This was an intriguing historical novel about a woman who works undercover as an investigator for the Labor Commission. When one of her coworkers dies while on a case, Caroline agrees to get a job at the same factory he worked at in order to ascertain whether his death was an accident and also to finish the investigation he started. Dinsmore's World-Famous Chocolates Factory in Kansas employs a large number of children, which breaks Caroline's heart because she knows what it was like to work as a child rather than go to school. She passionately wants to see the laws change so children can have an actual childhood. She's been an investigator for five years, moving from job to job, city to city, and has no time for a romance until she meets Oliver Dinsmore.
Oliver is also working undercover, but as a janitor, to learn all he can about his family's business, looking for ways to improve operations. He thinks children working for his father get to learn a skill and that they're paid well in order to help their families survive. He's drawn to Caroline, but also wonders why she asks so many questions. Caroline decides to avoid him, but they're thrown together at every turn. When she takes three children into her care, will they finally see eye to eye? Will they be able to trust each other with the truth about their identities?
I really liked spunky Caroline and gentlemanly Oliver, along with the rest of the interesting characters. They really came to life so I felt as if I actually knew them. It was funny to see Oliver try to act like the common man when his cultured speech kept giving him away. I thought Caroline should have caught on to some things faster or been more alert for having been an investigator that long. The small amount of romance was cute, though I did wish for more. I liked that the viewpoints switched between Caroline, Oliver, one of the children, and mean Gordon Hightower, their boss. I was nervous just waiting for him to make his next move. I enjoyed Sawyer's writing, but I did feel the plot moved a little slowly. I liked the importance Caroline gives to her faith and the power of prayer. It was also interesting learning about the working conditions for children and what life was like before minimum age requirements in the workforce. I really enjoyed this and you should check it out if you like historical fiction!
I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.
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