In Tracie Peterson’s book, A Lady of Secret Devotion, young Cassie Stover of Philadelphia is invited to become a companion to a Mrs. Jameston, a very wealthy widow who lives in an upscale part of town. What Cassie does not know is that the elderly woman’s son, Sebastian, is a rogue and a scalawag, greedy and malicious. He appears at Mrs. Jameston’s home to continue his insurance fraud schemes and his hopes of depriving his mother of all her money one way or another. Enter Mark Langford of Boston, a handsome widower who arrives to investigate Sebastian and to try to get him to confess to the murder of his friend, Richard Adkins. What follows is a love story intertwined with the investigation, and the story builds to a logical conclusion with the proper characters in their rightful places, both in and out of jail.
As part of her Ladies of Liberty series, Peterson’s novel is lightweight and predictable. There are constant religious references, including a passage from the Bible, “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people; for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house” (Is. 42:6-7). However, the references to God seem contrived, as if entered into the storyline out of necessity and not really serving the plot.
Cassie and her love interest Mark are the good guys, while the widow’s son is completely evil and without any redeeming qualities. All of that is quite straightforward. A mildly interesting theme is Mrs. Jameston’s relationship with her son Sebastian. They argue about how Sebastian was mistreated growing up and about the guilt the mother feels in how she reared him. But this doesn’t quite fit with the character of the older Mrs. Jameston, who is cheery and elegant, while her son is bad in every possible way.
This book is a good entertainment for readers who are looking for a lighthearted romance novel, and is recommended as such. -- Anita Tiemeyer, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
Eager to ease the financial burdens of her family, Cassandra Stover is thrilled when she is hired to be a companion to Mrs. Jameston, a wealthy society woman. Cassie finds herself living a life she'd never imagined-and growing close to the elderly woman who treats her like a daughter.
Her new position is tarnished only by Mrs. Jameston's son. As Sebastian's resentment and cruelty toward his mother mount, Cassie begins to harbor concerns for her employer's safety--and ultimately her own. When Sebastian is suspected of fraud, insurance investigator Mark Langford solicits Cassie's help to uncover the truth. But what begins as a game of pretense is quickly complicated by matters of the heart.