A Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love (review by Kristi)

A Respectable Actress

From Goodreads:  When the illustrious India Hartley is accused of murder, she has to uncover the deceptions of others to save herself.

India Hartley, the famous and beautiful actress, is now alone in the world after her father’s death and embarks upon a tour of theaters across the South. Her first stop is Savannah’s Southern Palace. On the eve of the second night’s performance, something goes horribly wrong. Her co-star, Arthur Sterling, is shot dead on stage in front of a packed house, and India is arrested and accused of the crime.

A benefactor hires Philip Sinclair, the best—and handsomest—lawyer in Savannah to defend India. A widower, Philip is struggling to reinvent his worn-out plantation on St. Simons Island. He needs to increase his income from his law practice in order to restore Indigo Point, and hardly anything will bring him more new clients than successfully defending a famous actress on a murder charge.

Because India can’t go anywhere in town without being mobbed, Philip persuades the judge handling her case to let him take her to Indigo Point until her trial date. India is charmed by the beauty of the Georgia low country and is increasingly drawn to Philip. But a locked room that appears to be a shrine to Philip’s dead wife and the unsolved disappearance of a former slave girl raise troubling questions. Piecing together clues in an abandoned boat and a burned-out chapel, India discovers a trail of dark secrets that lead back to Philip, secrets that ultimately may hold the key to her freedom. If only he will believe her.

My review: India Hartley is a well-known actress who is visiting Savannah, Georgia, and working at the Southern Palace Theater. When a change is made in the script that leads to India being arrested for murder, she has no one to turn to. That is until Celia Mackay hires Phillip Sinclair to defend India. Phillip does his best to prove India’s innocence but does anyone really believe the actress is innocent or do they believe her guilty because she’s an outsider?

This book was superbly written. The characters were authentic and well-rounded. The pace of the book is steady and kept me interested from page one until the end. And as always, Dorothy Love has done her research, bringing Savannah, Georgia to live with rich detail. I could almost feel the soggy ground under my feet as I read this book.

I immediately liked India Hartley. She was a strong woman although she had her moments of weakness. Phillip was wonderful as the leading man/hero of the story. He is the hero one swoons over. Even though there is an attraction between the two, the romance aspect of the book develops gently and is well written into the story.

There are a lot of plot twists and turns in this story. Just when I thought I had everything figured out something else would happen that would completely throw me off guard. I love this as it made the book so entertaining and quick to read. I just couldn’t stop myself from reading one more chapter as I had to know what was going to happen to these characters.

I love the author’s descriptions in the book. She knows how to write descriptive paragraphs without them being long and drawn out. The words she chooses packs a punch and transports the reader to the time and place they are reading about. While reading the book I could feel the foggy mist just as well as I had a sense of foreboding when something was about to happen. Dorothy Love knows how to hook a reader and keep them interested with her word choices.

This book has something for everyone. It has history, romance, betrayal, courtroom drama, and secrets. This is a well-written book that I highly recommend!

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher and the Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review

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