A Ring of Truth

A Henrietta and Inspector Howard novel

Fiction - Mystery - Historical
320 Pages
Reviewed on 09/12/2017
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Author Biography

Michelle Cox holds a B.A. in English literature from Mundelein College, Chicago, and is the author of the award-winning Henrietta and Inspector Howard series. Book two of the series, A Ring of Truth, was released April 2017 with She Writes Press. Cox is also known for her charmingly popular “Novel Notes of Local Lore,” a blog dedicated to Chicago’s forgotten residents. Michelle lives with her husband and three children in the Chicago suburbs.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

It’s somewhat disconcerting to be all caught up in the latest plot twist which has come suddenly toward the end of a book, to turn the page and suddenly find yourself reading the “Acknowledgements”. What happened after the protagonist put a letter in her pocket and decided she knew what she must now do? Then it dawns on you: of course! A Ring of Truth is the second book in a series set in Chicago in the mid 1930s, starring the beautiful Henrietta and her handsome, rich fiance, police inspector Clive Howard. We have been so caught up following the romantic love story of these two, who have just had an elaborate engagement party and have set their wedding date for three months away, that we’ve forgotten A Ring of Truth is part of a series that began with Michelle Cox’s first book, A Girl Like You. How clever of the author to hook us like that. Will we be able to wait to find out what Henrietta’s decision was in book three, A Promise Given?

While the primary focus in A Ring of Truth is the beautiful love story of Henrietta and Clive, which reminds us of classics like Pride and Prejudice or the movies My Fair Lady and Pretty Woman, it comes with a sinister sub plot involving criminals, violence against women, theft and murder. This subplot is what first brought Henrietta and Inspector Clive Howard together. It leaves Clive worried what danger may befall his beloved Henrietta in the months ahead, while she and his high society mother, Antonia, plan the wedding of the year. Simultaneously, it leaves the reader anticipating the upcoming book. Where will Michelle Cox take us, her protagonists and their immediate families?

Michelle Cox is wonderful at creating characters who come alive on the page. As Henrietta, who comes from a very humble, lower class part of Chicago, wonders how she can possibly fit in at Highbury Estate, where she feels more at home with the servants than with Clive’s often very proper parents, her struggle is so real that readers feel her every emotion and doubt. The same applies to Clive, who, while he never questions his love for his bride-to-be, is also dogged by questions about his future as a police inspector and/or, one day, the master of Highbury Estate and taking over his father’s business. Cox weaves a rich tapestry of characters into the primary plot of A Ring of Truth and keeps her readers guessing till the end…and then even after the last page is read! If you enjoy series of this kind, love touching romantic stories, well defined characters, and just enough nastiness to keep you turning pages, you’ll love A Ring of Truth.

Christian Sia

A Ring of Truth: A Henrietta and Inspector Howard novel by Michelle Cox is a work of brilliance, an intelligently written thriller that explores the background of a newly-engaged couple, creating a page-turner set against a heterogeneous backdrop of the 1930s in Chicago. Clive and Henrietta are just about to start getting to know each other’s families, but then it seems as if it might be a very challenging task for both of them.

Clive never informed Henrietta that he is the heir to the Howard estate and fortune, and Henrietta never suspected that her mother has kept dark secrets from her about her past. At the Howards, the loss of the ring of an old maid pulls Henrietta into a story she’d never have imagined being part of. Watch the pair as they set out to discover the truth about their families, about themselves, and to determine if they are really meant for each other.

Michelle Cox has crafted a sensational story with an exciting setting that readers will enjoy navigating. I enjoyed the masterful use of contrast which is developed at different levels of the story. The characters are fun to stick around with and Clive and Henrietta are well-developed, real, and memorable. They are an incredible pair of sleuths and the reader learns to care about them as they are eager to see what happens at the end. A Ring of Truth: A Henrietta and Inspector Howard novel features great writing with exceptional dialogues and a plot that is swiftly paced, driven by a strong conflict. This book was great entertainment.

Joana James

A Ring of Truth by Michelle Cox is a quaint and intriguing novel which follows Henrietta and Inspector Clive on their journey of love. Henrietta, from a poor struggling family, has no clue about her family’s noble roots. Nor does she quite know anything about the background of the man she loves. Arriving at his castle of a home is daunting and a gargantuan surprise. Of course, because of her own humble upbringing, she is entirely uncomfortable with the new life that she is expected to lead and, instead, spends her time fraternizing with the servants. She becomes completely enthralled in their everyday lives and finds herself in the middle of a mystery with enough potential to completely derail her new life.

