Lucy Drake was born into a family with a legal dispute. A forty-year court case over the invention of a pressure-regulating water valve looms over her head. Lucy and her brother live humble lives and give all their spare time trying to stop their money-hungry Uncle Thomas, who has set the price of the valve so high that the common tenement owners in New York City can't afford it, and therefore thousands of people in those tenements live without running water. Working for the Associated Press as a telegrapher has allowed Lucy to tap into the line of her uncle's attorney, and that's the only way Lucy and Nick are staying ahead of Uncle Thomas's tactics.
A problem at work brings Lucy in contact with Sir Colin Beckwith, a British Reuters employee who has come to America in search of a wealthy bride whose fortune can help restore his ancestral estate. There's an immediate attraction between the two of them, despite the fact that they work for rival news agencies and Lucy has no money to help bring Whitefriars back to glory. Their friendship solidifies when Colin agrees not to expose Lucy's illegal tap and Lucy agrees to bury a society column about the jitters Colin suffers after his time spent covering the Boer War.
When a message comes across Lucy's hidden tap that appears to be about a planned assassination attempt on President Theodore Roosevelt, Lucy has no one to turn to except Colin. She tries to go to the police but they mostly scoff at her for having no evidence besides a vague telegram of questionable origin. Colin offers to act as a secret agent and go directly into the territory of the man Lucy dreads most - her nefarious uncle - to see what he can discover about the assassination plot. If he can meet wealthy and eligible young ladies on his trip upstate, all the better.
Through twists, turns, kidnappings, and senseless cruelty, Lucy and Colin are both about to discover what is important in life. Their reaction to this new understanding will lead each of them down paths they never expected - and readers will be surprised, as well!
This is a book that will have quite a draw for historical fans. There are so many wonderful things it digs into - telegraphs, tenements, the downfall of many British estates as the twentieth century arrived, Roosevelt's unpopularity as he was working towards the Panama Canal, even Victorian stuffed animal tableaux! I feel like it might be a little heavy on history for the average reader, but I was captivated and truly enjoyed every aspect of this suspenseful novel.
I received my copy of the book from the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.