By: Mary Miley
Pub. Date: September 17, 2013
Publisher: Minotaur Books
I received this galley in exchange for an honest review.
In 1917, Jessie Carr, fourteen years old and sole heiress to her family’s vast fortune, disappeared without a trace. Now, years later, her uncle Oliver Beckett thinks he’s found her: a young actress in a vaudeville playhouse is a dead ringer for his missing niece. But when Oliver confronts the girl, he learns he’s wrong. Orphaned young, Leah’s been acting since she was a toddler.
Oliver, never one to miss an opportunity, makes a proposition—with his coaching, Leah can impersonate Jessie, claim the fortune, and split it with him. The role of a lifetime, he says. A one-way ticket to Sing Sing, she hears. But when she’s let go from her job, Oliver’s offer looks a lot more appealing. Leah agrees to the con, but secretly promises herself to try and find out what happened to the real Jessie. There’s only one problem: Leah’s act won’t fool the one person who knows the truth about Jessie’s disappearance.
Set against a Prohibition-era backdrop of speakeasies and vaudeville houses, Mary Miley’s Minotaur Books/Mystery Writers of America First Crime Novel Competition winner The Impersonator will delight readers with its elaborate mystery and lively prose.
Leah has worked almost her entire list as a vaudeville performer. After a few nights of seeing the same man in the audience, he finally introduces himself and makes her a very interesting offer. If she can pull off being the long lost Jessie and fool Jessie's entire family, she will get Jessie's inheritance and split it with Oliver. While the story itself wasn't very original the way Mary Miley pulled it off was. As Leah spends more and more time being Jessie, she realizes how important it is to her to find out what happened to the real Jessie. I loved putting all of the clues together and trying to figure out what happened!
I really loved Jessie's family. Each and every one of them was definitely a character! They weren't perfect, but flawed and realistic. They might have made mistakes, but they all did love each other (well, maybe not all of them!).
I loved the vaudeville aspect! Though I was familiar with what it was I never really gave it much thought. I enjoyed watching the You Tube links that the author provided at the end of the book. I also enjoyed getting an inside look at life in vaudeville through Leah's eyes.
The Impersonator is a wonderful story and I am so glad that I got the opportunity to read this. I highly recommend it!