Counterfeit Love ~ Review with Giveaway and Interview

Counterfeit Love
Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age #1
By Crystal Caudill

Six years ago Broderick Cosgrove broke Theresa Plane's heart, leaving her with no word of why he was leaving her to her Grandfather's military precision. Theresa's life has changed from one of wealth to one of struggling to stay ahead of her Grandfather's creditors. And his creditors are not going to be put off for much longer and are the kind to get what is owed to them in any way they can.

Broderick's undercover work finds him getting deeper into a counterfeit ring - a ring that if they are allowed to continue could undermine the economy of the United States and push the country into another depression. What Broderick never expected was to find Theresa smack dab in the middle of his case. Is she a part of the ring he has been infiltrating? Or is she just an innocent victim caught up in their web? Broderick is determined to find out and save her if at all possible. but is he willing to risk the case, his career, and his life for the woman he once hoped and planned to marry?

This is the first book in the Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age series and if what is to come is anything like this first book it will prove to be an excellent series and one not to be missed. This is Historical Romantic Suspense and it will hold and keep your interest. Excellent reading and well-developed characters make for an unputdownable experience that you will want to continue well beyond the last page. Crystal Caudill is soon to become one of your favorite authors with this debut.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion - all thoughts expressed are my own.

About the Book:
Can this undercover agent save the woman he loves
is her heart as counterfeit as the money he's been sent to track down?

After all that Grandfather has sacrificed to raise her, Theresa Plane owes it to him to save the family name--and that means clearing their debt with creditors before she marries Edward Greystone. But when one of the creditors' threats leads her to stumble across a midnight meeting, she discovers that the money he owes isn't all Grandfather was hiding. And the secrets he kept have now trapped Theresa in a life-threatening fight for her home--and the truth.

After months of undercover work, Secret Service operative Broderick Cosgrove is finally about to uncover the identity of the leader of a notorious counterfeiting ring. That moment of triumph turns to horror, however, when he finds undeniable proof that his former fiance is connected. Can he really believe the woman he loved is a willing participant? Protecting Theresa and proving her innocence may destroy his career--but that's better than failing her twice in one lifetime.

They must form a partnership, tentative though it is. But there's no question they're both still keeping secrets--and that lack of trust, along with the dangerous criminals out for their blood, threatens their hearts, their faith, and their very survival.

To read an excerpt of Counterfeit Love click here.

About the Author:

Crystal Caudill is the author of "dangerously good historical romance," with her work garnering awards from Romance Writers of America and ACFW.

She is a stay-at-home mom and caregiver, and when she isn’t writing, Caudill can be found playing board games with her family, drinking hot tea, or reading other great books at her home outside Cincinnati, Ohio.

Learn more at crystalcaudill.com. You can also find her on Facebook and Instagram.

Author Interview:

Q: What situation does Theresa find herself in, through no fault of her own? Or is she really as innocent in everything going on around her?

A: Various betrayals work against Theresa throughout her history and present, not the least of which is the betrayal from her grandfather. While their debt developed through a combination of poor business choices, her misadventures, and reoccurring illness, it is ultimately his handling of that debt that leaves Theresa fighting for her home and her future. She is innocent of his poor choices, yet she is the one to pay the consequences and have her reputation clouded by a suspicion of criminal acts.

Even though Theresa is innocent of any criminal involvement, she is not innocent in all things. Like everyone else, she is responsible for her reactions and choices. Through her experiences growing up and now reenforced by Grandfathers betrayal, Theresa has learned to be self-reliant and rarely listens to the wise counsel of those around her. Unfortunately, her self-reliant decisions compound her problems, and her situation grows from dangerous to dire. 

Q: We think of the Secret Service today as the men and women in black suits within a certain perimeter protecting the President, but what was the original purpose of the Secret Service? 

