A Respectable Actress

A Respectable Actress

A Respectable Actress (Thomas Nelson, October 2015)

When India Hartley is accused of murder, she must uncover the deceptions of others to save herself.

India Hartley, a famous and beautiful actress, is now alone after her father’s death and embarks upon a tour of theaters across the South. Her first stop is Savannah’s Southern Palace. On the eve of the second night’s performance, something goes horribly wrong. Her co-star, Arthur Sterling, is shot dead on stage in front of a packed house, and India is arrested and accused of the crime.

A benefactor hires Philip Sinclair, the best—and handsomest—lawyer in Savannah to defend India. A widower, Philip is struggling to reinvent his worn-out plantation on St. Simons Island. He needs to increase his income from his law practice in order to restore Indigo Point, and hardly anything will bring him more new clients than successfully defending a famous actress on a murder charge.

Because India can’t go anywhere in town without being mobbed, Philip persuades the judge handling her case to let him take her to Indigo Point until her trial date. India is charmed by the beauty of the Georgia lowcountry and is increasingly drawn to Philip. But a locked room that appears to be a shrine to Philip’s dead wife and the unsolved disappearance of a former slave girl raise troubling questions. Piecing together clues in an abandoned boat and a burned-out chapel, India discovers a trail of dark secrets that lead back to Philip, secrets that ultimately may hold the key to her freedom. If only he will believe her.

Learn more and purchase a copy.


  • India Hartley is an actress who is in big trouble. She is all alone with nowhere to turn. She is in the South going to different places to show her act. She has just started her tour when someone gets killed and because he was the man who was in the show with her she gets blamed. She is arrested and does not know what to do. Philip Sinclair has been hired by someone who wants to help her because he is a great lawyer. He also happens to be a widower. They start to have feelings for each other but, Philip has a lot of hidden secrets. Will he be able to save her? Will they ever have a chance? I give this book a 4/5. I was given this book by Litfuse Publicity Group and these are all my opinions. –

  • A Southern Historical read, with a gothic twist. Well written, and full of mystery, as secrets are revealed and people are not as they seem, India doesn’t know where to turn or whom to trust.

    A very unique read, that the more I thought about it the more I realized that I had enjoyed it. This book has so much to offer, and plenty going on, kinda like Jane Erye on the stage of a Southern plantation.

    Philip is a good man, far from brooding, though he does tend to keep to himself. He is good at his job, and he does everything that he can to help India clear her name.

    Overall, a satisfying read that has much to offer from the mystery, secrets, and gothic setting to the romance, and friendship, along with the suspense. Definitely one to try out!

  • A historical thriller, a gentle romance and a very modern woman. A Respectable Actress has something for everyone. It will keep you hooked and guessing from the very first page. Absolutely perfect for a cosy winter’s read.

  • A Respectable Actress is a wonderful novel about mystery, love and deception. With an epic beginning, you will be glued to the pages all the way to the equally epic conclusion. This author is one of my favorite authors and compared to her other books this book was an equally wonderful read. This book was a real page-turner. I can’t wait to see what this author will write next.

  • A Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love was an amazing historical fiction book. I have read several books by this author and I loved each of them so this book had big shoes to fill and in short I loved everything about this book.

  • Historical novels like this one take the reader back to a time when society automatically made assumptions based on the classes of people and actors/actresses fell into line almost with prostitutes which I found more than interesting, how many judged India before any of them had read the truth and also how newspapers were more interested in selling papers over getting to the facts of the case before it went to print. A well written novel and one I found myself a silent character in which made it all the more delightful to spend time with Philip and India on the island. I can’t wait for more.

  • I love a good mystery. When I was a little girl, Nancy Drew books were one of my favorites. I never outgrew that. I dreamed of growing up and becoming a detective. While that never did happen, I still enjoy a good mystery novel.

    I thought A Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love was a great book. It combined mystery and romance and wrapped them together in a neat little box. I was unable to put this book down once I started it. I wanted to find out what happened next.

  • This is the first novel I’ve read authored by Dorothy Love, but I don’t think it will be the last! From the first few pages, this book is a page turner.The author does a fantastic job of “teaching” the history of the period through the work, but beyond that it is a mystery/suspense novel. India Hartley is an actress during a period of time when actors and actresses were not the major celebrities they are today. A performance goes terribly wrong, and now she’s thrust into a court battle when she’s accused of murdering her co-actor. Philip Sinclair rushes in to help, but India starts to uncover secrets and things that put her suspicions on high alert. This is where the author does a brilliant job at weaving a “who done it” style web in such an intricately unique manner that kept me guessing!

