I didn't love, love this book the way I have with the other Maggie Osborne books I've read. In fact, I found myself skimming a little bit in the last few chapter.
The premise is very interesting. Lily Dale has been in prison for five years for being an accomplice to a bank robbery where her gun discharged and killed a man. A women's prison in Yuma,AZ in the 1800s with a male warden and guards had to be a hellish place. The author clearly lays out some of the hardships that Lily had to endure but alluded to worse.
An early pardon for Lily is engineered by a powerful man. That man is Quinn Westin. Quinn's wife has disappeared and her disappearance is having a deleterious effect on Quinn's campaign. But Lily is a dead ringer for Quinn's missing wife, Miriam. So Quinn and his campaign manager Paul has a proposition for Lily. Impersonate Miriam and after the election retire to a life of ease in Europe, or get thrown back in prison for another several years.
Although the charade will delay Lily getting back to her daughter whom she hasn't seen since she was a baby, Lily takes the Faustian bargain. But Quinn gets more than he bargained for. While Lily may look a lot like the genteel, shy Miriam, she is completely different. Lily is no shrinking wallflower. And the mysterious disappearance of Miriam Westin has Lily asking a lot of questions.
There were two main things I really liked about this book.
The first was the writing. This author is one that writes a tight, emotional story. Her characters have incredible depth and her plots are very well executed. Quinn and Lily fall in love convincingly and yet the author doesn't give short shrift to their complications. The characterizations and the plot were well layered over and around each other.
The second is Lily. Lily was a dynamic character that kind of reminded me a little bit of Jenny Jones from [b:The Promise of Jenny Jones|731539|The Promise of Jenny Jones|Maggie Osborne|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1337062885s/731539.jpg|717729] only not as hardened as Jenny. Even as Lily gets polish, she continuously struggles not to lose herself in the skin of another woman. A woman whose clothes she wears, whose house she lives in, whose mannerisms she mimics, and whose husband she is falling in love with. Lily fights to keep herself as Lily all the while she slips deeper into this woman's life. Quinn and Paul don't tell her the whole truth, only giving her the information about Miriam that they think she'll need to impersonate the woman. Only that is not enough for Lily who constantly questions and them about Miriam, instinctively knowing she wasn't getting the whole story. Lily is the opposite of TSTL. She remains skeptical and makes smart assumptions.
But for all that, there was a sluggishness to the book. I didn't fly through the pages, and at one point I just wanted the get the whole mystery of Miriam out in the open already.
Also, I did not in any way like the manipulation of Lily and the blackmail by the two main male characters.
And finally, I thought there was an unconvincing 11th hour redemption of a character. Their personality and character arc seems to have one trajectory throughout the book and then, boom, in the last chapter it seemed to take an abrupt turn.