The Promise of Deception
by Jessica Sly
Series: Isles of Illusion #1
Published by Mountain Brook Fire
Publication Date November 20, 2021
Genres: Action/Adventure, Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Clean Romance
Setting: England Edwardian Era - UK - 1901 - 1910
Written for: Adults
Adelynn Spencer, a spirited member of the Edwardian London upper class, struggles under the conditions of her engagement to Detective Inspector Baze Ford. But during the gala announcing their betrothal, events take a fatal turn when Adelynn experiences a vivid dream of a man dying with a knife buried in his chest. To her alarm, Baze and his men later discover the man exactly as she witnessed.
When Adelynn sees a second dream—a second victim—she tries to convince Baze that there are more sinister things at work. Choosing hard evidence over Adelynn's outrageous claims, Baze dismisses her and turns his attention to the location of the most recent crime, the Empress Theatre. Determined to uncover the truth of her visions, Adelynn investigates on her own. She infiltrates the theater and becomes spellbound by the charming spectacle of the resident magician.
As Baze wrestles with the decision to harden his heart or take action to protect the woman who means everything to him, Adelynn ventures further into the clutches of magic and murder. Can she keep her mind safe and draw the killer out of the shadows?
I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Shrouded in mystery and magic, The Promise of Deception is set in fog-shrouded London at the turn of the 20th Century. Tensions between the Irish and English are at a peak. Just 30 years have passed since Jack the Ripper’s unsolved crimes puzzled Scotland Yard.
Jessica Sly’s debut novel was amazing! The story was riveting and kept me wondering. Chilling descriptions of the eerie theater which much of the story revolved around brought it vividly to life. Characters with secrets and puzzling behavior filled the pages. I came close to tears more than once!
I loved how the cause of the tension between Adelynn and Basil was revealed in bits and pieces and how my emotions were jerked in every direction as the story progressed.
Baze’s struggles with his earthly father caused him to doubt submitting to a Heavenly Father was wise or desirable. As he puzzled through solving the murders which hit too close for comfort, the darkness grew and he found even more reasons for desiring to break free of the control of his father. He came to a place where he had to make a choice. Surrender to the darkness that sought to control him or to the Heavenly Father he had been running from.
Plucky Adelynn was such a great protagonist. I admired her determination and honesty. And especially the faith that allowed her to tell one who had done terrible things, with conviction, that Jesus’ blood was enough to cover his sins and that forgiveness was available to him regardless.
Despite the murders being “witnessed” by Adelynn through her visions, the details were kept to a minimum to keep things from being gruesome. And despite the darkness of the evil that lurked in the dark London streets, a sense of hope prevailed.
I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful story and am looking forward to reading more by Jessica Sly. I recommend The Promise of Deception to readers who enjoy speculative fiction with a strong faith element.