  • Throw in the word “benefactor,” and I already have great expectations for it. So when I saw that in the book summary for A Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love, it was instabooklove. The characters are so vivid and enthralliing in this story! Amidst it all, we have the haunting setting of Savannah, Georgia. If there ever was an air of mystery about a city, it’s in Savannah! I just love, love, love all of it.

  • ….I love the way Dorthy starts everything! Snatching your attention and not releasing it!….. Dealing with issues of who to trust and whether or not she will have a future can India unravel the secrets of St. Simon’s and it’s residents?…

  • A well written novel to treasure over and over again. I loved the history, romance and the suspense. The story kept me guessing right up to the very last second! Loved it!

  • This is an interesting story. My favorite part of the novel was even though India and Philip were attracted to each other, they did not rush their affection for each other. They both grieved the loss of someone they loved and wanted to pursue their relationship slowly.
    A Respectable Actress is a good book. It was an easy read and the ending was enjoyable. Check it out for yourself.

  • Best Reads says:

    Sheer brilliance! I love the mix of historical romance and suspense and Dorothy Love has done a superb job of blending the two. The plot twists have plot twists and the surprises don’t stop until the very end.

  • When there’s a book about a murder mystery that’s a historical fiction, you can count me in. Mysteries are some of my favorite books to read. I love trying to find all the clues and hints and who did what. Lucky for me, the latest from Dorothy Love combines all of those elements!

    I really enjoyed trying to figure out who was responsible for the murder. There were some plot twists to the murder and mystery as well, and it was enough to keep me guessing. Sometimes too many twists can pull down a novel, but that wasn’t the case with this one. It was the perfect amount!…

  • This was an enjoyable book for me. I liked how the author’s writing kept the story moving along at a nice pace. I was grabbed on page one and went along for the ups and downs along with India as the story went along. You have to feel bad for India for being arrested for the murder of her co-star. I also enjoyed how Philip and India played off of each other. The characters were well developed as well as the scene description was done very well. This book is full of surprises and mysteries which makes for a good story. Then you add in a little romance and it makes for the perfect rainy day book. If you are a fan of mysteries and history then this is the book for you.

  • This book gave me a great historical look into being an actress back when it wasn’t “respectable” for women. This book is based on the theater in a time when it was just beginning to turn around and become more respectable and acceptable in high society. The historical aspects of this book were really interesting!

    This book is also filled with romance, mystery, murder and so many twists and turns. It was a great book and, as always, Dorothy Love delivers a book that I just don’t want to put down!

  • The first half of the book focuses on India’s one month stay on the island before her trial. The second half deals with the trial and its aftermath. Here, the twists and turns become numerous with many players getting involved. Amazingly, all the strands of this intricately woven plot do come together and we get the ending that was presumed from the beginning. Overall, A Respectable Actress is an historical romantic suspense novel that’s sure to please other fans of the genre.

  • I enjoy historical fiction and novels set in the south, so A Respectable Actress is exactly my type of read. I loved the atmospheric setting of Savannah (my favorite place – I lived there as a child) and St. Simons Island. The theatre world was equally fascinating.

    India was a strong, interesting character. Philip was equally intelligent and likable. I really liked the way they worked together to solve the mystery, while they were drawn together in the process.

    A Respectable Actress was a real page turner combining both mystery and romance. It is my first read by Dorothy Love, but will certainly not be my last!

  • This fascinating novel combines murder, mystery, and not a little mayhem–as well as romance, of course–as it opens with a bang. The post-Civil War setting and the prevailing attitudes toward the acting profession greatly influence the story line and plot, and the author uses this to deepen the character development and add layers to the story. Secrets and unexpected twists in the plot kept me rapidly turning pages as I endeavored to determine who murdered the lead actor.

  • Moments says:

    I loved the setting of the story and Dorothy did a wonderful job with creating the scene. Set in the deep south following the war and the devastation that took place in the land, but also in the people’s spirits. Indigo Point is home to Philip and a haven to those living there, but it also holds secrets and is holding the past captive for Philip and others. I could picture the home, the walkways, the destruction and the vision that Philip had for rebuilding it.
    The other characters added so much to the story and of course my favorites were Celia and Frannie, but Mr. Lockwood became a favorite as well. I loved the roles that they played in India’s life.

