At the start of the story, Isabelle Larkin exemplifies all the attributes that the society of 1875 felt most desirable. She was a well-brought-up young woman who, although she did not agree with her mother, did what her parent and society demanded. She was engaged to Gregory, a young man looking to start a career in politics helped by Isabelle’s family connections. Isabelle felt she was lucky and doing the right things for a successful life.
However, Isabelle’s path is not to be smooth. She witnesses Gregory commit a murder and refusing to marry him is now in fear of her life. She finds refuge in Bellevue, a sanatarium, the same one Mrs. Lincoln was committed to by her son. The two women become supportive of each other and Isabelle finds the courage to face Gregory’s misdeeds.
The book is primarily a romance although the events are driven by the murder. Isabelle is not in a position until the very end to try to figure out the secrets behind the murder, so the book is not really a mystery. The historical background is accurate. Bellvue was a real sanatarium in the 1800s and did house Mrs. Lincoln.
I found the characters rather flat. Isabelle seems unable to decide to act for herself until the end making her seem a weak character. However, this may be due to the author’s feeling that that would be what the period required.
The writing was fair. I dislike dialog used to convey information. This happened fairly often with Isabelle. The historical detail was well done, but I couldn’t get interested in the characters. If you enjoy historical romance, this is a quick read.
I received this book from Net Galley for this review.