cover image The Elusive Truth of Lily Temple

The Elusive Truth of Lily Temple

Joanna Davidson Politano. Revell, $18.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-80074-297-3

Politano (The Lost Melody) takes a fantastical trip through a world of silent movies, fairy tales, and hidden identities in this bewitching historical. In 1903 Britain, Peter Driscoll, a self-professed “finder of lost things, pursuer of truth, restorer of what’s been broken,” is hired by a rich dowager to hunt down the Briarwood Teardrop, a legendary sapphire believed to have healing properties. Driscoll finds it at a movie premiere hanging from the neck of mysterious silent film actor Lily Temple (not her real name), but before he can figure out a way to take it or how it came into her possession, it disappears from off Lily’s neck without her realizing. Intrigued by Lily, Peter recruits her to help on a different case, aiming to unravel her hazy past and restore the faith in God she lost after suffering a nameless betrayal. Meanwhile, a powerful magistrate lurking in the wings seeks information on the gem and threatens harm to them both. Rich with biblical allusions (the sapphire is supposedly a gateway to an otherworldly garden), the layered plot accrues tension and texture by alternating perspectives between Lily and Peter as the mystery intensifies. Readers will be kept guessing through the many twists and turns. (Apr.)