Counterfeit Hope by Crystal Caudill ~ Book Review

February 21, 2023


About the Book


Book: Counterfeit Hope
Author: Crystal Caudill
Genre: Christian Historical Romance
Series: Hidden Hearts of the Gilded Age, Book 2
Publisher: Kregel Publications
Release Date: February 14, 2023

When Secret Service operative Andrew Darlington is brought in to support a US Marshal case involving counterfeiters in rural Indiana, he thinks it's simply the next rung on his climb to the top of his career. But liars can only climb so high--and Andrew is keeping a dangerous secret he doesn't ever want to get out. When he clashes with the criminal family that took over the town of Landkreis and killed the Marshal he was sent to assist, his past life is in danger of being exposed.

Widow Lightning Lu Thorne has only one goal: escape the clutches of the Thorne family with her son. Her decision to be an informant and testify against the Thornes looked like the perfect answer. Until the Marshal ended up dead. Now the tether keeping her tied to her felonious family is tightening, and a forced marriage to someone else in the Thornes' clutches threatens to kill any hope of escape.

Andrew and Lu find themselves on the same team--unwillingly. They each believe the other to be the enemy to their future plans. And even if they could learn to work together, the secrets they hold could shatter all hopes and dreams. Despite the encouragement of the local preacher, they're not even sure God can be trusted--much less other humans. Can either of them escape their past--and the family that is willing to kill their own when they smell betrayal?

My Thoughts 

Oh wow Crystal Caudill has done it again! She captivated me with her debut novel and I impatiently and nervously awaited for this second installment of the Hidden Hearts series. Why nervously? Because you never know what direction an author will head after their debut novel. I have to say that she more than met my expectations. I really loved Counterfeit Hope. It had all the elements that I look for when I am reading a Christian Fiction story. 

Let's start with the characters... we immediately meet who has been through a lot. She just wants to break free from her past and the toxic environment that she has been a prisoner of and make sure that her young son is not involved in any sinister things the family is involved in. You really feel for her throughout the whole story and just want her to finally have a chance in life. I really loved that despite what she has been through and how people see her, the pastor and his wife love on her like Jesus would. I think this is so important because it is the way the church is supposed to be towards others. Love and teach who God is in the midst of their circumstances.

The Thornes wow... you always have to have a character that you immediately despise but with this book you get an entire family. They are just pure evil. What Ma Frances puts them through and how she treats them will make you cringe and wonder how God can also love people like them. As sinful humans it's hard for us to comprehend, but that is the thinking that kept running through my mind every time they came into the story. 

I was so glad to have a story about Andrew after meeting him in the previous book. His story was a bit surprising and I know it will surprise you where he comes from. God works in mysterious ways and He sure does work within Andrew's heart as he meets Lu and gets deeper and deeper into the case he is working. 

If you are looking for a book in which the storyline is embraced with the Gospel then this is it. Don't get me wrong it is not preachy at all but you can tell it is present. I am grateful that the author doesn't shy away from making sure this is present in her stories and I pray that she never does. 

Overall I absolutely loved the story. It was great seeing characters from the previous book present in this one. It always makes my bookish heart happy when I see repeat characters in a series. Although this could be a stand alone book, why would you want to skip on the first one?! I definitely recommend you grab both! 

My Rating: 5 Stars/Loved it!!

Favorite Quotes: 

"Peace and fear cannot reside together. You either have one or the other. Never both at the same time. Confession opens your heart to hope, and hope brings peace beyond understanding."

" A love worth having is a love worth fighting for, but sometimes the fight is won in stepping back and allowing God to work where we cannot."

I received a copy of this book for review. I was not required to post a positive review. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

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

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