Review: City of Lies by Victoria Thompson

4 “The Grifter Suffragist” Stars!

Lovers of historical fiction that takes place during the women’s suffragist movement in the US of the early 1900s (circa 1920s) will not want to miss City of Lies. There is also a dash of mystery and suspense thrown in to keep the reader guessing. Additionally, while this is not a traditional historical romance title, I also believe that there is enough of a romance thread (even the beginnings of a romance triangle) to make this historical fiction/mystery title also of interest to those who enjoy a historical romance titles.

When a con goes bad, grifter Elizabeth (Lizzie) Miles finds herself on the run. Believing their mark (Oscar Thornton) has likely done in her brother, she’s left with no choice but to seek desperate measures. It’s at that moment–as she’s running through the streets of 1920s Washington DC–that she lands eyes on her possible salvation, a women’s suffragist march (mostly high society ladies who were protesting to earn the right to vote). She quickly throws herself into the parade of women hoping to blend in, and when the entire group is arrested, Lizzie couldn’t be happier as she knows it will give her a safe haven from Thornton and his crew that is out looking for her.

What Lizzie, however, never could of imagined is that she would soon come to understand what this group of high society women (a class she many times pretended to be in her cons, but never before felt a kinship with) was fighting for. What at first is just sheer determination to fit in, soon becomes a leadership style and showing of courage that bring her to the attention of Mrs. Bates, one of the leaders of the movement, and Anna Vanderslice, a young suffragist who quickly becomes her devoted friend.

The women endure terrible treatment in jail as its clear that politically the administration is trying to make an example of them in order to discourage them and others from demonstrating again. This, however, doesn’t deter them in their beliefs. Fortunately, Anna’s brother (David) and Mrs. Bates son (Gideon, who is a lawyer) help secure a writ of habeas corpus, though there attempts to find the deputy to serve it on are less fruitful (at least initially). Eventually, however, the women are released which of course is great news for all the prisoners, except Lizzie who now must try to evade Thornton again. Fortunately, Lizzie also makes an impression on David and Gideon, who each want to woe her in their own way.

Will Lizzie be able to maintain the friendships she has made and stay safe from Thornton? Moreover, Lizzie is no high society lady, even if she chooses to stay with her new friends, how will she maintain the illusion she has crafted? Will they find out who she really is? And if so will they remain by her side?

City of Lies was a fast-action historical fiction title that kept me interested both with the suspense and the interesting and varied inter-relationships among the many characters. I look forward to reading more of Victoria Thompson’s titles in the future.

Source: Review copy provided for review purposes.