  • As a huge fan of theater, I love to read anything connected to it. This story was no exception as Dorothy Love paints a vivid picture of life on the stage for a honest young woman who is wrongly accused of murder. Love has done her research here and the elements of life at that time ring true. There’s murder, intrigue, tension, and more than a little romance all rolled together for an enjoyable read.

  • Dorothy Love is one of my favorite authors so when I saw this book, I jumped at the chance to read and review it and I wasn’t disappointed! In fact, this may be her best one yet!

    This book has so much of what I love in a book. Mystery, intrigue, romance, with accurate historical information woven throughout. This book is set during the time after the civil war when the South is trying to rebuild. I especially loved that this was set in an area that I’ve always wanted to visit – the low-country of Georgia. The author made you feel like you were there with her amazing descriptions of this area.

  • Love’s stories are a delight to read! Her portrayal of the time period in A Respectable Actress is on point. The characters, especially India and Philip, are complex and well-developed. Love blends the perfect balance of suspense and historical romance. Love kept my attention with a steady pace of twists and turns that kept me engaged with the story. The description in A Respectable Actress is superb. Love uses her words wisely and conveys a lot into a few words. I appreciated that Love highlighted the arts in this book and gave an excellent view of the theater in post-Civil War South. If you like historical novels and mysteries, you will love this latest offering from Dorothy Love!

  • Savannah, Georgia 1870 any story that will take me there during that time period you have my full attention. The fact that India is an actress at that time is even more interesting as I have never read anything about the theater back then. Now she is accused of murder and Mrs. Mackay, from Ms. Love’s other book, “The Bracelet”, hires Philip Sinclair to defend her. Now we are talking we have a courtroom battle coming up and Philip is not Perry Mason. But before anything can happen Philip takes her to his home on St. Simons Island where nothing is what it looks like. There are secrets that will be exposed, locked rooms and unsolved disappearances. And did I mention that this is also a romance? Ms. Love is an excellent writer and makes India, Philip and all the secondary characters believable.

  • Never judge a book by it’s cover! And that’s exactly what I did with A Respectable Actress as the cover art didn’t appeal to me at all. I had read a couple of the by the author before, so I thought I would give this one a try anyway. The author, Dorothy Love, has a talent for writing historical-fiction and she does a remarkable job with this novel. Right from the first chapter, I was hooked into the murder mystery. Both the main characters, India and Philip, were likeable, the descriptions were detailed and the dialogue was well-written. Overall, A Respectable Actress is fast-paced romantic read with a several twists-and-turns.

  • One of my favorite spots to vacation is St. Simon’s Island, so I was intrigued by Dorothy Love’s novel that takes place in 1870, off the coast of Georgia. I was captivated by the dramatic murder mystery that leads India Hartley to await trial at Indigo Point, the home of her handsome lawyer, Philip Sinclair.

    While she explores dark secrets of the plantation, she also falls in love with the beauty of Georgia’s lowcountry, which appealed to me as a lover of Georgia’s history and great outdoors.

    As the author notes in the back of the book, the novel is based on real diaries and letters of Georgia natives. It also deals with the topic of grief, which is helpful for anyone dealing with the loss of a loved one. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading another novel by Dorothy Love!

  • India’s story takes a twisted path as she fights not only to clear her name but also to find love and a future for herself. She is faced with one crisis right after another, and there’s rarely light in the distance. It must have been very difficult to put one foot in front of the other during this time, and yet India’s struggle is encouraging in this way. Her determination and persistence in the light of her bleak future and lack of family is inspiring.

    Dorothy Love is an excellent writer. She breathes life into history and creates feelings from numbers and facts. Her storytelling is smooth and she knows how to build suspense. A Respectable Actress shines the spotlight on a little-known attitude in American history – and it’s fascinating.

  • Beauty, history, romance and intrigue all come to mind when I think of Dorothy Love. Her books never fail to entertain and draw you into the depths of a richly fulfilling story. A Respectable Actress is a gorgeous, compelling tale that begins on the stage in Savannah and rushes along to St. Simons Island when the main character, actress India Hartley, is accused of murder. Her handsome lawyer, Philip Sinclair, wants India to feel safe at his home, Indigo Point, but ghosts from the past exist in this haven and not everyone can be trusted. I’m always impressed with how Dorothy Love’s incredible ability to paint pictures with her words. Highly recommend!

  • This book caught my attention because a 19th century murder investigation sounded like interesting reading material. Sure enough, everything is much different than what you would see today. I felt like the book was very historically accurate and highlighted issues that Georgia faced in the Reconstruction Era. Even though the story was centered around a mystery and had moments of suspenseful tension, the plot seemed more character-driven or even pastoral. I’m not a huge fan of suspense so it was a nice balance for me, making this quite an enjoyable read.

