What drew me into City of Lies was the enigmatic character of Elizabeth and her past as a con-woman, but what kept me intrigued was the historical aspect of the suffragist movement and Elizabeth’s allies. City of Lies is perfect for historical fiction fans and anyone who loves reading about a heroine who can save herself from danger with her wits.
Elizabeth Miles is a con-woman. She uses her intellect, charm, and persuasion to con men out of their money. But her latest mark may be more dangerous than she expects and she finds refuge from his clutching hands in a group of women fighting for their own political agenda. Even though her life is on the other end of the spectrum from theirs, she finds herself finding unlikely allies and respect for their character and mission. However, one of their relations, Gabriel, is an intelligent man, and, most dangerously of all, an honest one. Can she trick both Gabriel and her mark to escape once again?
This is pure caper fun with some heart warming characters inside. It is light hearted, entertaining, and a book that will captivate you. It is easy to get lost with these characters. There is something admirable and charming about each of them. (The book does feature a lesbian character as well). Whether it’s their willpower, dedication, or ideals, each of our side characters make a memorable impression and grow on us with time. Elizabeth goes by many names, but her spirit throughout is resilient and her intelligence never ceases to thrill us.
Among the characters and inventive plot were a few thematic and interesting questions of note. One of the first issues brought up is the discussion of whether love can be a form of bondage, particularly in respect to marriage. As suffragists who were fighting convention, one of the prominent ways in which they did this, was by refusing to marry. This was a delicate matter as well since many were not given the training to ‘make it on their own’. The book discusses this idea of love’s strengths, and weaknesses. It’s ability to make us vulnerable and give us both responsibilities and ties.
Another aspect that I enjoyed was the historical fiction element. It was wonderful to read about the suffragist movement. To witness their treatment and the sexism that surrounded them. But even better, was reading about their intense determination and willpower in the face of danger, not only physically. It has inspired me to pick up more historical fiction dealing with this topic.
In many ways, this is a hybrid story: part historical fiction, part caper, and part romance. I loved the interactions between the main characters, not only for their intellect, but also in the ways they respected each other. At the very heart of their relationship was the question: do we live according to our principles or our heart? Can they be the same? It is this question that lingers afterward. This struggle that stays with you.
Thompson’s writing is brilliant – fooling us even as we read. This is one of those perfect uplifting reads that gives you hidden depths and rich characters. If any of these topics: brilliant women, suffragist historical fiction, or caper fiction interest you, this is for you. (And bonus points if many of those interest you!)
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from First to Read.
Would you be a good con person? Me? No way!
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