A: I find the early days of the Secret Service incredibly fascinating and somewhat shrouded from public view. Most are familiar with their current black-suit role, but the Secret Service didn’t start unofficial part-time protection of the President until 1894, almost thirty years after their creation. While April 14, 1865, is most well-known for Abraham Lincolns assassination, it was also the date Abraham Lincoln authorized Secretary of the Treasury Hugh McCullough to create an organization whose sole purpose was to thwart the counterfeiting of U.S. currency. At that point in history, it is estimated that one-third of all circulating currency was counterfeit, and an unstable currency is a menace to the health and economy of a nation.

On July 5, 1865, William P. Wood was sworn in as the first Chief (now called Director) of the U.S. Secret Service. The organizations first decade was fraught with questionable practices, scandal, and a negative public image. In the mid-1870s, policies and procedures were changed, but they remained an organization with little power on their own. They required the partnership of local police or U.S. Marshalls to make arrests, obtain warrants, and conduct searches. The challenges they faced were incredible and so fascinating. In 1867, their umbrella of investigations expanded beyond counterfeiting to include any frauds against the government. Some examples are investigating the Ku Klux Klan, nonconforming distillers, smugglers, mail robbers, land frauds, and so much more. However, it wasn’t until President McKinleys assassination in 1901 that Congress requested official full-time Secret Service protection of U.S. presidents, and it was 1902 before the Secret Service assumed that duty. I could literally spend hours talking about the history of the Secret Service because I love it so much. In fact, I created a section on my website to share some of the information that wouldn’t fit into my story for those who are interested.

Q: Counterfeit Love is the first in a series. Can you give us a tease of what to expect as the Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age series continues?

A: In book two, Counterfeit Hope, readers will get a surprising view of Andrew Darlington—an operative who has little tact and tends to see things in black in white. Readers and the heroine will discover that hes not quite the man he appears to be and is worthy of the title hero. However, hes been harboring a secret from his superiors. He spent his childhood as a member of a criminal family before being adopted by his arresting officer. When a case brings him face-to-face with his former family, his character comes into question despite all hes done to earn his sterling reputation. Matters only worsen when the woman who captures his attention—and possibly his affections—is the wrong kind of woman for a Secret Service operative. A pickpocket and former prostitute.

In book three, Counterfeit Faith, Josiah Isaacss charming ways get put to the test when he partners with the matron of Final Chance House of Refuge. Someone is using the institution for children convicted of crimes as a cover for their participation in a green goods game, and theyre willing to silence anyone who poses a threat to their operations, including the matron and children who are forced to participate. 


After readers finish Counterfeit Love, they can head to www.crystalcaudill.com where they can access bonus features including a virtual tour of 1884 Cincinnati, all the Secret Service research facts that didn’t make the story, and information about Bearing Precious Seeds, a Bible printing ministry where a portion of proceeds from the sales of Counterfeit Love will be donated. Caudill has also created a book club kit that includes discussion questions, behind-the-scenes fun facts, and more.

Advance Praise

“Crystal Caudill has hit a home run with this action-packed historical romance. If you like characters who come alive, a hero to make you swoon, and edge-of-your-seat intrigue, you’ll love this story. A fantastic debut from an author I’m looking forward to reading again!” 

~ Misty M. Beller, USA Today bestselling author of the Brides of Laurent series

“Full of intrigue, Counterfeit Love is sure to delight fans of historical romantic suspense. As Caudill immerses readers in the world of counterfeiting rings and the early days of the Secret Service, she weaves a tale that is simultaneously well-researched and action-packed with delightfully flawed characters who will leave readers rooting for their redemption.” 

~ Amanda Cox, author of The Edge of Belonging and The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery 

“With swoony romance, intriguing history, gripping plot twists, and strong characters, Counterfeit Love is one of the strongest debut novels I’ve ever read! Caudill’s writing voice is pitch-perfect and draws readers immediately into the heart of the story, holding them in thrall until the end. And did I mention the swoony romance? I couldn’t put it down, and I am already eagerly waiting for the next book!” 

~ Carrie Schmidt, blogger at ReadingIsMySuperPower.org


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