  • Will India end up dying for a crime she was innocently forced to do, or will Philip be able to work his magic and free her. Open the pages of this book and the Author will draw you right in, when it is ended, I wanted more. Enjoy!

  • A rich historical mystery that was quite enjoyable!

  • Dorothy Love is not a new author to me and I’ve genuinely enjoyed her previous works that I’ve read, so I was quite excited when A Respectable Actress arrived. She combines romance and mystery beautifully in the this thick plot and keeps the readers engaged with her lovely characters.

    Her writing style is gorgeous and easy to understand in addition to the characters being life-like and relatable. The only complaint that I have with A Respectable Actress is that the details tended to get overbearing and caused the book to lag a bit in the places that focused on insignificant objects rather than the story or characters. But these were not very often and the overall of the story flowed very well.

  • The more books I read, the more I realize how blessed we are with great authors who know how to please their audience. One such author is the amazing Dorothy Love. I have yet to read a book of hers that I did not enjoy and A Respectable Actress was no different. In fact, I finished this one within a couple hours so that tells you just how much I liked it! Love pens a novel that pulls you into a time past–a time very different from our own in many ways.

  • A RESPECTABLE ACTRESS was so much more than I was expecting…

    I enjoyed the pace and felt so invested in this story. I also liked that the romance was slow to build and felt right for the circumstances. The story was great from beginning to end!

    I’d recommend A RESPECTABLE ACTRESS to those who enjoy historical romance, historical suspense, or a combination of the two.

  • Laura Hix says:

    A Respectable Actress, filled with lots of intrigue, mystery, action, secrets becomes a great read to keep you moving from the very first page, to the very last word.
    I don’t normally like historical fiction, especially when you through some romance in there, however, this book was written so well, that it made me feel like I was really there at times

  • I was pretty pleasantly surprised with this book. It would’ve gotten a big higher rating had it had a fantastic faith-strand, but that was sadly missing. However, the mystery and suspense of this book was gripping. It wasn’t creepy, or dark at all, and the feel of it was lovely, truly. I really liked the character India and Philip, as well as Amelia, and a several others. The historical aspect was rich and yet it didn’t bog the book down at all, which I really appreciate. It really was a rather beautiful book.

    The setting was intriguing, and well described so that I could picture it well. There were some interesting twists, and this book kept my attention quite well!

  • I nearly finished this book in a day.

    Truly! I had to work at 9am the next day, but it didn’t stop me from staying up into the wee hours of the night because I wanted answers! The very beginning captivated me; intertwining the ‘normal world’ with the inciting incident was done brilliantly! I really couldn’t stop reading–I polished off 250 out of the 350 or so pages in one night…

    I really enjoyed the background and character of India.

    I loved how she had gone through the kind of hardship in her life that could have hardened her as a person, but that she was still meek and gentle; naive even.

    The mystery had me totally stumped.

    I was completely surprised as the mystery unfolded! One completely unexpected plot twist after another had me reeling…

  • I did enjoy the scenery and time period in which this story was set. This story tries to add some mystery to liven it up, but it just didn’t work for me. It was very predictable, and I found the main male character, Philip, cold and distant. I really didn’t connect with the lead female character, India, either. Philip put his faith in the law and India believed Fate gave her a second chance at life. There was no mention of God or any type of relationship with Him. I could have picked this book up from a secular publisher just as easily as I did from Thomas Nelson. I am disappointed in the lack of faith issues with this book as well as some other recently released books from this publisher.

  • I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, an impressively well-written story that features romance, mystery, suspense, and even some gothic overtones. I’ve always been a fan of gothic romances, so this was an added delight, as was the blend of murder mystery with the historical setting of Georgia’s St. Simons Island. Historical detail was fascinating. Nothing predictable about this story! I didn’t feel much chemistry between Philip and India, yet I think there’s an authenticity to Dorothy’s writing and their romance fit the times. Disappointed in lack of spiritual message, but recommend the story overall.

  • A Respectable Actress is a respectable gothic mystery set in antebellum Savannah and the outlying islands. Dorothy Love has captured with exquisite tension the plight of one young woman whose world is upended with a single script change. From the stage – where nothing is as it seems – to a remote island – where no one is as they seem – readers will be caught up in the suspense and intrigue. Recommended for fans of Jane Eyre, Tamera Alexander, and Jane Nickerson.

