Literary Pursuits

Review: The Elusive Truth of Lily Temple

Today, I’m sharing a book review of The Elusive Truth of Lily Temple, an Edwardian historical mystery/romance by Joanna Davidson Politano, published by Revell.

Disclosure: I voluntarily received a complimentary copy from the author as part of Austenprose PR publicity tours. All views expressed are my own. This post includes Amazon affiliate links.

My Backstory

When I was growing up in the 1970s, my family would occasionally get old films from the library for a much-anticipated family movie night. Understand that this was before even VHS players were mainstream. Films at the library were reel-to-reel 8mm or 16mm, and you had to have a projector to watch them. Quite a few of the available films were old silent movies. One of our favorites was The Little Rascals: Saturday Lesson from 1929. With organ or player piano music and caption screens to set the stage, most of the plot was developed with visual (over)acting rather than dialog. If you’ve never watched a “silent” movie, you should try one before you read The Elusive Truth of Lily Temple. To truly set the stage, try The Great Train Robbery from 1903, the year the novel takes place.

My Review

Lily Temple is a movie star in the very early days of cinematography. Her main genre is fairy tales, a theme carried throughout the book with quotes from various stories at the beginning of each chapter.

I was fascinated to read about the process of making movies then, the splicing and hand-coloring, and other manual processes required to create the film, especially special effects.

Lily is a complex character with a mysterious background. Peter is a private investigator who is trying to delve into that background. It is definitely an intriguing story with many fascinating elements. I appreciated the spiritual growth and healing that developed.

My Rating

From the Publisher

It is 1903, and Lily Temple is a beautiful silent-film actress who spins fairy tales and plays frivolous roles in front of the cine-camera. But beneath the costumes and stage makeup is a woman with a quick wit, a murky past, and a tantalizing secret.

As an underground investigator to the wealthy, Peter Driscoll has been tasked with locating the legendary Briarwood Teardrop, an exquisite sapphire that has been missing for years–and which Lily happens to be wearing beneath her gown. In order to stay close to her and unravel the mystery, Peter employs the enchanting actress’s help on a case.

But as they are investigating together, Peter is also investigating Lily. The closer he gets to the truth, the more danger they face. And the closer he gets to Lily, the clearer it becomes that he needs her even more than she needs him.

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