Who can enjoy living in the company of secrets? Olivia Mott ends up in a web of deceit despite her best intentions. As her aunt Evelyn says, one lie leads to another and yet another and then there is no escape. I loved reading this book set in the historic Illinois town of Pullman. Any pioneer story appeals to me and we perhaps see the beginnings of revolution, or the Union movement in America somewhere in this book. Apart from the historic and social significance, this is an engrossing tale with an iron lady as its main character.
Olivia Mott wants to be a chef. She works in the kitchens of an Earl but does not enjoy the lascivious advances of the chef. She runs off to America with the truant daughter of the Earl, Lady Charlotte, and they end up in Pullman. Olivia is happy because her cousin Al lives there. Charlotte plans to meet her beau Randolph Morgan and is planning her wedding. But their world comes crashing down when they learn Randolph is a married man. Now Charlotte is in a delicate condition and poses as a widow.
Charlotte and Olivia share the company accommodation paying a hefty rent for it. Charlotte bears a child, but leaves all the work for Olivia. Olivia must work hard both at the hotel and home to keep things going. Her mentor Chef Rene is pleased with her, and she ends up planning a tea for Mrs. Pullman. Samuel Howard is the company agent who pursues Olivia and wants her to marry him. Fred is a young man who is closer to Olivia’s heart. But he is hot headed and also at the mercy of Mr. Howard.
We find Olivia juggling several balls in the air, learning new skills and keeping two aggressive men at arm’s length. the story takes a few unexpected turns and Olivia is faced with some tough choices. In the Company of Secrets is part of the ‘Postcards from Pullman’ series, but there are no postcards here really. I think they might be more relevant in future books because Olivia neither sends nor receives letters or any communication.
The book ends with a cliffhanger which is a bit disappointing but is a perfect segue into the next book. One can only hope that the story picks up where it is left off. I love historical romances and this one is refreshing! Highly recommended for anyone who likes a good story.