  • I really enjoyed the characters in this book, they all were real people who had messy lives and secrets like the rest of us. Dorothy Love writes with authority about Civil War, Reconstruction of the South, The South and the United States during this time, and the justice system during this time. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Christian Historical Fiction with a little suspense, you will not be disappointed. I look forward to reading more of Dorothy Love’s books.

  • This book was pretty well done. It is a historic novel and she definitely knows her history. I did think that the relationship between India and Phillip was a bit forced. I didn’t really “feel” them falling in love and the kisses seemed to come out of nowhere!! I also felt like the supporting characters were not well written. Other than that, it was a good read. It kept my attention and I felt drawn to the main character. I would definitely recommend as a light and fun read.

  • By The Book says:

    I have been on a suspense reading jag and in desperate need of a change of pace. Dorothy Love’s latest historical novel, A Respectable Actress, was the perfect choice! Well-researched and richly detailed, this book brought post-Civil War Savannah and St. Simon’s Island to life. I became thoroughly immersed in the sounds and sights of a genteel world struggling to adapt to the new order in which they find themselves. Add a romance and a mystery, and you get a complex book that definitely exceeded this reader’s expectations. A Respectable Actress gets a highly recommended designation from me.

  • Fic Gal says:

    When it comes to picking a book to read the thing that jumps out at me if I’m not familiar with an author is the title. If the title makes me want to know more I take that as a good sign. I also really like this cover. It is pretty and kinda mysterious at the same time. I try not to read the description for a book since sometimes they give away too much so I prefer to go in somewhat blind.

    Read the rest of my review on my website.

  • Although I didn’t particularly become attached to the characters and expected more from the love story, this novel’s suspenseful nature and well-researched historical background made the novel enjoyable and exciting.

  • The reader is taken to the town of Savannah Georgia where life is far simpler but in a way more complex. Follow along as India Hartley is accused of murder, jailed and then put on trial. Her handsome and well-known attorney would be Phillip, the man who hasn’t forgotten his first wife. There is a much deeper mystery surrounding this southern town but will Phillip and India be able to figure it out before they both get swallowed up by it? An amazing story that lacked some spiritual depth but otherwise good.

  • Book by Book says:

    Once again, Dorothy Love crafts a vivid and intriguing historical novel, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. With consistent suspense and a delightful touch of romance, A Respectable Actress unfolds against the historic backdrop of cultured Savannah and the struggling, secret-laden Indigo Point. An entirely fascinating novel with a steady pace and a variety of characters, it offers fans of historical fiction a great read.

  • An explosion takes place while India is on stage, the leading man dies and all eyes are on her. Thankfully her lawyer removes her from the spotlight while his investigation and defense plan takes place. I found this to be an intriguing mystery and thoroughly enjoyed every twist and turn in the book. Enjoyed reading how a murder investigation was done back in th the 19th century, found it very interesting. This was just a great book!

  • In this story, India Hartley is an actress in the late 1800’s, a time when acting is looked down upon. India is in the middle of a performance when her co-star is shot to death – and all the evidence makes it look as though India is the murderer. Philip Sinclair is hired to defend her. The book follows the time leading up to the trial, as well as the trial itself, and then even after the trial has taken place. The author takes plenty of time to build a relationship between Philip and India. Philip’s wife’s death has a bit of a mystery around her, as well as the disappearance of a local slave girl. And as India begins investigating, she finds there is much more to the story of her co-star’s death than she realized.

    I really liked this book and the writing style of Love.

  • I very much enjoyed this book! I don’t know a lot about theatre and the stage back in the late 1800’s but I do know they were not highly respected or looked at during that time period. It makes sense that the girl from the theatre would be the easy target to frame for murder. Especially since it was her gun that was used that day! And she’d had an altercation with the murdered gentleman just that day!

  • Unfortunately, this book just didn’t hold my attention. I’m hard pressed to say what exactly it was, but I just was not captivated by the storyline. It took me much longer to read this book than normal because I kept putting it down and forgetting about it.

  • This is one of those books that you cannot put down once you read. Seriously! I was up late into the night to find out how things would turn out for main character, India! She was a very strong character and I immediately fell in love with her character. The rest of the characters were very well portrayed by the author, and the story lines connected them all very well. The book flowed nicely and brought together themes like taking chances, romance, courage, betrayal and more. There is something for everyone who chooses to read this great historical fiction/romance novel.
    I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up.

  • Write a Review

     characters available