The Impersonator

September 17, 2013

The Impersonator
By: Mary Miley
309 Pages

Long time Vaudeville performer Leah, is offered the job of a lifetime. When a stranger mistakes her for his missing niece, he asks her to impersonate her. It's all so simple. He wants a piece of the massive fortune she would inherit. Leah looks exactly like Jessie Carr, so it'll be easy to convince the remaining family the runaway has come home. However, it's not as easy as Uncle Oliver makes it seem. Jessie has 2 male cousins who stand to inherit the fortune if Jessie never comes back- how happy will they be to see that money slip through their hands? And while she may have an "instant" family, it's a family that has numerous secrets. On top of all that, someone keeps trying to kill "Jessie".

I enjoyed this book immensely. The story takes place in the early 1920s and takes you behind the curtains of the Vaudeville life, as well as into the mansions of the well-to-do. I enjoyed all the characters- even the ones I didn't like. All were portrayed very well and kept you guessing. Author, Mary Miley, wove a fantastic story that threw in more than one plot twist. 

Leah grew up in the Vaudeville life; both her mother and her having performed in it for decades. However, with her mother long since gone, Leah has been on her own. Blessed with youthful looks, she's always been able to play young roles, as well as older ones. But things take an unexpected turn when her current gig comes to an end when The Darlings let her go. With no other options, she takes up the offer a stranger gave her. This gig could set her up for life, if she wanted. All she had to do was portray Jessie Carr- an heiress who wet missing seven years prior. As long as she could convince the trustees, and the remaining family members, the fortune was hers. All Leah had to do was give him some money every now and then. 

Uncle Oliver preps her and gives her all the information she needs. She passes the tests the trustees throw at her. She also manages to avoid being consumed in the fire that takes over the hotel she was staying at. Lucky for her she noticed the mysterious guy following her and changed her plans.

She gets the family to believe she's the real Jessie, but one cousin isn't convinced. Henry is angry his fathered never got his rightful share of the money, and he's not to happy to see history repeat itself with him. However, he and his brother, Ross, take turns making questionable appearances on "Jessie's" radar. 

Before long, "Jessie" learns of several women being found dead- including the one she finds dead on the side of the road. All these women have many things in common- most telling, a chunk of hair cur off. Soon "Jessie" decides she want to find out what happened to these women- and the real fate of the real Jessie.

Soon "Jessie" uncovers one disturbing thing after another about one of her cousins. It isn't long before she's racing to get the truth known before she's the next body found.

I recommend this book to anyone who loves mysteries and historical fiction. I was interested from the beginning and was actively guessing who was doing what. The way Mary Miley wove everything together was fascinating and touching. I wanted to see what really happened to Jessie and how all secrets would connect. The ending wasn't a let down in any way. I was very pleased with it and found it did justice to the book's build up. I hope this is only the first of many books Mary Miley writes. 


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