Monday, November 30, 2015
A Respectable Actress- Dorothy Love
Description: 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 Thoughts: This book had ups and downs for me. The opening page is gripping, and the conflict directly after is engaging. But after the first couple chapters, the story waned to interests and conflicts I cared little about. Toward the middle, the story picked back up again with the trial keeping me interested. However, I was soon upset and confused when it appears that a whole day of the trail is skipped only for the reader to pick back up with the story in the most befuddling of circumstances. This, unfortunately, was how I felt about much of the book.
Don't get me wrong, the murder conflict was interesting in itself and I would have loved if the book focused more on this aspect. Yet much of the book focuses on issues outside the murder (bored children, long dead relatives, nosy neighbors, ect.). While these issues did lead to answers about the murder, I found them bothersome to read because they seemed to cut out the murder trial's tension. As well, both India and Philip come upon theories that baffled me and I felt like I could not follow their logic.
Dorothy Love writes beautifully and her history is spot on, however her story did not grip my attention all the way through. While there were some truly great scenes, the story was dominated by scenes I didn't care to read, especially when the story jumps around in certain places.
I received this book through the Fiction Guild in exchange for an honest review.