For her own protection following the murder of her brother Will, hotel heiress Estella Everstone assumes the alias of Elle Stoneburner and takes a job as companion to an elderly widow. Never did she imagine that her position would lead her back to her beloved Everston, a picturesque resort property tucked away in the rugged mountains of Maine.
Living below her station in a guise of anonymity has its struggles, but her spirits are buoyed by a newfound friendship with the hotel manager, Dexter Blakeley. And his distaste for the spoiled socialites who frequent his hotel causes her to take a close look at her own priorities and past lifestyle.
When Estella finds herself in need of help, Dexter comes to the rescue with an offer of employment she can't refuse. As the two interact and open up to each other, Estella feels a growing attraction to Dexter; and increasing discomfort over concealing her identity. Yet, in spite of the false pretense she's putting forth, she's never felt freer to be herself than in his presence. But will he still love her when he learns the truth about who she is?
My thoughts: My first thought about THE CAPTIVE IMPOSTER is "Oh what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive. Estella is living a lie. Hiding from someone who killed her brother, Will, and nursing her wounds over a broken heart when a missionary wannabe rejects her, Estelle has changed her name to Elle, added a rather unique last name, and became a companion to an older lady. But when this lady decides to take a holiday to Everston, Estella finds herself on one of her families hotels - and she is recognized by several people.
Dexter is described as having the demeanor of a wild boar. I didn't see it in this story, instead, the way he is portrayed he is a man of God, honest, upright, and beyond reproach. I enjoyed getting to know Dexter. Estella is greatly upset when she thinks Dexter lied to her - though in all honesty, he didn't, he was introduced as the manager, and didn't interrupt the hotel guest to correct her publicly. On the other hand, Estelle has lied since the beginning, about almost everything - her identity, how well she knew her family, and about how she knew her ex-boyfriend the missionary among other things. I think she really had no room to judge Dexter. But then we often judge people the harshest when we perceive they have faults we ignore in ourselves. The faith message is strong and well written. There is no sexual tension, but for readers who prefer a clean, sweet romance suitable for any age, this is a book to consider. Ms. Crandall is a master at first person historicals - seriously I think she has been the only author I've read who's done this in the historical genre - and I do enjoy first person. Fans will want to read The Hesitant Heiress, The Bound Heart, THE CAPTIVE IMPOSTER, and then preorder The Cautious Maiden. Those who love regencies - and authors such as Laurie Alice Eakes, and other regency romances will likely enjoy Ms. Crandall's books, particularly THE CAPTIVE IMPOSTER.