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Kansas, 1872. Unwed mother Nell Lillington hopes to support her daughter Sarah and friend Tess by working as a seamstress in an isolated seminary. When her only ally among the seminary's leaders dies, she must choose between returning to her old life in Chicago and remaining in charge of her destiny.
As her talent as a dressmaker begins to win her commissions, Nell attracts the attention of two suitors: Reiner Lehmann, a wealthy senior student, and Judah Poulton, an impoverished professor. Shocking news from back home and another death at the seminary press Nell to make her decision. A disastrous winter journey, a treacherous game, and an impossible love could finally wrest control of Nell's life out of her hands for good.
Eternal Deception is the second book in a series of engrossing historical fiction novels. If you like intriguing mystery, charming romance, and surprises you won't see coming, you'll love this story of one woman's battle for herself on the 19th century frontier.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Maggie Tuliver on 09-30-16
Great story with great characters
Eternal Deception, by Jane Steen, is the second book of The House of Closed Doors series. In this book, we continue with Nell’s journey in search of independence and a place for herself and her family in the world. By the end of the first book, she was a very young unwedded mother with a friend heading for the Kansas frontier to work as a seamstress for a Seminary.
Nell is a great character; she is stubborn, patient and determined to follow her dreams. And she is still learning and growing, making mistakes along the way and falling into traps. The book is very detailed in terms of a historical description of the place and the period, showing the beauty, difficulties and hardships of the frontier for all its inhabitants. Nell is isolated in the Eternal Life Seminary, with a tiny growing town an hour away, and her friend Catherine Lombardi and her family on a mission a day away. The hardness of circumstances is also reflected in the people who surround Nell, depicting a money- and status-driven society and revealing to Nell the difficulties of starting again, of being accepted in the identity she has chosen and is creating for herself, and of leaving behind the mistakes she committed (and this is not just a problem of that period). Her long awaited independence is constantly threatened not only because she must conform – to a certain extent – to society, but also because she is now responsible for Tess and Sarah, and that responsibility means that her choices will affect them both (including the consequences of her past choices). It is quite interesting to follow Nell’s struggle for balancing happiness and security for all of her chosen family, and how she matures along the way.
The book brings a great period reconstruction, showing the rapid development of border towns while (from afar) we heard about the Chicago reconstruction after the great fire, but at the same time it brings a relatable and compelling story of personal growth. Jane Steen is an excellent storyteller, her prose is very elegant, her characters are colorful and entertaining and I can’t wait to see what comes next for them all.
I was given a copy of the audio book in exchange of an honest review and I would recommend it to everyone, but particularly to fans of historical novels. The narration is outstanding with an excellent range of voice and tone, improving the listener experience. (And since I had previously bought the ebook, so anxious I was to keep reading about Nell, I can tell).
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Elaine on 10-18-16
Hoping there will be a Book 3!
Eternal Deception is book 2 after The House of Closed Doors. I listened to both books and enjoyed them immensely. In a nutshell, Eternal Deception is interesting, well-written and beautifully narrated. This book follows the adventures of Nell Lillington (sp) as she tries to make a life for herself, her friend Tess, and her illegitimate daughter Sarah, after leaving her birthplace and going to Kansas. The stigma of illegitimacy that affects her daughter plays a part in Nell's decision making. But it is Nell herself about whom I could not help but care and worry over. She is fiercely independent and this character trait does not always work out well for her. Jane Steen does an excellent job of writing and holding one's interest in the entire cast of characters. Their strengths and weaknesses, along with the plots and subplots, kept me concerned and anxious to get back to listening whenever I had to stop to do other things :-) I have listened to several of the many books narrated by Elizabeth Klett and she is the best! I love her voice and the way she is able to use her voice to characterize and distinguish the different people in the book. All in all, a very fine listening experience. I'm hoping for a sequel!
1 of 1 people found this review helpful