cover image Counterfeit Hope

Counterfeit Hope

Crystal Caudill. Kregel, $15.99 trade paper (328p) ISBN 978-0-825-44741-9

In the captivating second installment of the Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age series, Caudill (Counterfeit Hope) chronicles the misadventures of a reluctant member of a 19th-century crime family. “Lightning” Lu Thorne is among the best pickpockets in the Thorne Gang—a family criminal operation willing to kill, rob, and maim to maintain power in Landkreis, Ind. After Lu’s husband, Irvine Thorne, is killed in a heist—and now that she’s found faith in God—Lu is desperate to leave town with her son, Oscar, and give him “the life she’d never had.” Her plans are put on hold when the U.S. marshal who’d promised to smuggle Lu and Oscar out in exchange for inside information on the Thornes is killed by Lu’s mother-in-law. Then Secret Service officer Andrew Darlington arrives to investigate the Thornes, and Lu works with him to get her son and herself to safety. Both Lu and Andrew bear deep secrets that challenge their faith as they navigate danger. Though the plot gets off to a slow start, it eventually picks up a full head of steam, and Caudill hooks readers with complex characters and intriguing musings on Christian morality. This suspenseful outing doesn’t disappoint. (Feb.)