Romancing History

Book Review: Counterfeit Love & a Giveaway

About the Book

Title: Counterfeit Love
Series Info: Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age, Book #1
Author: Crystal Caudill
Genre: Historical Romance
Book Info: Kregel Books; March 15, 2022; 336pp


Can this undercover agent save the woman he loves–or is her heart as counterfeit as the money he’s been sent to track down?

After all that Grandfather has sacrificed to raise her, Theresa Plane owes it to him to save the family name–and that means clearing their debt with creditors before she marries Edward Greystone. But when one of the creditors’ threats leads her to stumble across a midnight meeting, she discovers that the money he owes isn’t all Grandfather was hiding. And the secrets he kept have now trapped Theresa in a life-threatening fight for her home–and the truth.

After months of undercover work, Secret Service operative Broderick Cosgrove is finally about to uncover the identity of the leader of a notorious counterfeiting ring. That moment of triumph turns to horror, however, when he finds undeniable proof that his former fiancée is connected. Can he really believe the woman he loved is a willing participant? Protecting Theresa and proving her innocence may destroy his career–but that’s better than failing her twice in one lifetime.

They must form a partnership, tentative though it is. But there’s no question they’re both still keeping secrets–and that lack of trust, along with the dangerous criminals out for their blood, threatens their hearts, their faith, and their very survival.

Combining rich history, danger, suspense, and romance, Crystal Caudill’s debut novel launches this new historical series with a bang. Fans of Elizabeth Camden, Michelle Griep, and Joanna Davidson Politano will be thrilled to find another author to follow!

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My Thoughts

Wowza, what a debut!

I’ve been looking forward to reading Counterfeit Love and I wasn’t disappointed. Caudill has written a spell-binding historical mystery filled with plenty of conflict, danger, and intrigue that made it impossible to put down.

I loved the heroine, Theresa Plain. She’s very much like me—a strong, independent woman (that some like to call bull-headed and that may be appropriate at times. Ah-hem). I love that despite the obstacles placed in her way, Theresa won’t quit. Though her faith is challenged, she is a fighter.

And Broderick—what’s not to love about this swoon-worthy, badge wearing hero. I love that he has a strong moral compass and that despite how things look, he knows in his heart that Theresa can not who his boss suspects she is.

As a lover of all things history, I was thrilled with the historical accuracy of this novel. The author brought the neighborhoods and people of 1880s Cincinnati to life with realistic dialogue and vivid descriptions, including the historic floods of 1883 & 1884 and their devastating effects on the city. The story was impeccably researched and filled with rich historical details about law enforcement, counterfeiting, and the Secret Service during the Gilded Age.

Although I purchased a paper copy, when I saw the audio book narrator was Stephanie Cozart, one of my favorites, I decided to listen to the book as well. As I expected the narrator did a fabulous job setting the mood of the story and bringing the characters to life.

If you enjoy historical fiction with strong faith elements and a villain you won’t see coming, then I highly recommend Counterfeit Love!

Favorite Quotes

“I’m not some brittle piece of china that needs to be packed away and forgotten.” “No, you’re not. You’re a beautiful, independent woman who drives a man to distraction.”

She could do this. She could march into a man’s world and demand her place. She would command it, just like her Grandfather always had.

He couldn’t remain her any longer. If he had to crawl across the floor and up the stairs, he would make it to her.

Once committed, she would not turn back, an admirable quality and a terrible nuisance all at the same time.

“Fine. but just one cup, and then I’m going to see Nathaniel.” His teeth shone. Let him think he had won. She was getting chocolate and her way.

“No one, not even skunks like Drake or Grandfather’s partners, can chase me off. This is my home. My sole connection to family, and i dare anyone to remove me.”

Spiritual Takeaway

‘You and I have been trying to overcome our problems on our own, but that’s not how God wants it.
Sometimes he has to strip us of everything
even the illusion of control—for us to see our need for Him.’

That quote is the essence of the spiritual message behind Counterfeit Love.  The events of the story strip the main characters of every illusion they have of control and makes them realize that they are nothing without Christ. They learn to love and rely on God in new and deeper ways. I could so relate to Theresa and Broderick. I’ve been there and no matter how deep you dig, in the darkest seasons of life, we can’t go it alone—none of us can. Theresa and Broderick’s story is a great reminder that God is always with us, that He alone is our strength and our shield.

About the Author

Crystal Caudill is the author of “dangerously good historical romance,” with her work garnering awards from Romance Writers of America and ACFW. She is a stay-at-home mom and caregiver, and when she isn’t writing, Crystal can be found playing board games with her family, drinking hot tea, or reading other great books at her home outside Cincinnati, Ohio. Find out more at Keep up with all of Crystal’s author happenings at:

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This giveaway is now CLOSED

Congratulations to our winner Kathy B!

I’m giving away one paperback copy of Counterfeit Love to one lucky Romancing History reader. To enter the drawing, take this quick Counterfeit Love Character Quiz, then drop your character name in the comments. While on Crystal’s website, you might enjoy checking out additional Bonus Content about Counterfeit Love.

**Giveaway ends midnight, Wednesday, April 13, 2022. Paper copy for US residents only. International winners will receive an eBook copy.



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  1. Charity

    I’m Broderick. I’m so excited to read this book!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Charity, Welcome to Romancing History! Ahhh, the heroic type! What fun! Best of luck in the drawing!

  2. Sabrina Templin

    I took the quiz and I am most like Josiah Isaacs. 😀

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Sabrina, How fun! That is Broderick’s partner in the Secret Service and he’s up for his own book in the series. Good luck of the drawing.

