*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review. All thoughts below are my own. Also, this blog post includes affiliate links which means I will receive a commission based on sales generated via these links.
1893 | Chicago’s World Fair, mysterious disappearances, romance, undercover adventures and the secrets of the infamous H.H. Holmes, rumored to be America’s first serial killer.
Mysterious Disappearances Taint the Chicago World’s Fair
Step into True Colors -- a new series of Historical Stories of Romance and American Crime
While attending the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, Winnifred Wylde believes she witnessed a woman being kidnapped. She tries to convince her father, an inspector with the Chicago police, to look into reports of mysterious disappearances around the White City. Inspector Wylde tries to dismiss her claims as exaggeration of an overactive imagination, but he eventually concedes to letting her go undercover as secretary to the man in question—if she takes her pistol for protection and Jude Thorpe, a policeman, for bodyguard.
Will she be able to expose H. H. Holmes’s illicit activity, or will Winnifred become his next victim?.
Synopsis from The White City
★★★ | Perhaps, you know of the infamous H.H. Holmes, a man rumored to be America’s first serial killer. And perhaps you do not. This newly released novel, The White City, by Grace Hitchcock delves into that fantastical story of a man who’s true story is still somewhat unknown.
Readers will join fictional character Winnifred Wylde as she seeks to uncover the truth about H.H. Holmes. As the daughter of Chicago’s inspector Wylde, Winnifred spends her days buried in romance novels until she finds herself captured up into the real life crimes of H.H. Holmes. Posing as his secretary, she works undercover for this dangerous man, under the protective eye of the dashing Jude Thorpe, a true life detective and one of New York’s finest. The budding romance between these two characters is the highlight of this novel!
I gave this book three stars and want to encourage others to read and discover the story for themselves because I’m certain there will be many readers who will enjoy it immensely!
When I first read about this series and the release of this book, I was excited and anticipating a truly suspenseful plot, rich with historical facts and fictional liberties . After all, we’re talking about a serial killer and a time in history when crime was rampant. I expected a serious tone to The White City but instead found more of a Christian romance than a true crime novel.
What I loved about this novel was the setting, the villain, and Miss Wylde and Detective Thorpe’s romance. Detective Thorpe, with his handsome and protective demeanor is the epitome of a romance novel’s hero. I also loved the backstory of H. H. Holmes and his underhanded swindling, insurance fraud and the mysterious killings that he committed in his “hotel” with hidden doors and rooms. Truly, if the author had focused on these three things solely, setting aside Miss Wylde’s personal life, aunt and suitors, this would have a top notch read and exactly what I was hoping for from The White City. More historical background on Chicago and the World’s Fair would have been icing on the cake. At times, I felt like I was expected to have prior knowledge of these things as a reader and unfortunately, I had only but a little. For instance, I never did discover why Chicago was called the White City and found myself Googling H. H. Holmes too.
In the first two thirds of the book, I struggled with the characters and their actions/decisions, the plot and the parts about Miss Wylde’s aunt and suitors which I found myself hurrying through. I desperately wanted more suspense and a deeper plot focused more on Holmes and his crimes. The climax of this novel near the end was my favorite part for this reason - suspense, crime, romance and heroism all rolled up into a few chapters! In the end, this was a solid three stars for me. A good book with a hint of crime, lots of romance and a tiny dash of suspense.
I encourage you to read this book for yourself. I think readers will find the characters to be likable, the story flows along fluidly and the author writes very well, even if it wasn’t the way I initially expected or wanted. This novel is a light read, a clean story for young adults and there’s a delightful romantic aspect to the book that romance readers will enjoy with just enough historical fiction to entice a historical fiction lover.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Grace Hitchcock is the author of The White City
and The Gray Chamber from Barbour Publishing. She has written multiple novellas in The Second Chance Brides, The Southern Belle Brides, and the Thimbles and Threads collections with Barbour Publishing. She holds a Masters in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in History. Grace lives in southern Louisiana with her husband, Dakota, and son. Visit Grace online at GraceHitchcock.com.
Lastly, pick up your own copy of The White City or borrow it from your local library. Then, I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts on the book in the comments below!