With all the passion and excitement of a romance novel and the thrill of a good mystery, A Ring of Truth is an excellently written period piece based on some of the lesser characters of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It is easy to find oneself transported to the 1930s in this piece with a fantastic telling of the stark difference between the rich and the poor of that time. Our heroine, Henrietta, finds herself torn between these two worlds and struggling to find her place in either. This is quite the imaginative piece and is well done; a fitting tribute to Austen’s work. Not even remotely corny in nature, it is easy to fall in love with the writing style and the characters themselves. The romance, though fierce and passionate, is far from melodramatic. Instead, it is gripping and makes the book quite hard to put down. This is truly a wonderful story, a great piece by Michelle Cox.

Lisa McCombs

Michelle Cox does it again! The author of A Girl Like You brings her beloved characters back to the page in A Ring of Truth: A Henrietta and Inspector Howard Novel. In this second installment of historical mystery fiction, Henrietta is still reeling from her whirlwind romance, as well as recovering from her life at the Marlowe. Although she realized that her fiancé Clive Howard was from substantial beginnings, she never would have dreamed of the lavish lifestyle to which he was obviously accustomed. Meeting her parents was one thing, but Henrietta could not dismiss how far out of Clive’s league she truly was upon her introduction to his parents. As she is discouraged from continuing any relationships with the servants, Henrietta begins to truly understand the differences in the status of her own past and her future life. A rash of unexplained thefts in the household quickly points suspicion in the direction of the very people in whom Henrietta finds the most comfort in the prim and proper household she is destined to join.

Michelle Cox has once again provided a story rich with vivid images and charming dialog. We observe our main character continuing to evolve into a classy woman of honor as she refuses to be anyone but herself. A love story to envied, A Ring of Truth provides a satisfying mixture of mystery and romance that takes the reader to a more simplistic life in the 1930’s. I close my eyes and find myself in Henrietta’s world. A Ring of Truth is a lovely continuation of Michelle Cox’s A Girl Like You. I love this author's stories and look forward to reading more of her work!

Ruffina Oserio

A Ring of Truth: A Henrietta and Inspector Howard novel by Michelle Cox is a historical mix of romance and mystery, a story about two compelling characters and the dilemma in which they find themselves. Clive and Henrietta have just become engaged and it’s time to meet each other’s family. But things could change drastically and their love be tested in ways they never could have known, because they haven’t been very honest with each other, and it seems neither of the two is ready for this moment. While Clive has withheld a unique truth about his background — he is heir to the Howard estate and fortune — Henrietta has just found out more disturbing secrets about her past. Clive’s world might not be the place for Henrietta, and the disappearance of a servant’s ring at the Howard home sets in motion a chain of events that will test everything Henrietta ever thought about love. Are they really meant for each other?

This is an interesting, conflict-driven story with powerful historical references, strong characters, and surprises that readers won’t see coming. Michelle Cox has the gift of making readers care for her characters. I enjoyed the social and family issues that are beautifully woven into the plot, and readers will enjoy the world where elderly maids have become part of a family. The key characters, Clive and Henrietta, are a wonderful pair and readers will want to follow them as they struggle to unveil their worlds to each other. A Ring of Truth: A Henrietta and Inspector Howard novel contains great prose and I was completely awed by the finesse and fluidity of the prose, the vivid descriptions, and the depth of emotions that are masterfully explored. This is great entertainment for readers.

Emily-Jane Hills Orford

Who would have thought that a poor girl from a large family would catch the eye of a wealthy man? Henrietta came from a large family, one that scrambled to make ends meet and put food on the table. Clive was a police inspector, but, unknown to Henrietta, he came from a very wealthy background. Will Henrietta fit into the wealthy snob set once she is introduced to his family, following the announcement of their engagement? Or is there something in her heritage, a mystery that even she didn’t know, that will garner some affection for a world completely different from the one to which she was born and raised? And then there are the antagonists. There has to be some evil lurking somewhere and this evil seems intent on capturing and harming Henrietta.

There is a lot of drama and excitement, not to mention romance, in Michelle Cox’s mystery, A Ring of Truth: A Henrietta and Inspector Howard Novel. This is not the first book and there is a lot of background information needed to follow this story, as it is linked to the previous novel. The use of backstory is necessary to a point and it should not be overused. Most of the chapters are written with significant backstory and this hinders the plot development. The characters, the setting and the plot make for a complex mystery with a bit of romance. Thrown into the mix is the underlying conflict of class distinction and the expectations of society, especially in the post World War I era. An interesting read.