  3. Michelle

    It said I’m Andrew Darlington. I’m a bit intrigued.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Michelle, Welcome to Romancing History! Andrew Darlington is Broderick’s boss at the Secret Service! Best of luck in the drawing!

  4. Looks like I am in good company with being Andrew Darlington.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Martha, Hahaha! Right? He has definitely come up the most. You probably saw that he’s Broderick’s boss at the Secret Service! Good luck in the drawing!

  5. I’m Andrew Darlington! I love this quiz, wonder about making one for my own characters!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Lynne, Welcome to Romancing History! Andrew had the most responses and he’s Broderick’s boss! Good luck in the drawing!

  6. Phyllis

    I’m Lydia Hall. She sounds like a good friend. It’s on my wishlist! 😀

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Phyllis, Welcome to Romancing History. Lydia is Theresa’s best friend. Best of luck in the drawing!

  7. Jeanne Crea

    I took the quiz and I am Josiah Isaacs. Now I’m really intrigued. This book is on my wish list. Thank you so much for the chance to win!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Jeanne, Oh, Isaacs is Broderick’s partner and a little birdy told me he will be getting his own story! Best of luck in the drawing!

  8. Andrew Darlington! Which is hilarious because I’m a woman…and yet the description did feel compelling.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Jacinta, Welcome to Romancing History. It’s great to have you here. Andrew is Broderick’s boss at the Secret Service. Best of luck in the drawing.

  9. Alison Boss

    I took the quiz and I am Lydia Hall. I am very curious to see how her character fits into this story. Counterfeit Love sounds so intriguing…a perfect blend of history, mystery, and romance…which I love! I am really looking forward to reading it!! Thanks for the great review, Kelly, and thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book!!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Alison! You’re the first Lydia today! Lydia is Theresa’s best friend! I’m so glad you found the review helpful and best of luck in the drawing!

  10. Perrianne Askew

    I got Andrew Darlington. At this point, I need to read the book and see why.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Perianne! Hahahaha! You’re Broderick’s boss at the Secret Service! Best of luck in the drawing!

  11. Roxanne C.

    My quiz result is Broderick Cosgrove. I enjoyed the review very much, and I am definitely adding Counterfeit Love to my TBR.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Roxanne, Thanks for visiting Romancing History today! Glad you liked the review! You’re our gallant hero! Good luck in the drawing!

  12. Jeanie Dannheim

    Andrew Darlington
    Great review! Sounds intriguing!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Jeanie, Welcome to Romancing History! Thanks for reading the review! You’re Broderick’s boss at the Secret Service! Best of luck in the drawing!

  13. Andrew Darlington-although so many of the answers didn’t apply…don’t enter me in the giveaway, I have read and loved the book 🙂 Your review is great!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Cindy, Welcome to Romancing Hisotry! We seem to have lots of Andrew Darlingtons! LOL! You’re Broderick’s boss at the Secret Service! Best of luck in the drawing!

  14. I took the quiz and it says I’m Andrew Darlington. That doesn’t sound so good to me, but I love histfic and Cincinnati and now this book review–so I’m gonna have to read this book!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Lana, Welcome to Romancing History! You’re Broderick’s boss at the Secret Service! Best of luck in the drawing!

  15. Kato Andersen

    I got Andrew Darlington. I am so very excited about this book. It looks sooooo good! Everything about this book makes me want to read it; the cover is gorgeous, the reviews are great, the description is so interesting!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Kato, Welcome to Romancing History! You’re Broderick’s boss at the Secret Service! Best of luck in the drawing!

  16. Lol, I’m Broderick! I love everything about the Gilded Age, and this book looks amazing! Beautiful cover!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Erin, Welcome to Romancing History! You’re the hero! Nicely done! Best of luck in the drawin!

  17. Jennifer K

    Broderick Cosgrove……which makes me want to read the book. Nice giveaway, thanks for a chance to win.

    • Angie

      Andrew Darlington…..thanks so much for the giveaway!!

      • romancinghistory

        Hi Angie, You’re Broderick’s boss at the Secret Service! Best of luck in the drawing!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Jennifer, Ahhh, the hero! well done! Best of luck in the drawing!

  18. Sarah

    I am Theresa Plane. Which what I hear about seems pretty accurate lol. This book sounds so good! Can’t wait until I get a chance to read it! Thnx for the giveaway!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Sarah, Welcome to Romancing History! I got Theresa Plane too! Good luck in the drawing!

  19. Carolyn Bryant

    I got Andrew Darlington. Thank you for the opportunity to win this book. I have had it on my want to read list since I first saw it!

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Carolyn! Thanks for stopping by! Andrew is Broderick’s boss in the Secret Service! Good luck in the drawing!

  20. Deena

    I took the quiz, and I’m Josiah Isaacs. Since I haven’t read the book yet, I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. LOL. Thanks for a chance to win a copy! I’m excited to read Crystal’s book.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Deena, Isaacs is good! That’s Broderick’s partner! I have it good authority that he’s gonna get his own story! So you’re a super star!

      • Tina Rice

        Congratulations on your book Chrystal!
        According to the quiz, I am Lydia Hall. Counterfeit Love sounds intriguing. Wondering how Lydia Hall fits in the story.
        Thanks for the great review, Kelly, and thanks for the chance to win a copy of this book!!
        Blessings, Tina

        • romancinghistory

          Hi Tina, Thanks for visiting Romancing History. Lydia Hall is Teresa’s best friend. Her husband is one of the dectives that help solve the case! Best of luck!

  21. NNnRe9EC7Kathy+Bailey

    This looks good! I may check it out.

    • romancinghistory

      Hi Kathy, I highly recommend you do! Thanks for visiting RH today!

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