes away from the experience of reading. And it's even more frustrating because of how cumbersome (and sometimes impossible) it's to download the files to an e-reader. I don't understand why the eARCs offered through First To Read program are not available in epub or mobi format since all the ARCs available in these formats from this publisher on sites like NetGalley and Edelwiess. I love to read and review new books and I am an active member of NetGalley and Edelwiess but I will no longer be reviewing for First To Read/

this was a delightful read! i really like all the characters, they are well developed and so interesting. the dialogue is fantastic and funny, the plot fast paced and surprising. overall a thoroughly entertaining and enjoyable read!


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