Book Reviews

True Crime and a Hope-filled Story

Step into True Colors — a series of Historical Stories of Romance and True American Crime
Enjoy a tale of true but forgotten history of an 19th Century serial killer whose silver-tongued ways almost trap a young woman into a nightmarish marriage.
In 1876, Emma Draycott is charmed into a quick engagement with Stephen Dee Richardson after meeting him at a church event in Mount Pleasant, Ohio. But within the week, Stephen leaves to “make his fame and fortune.” The heartbroken Emma gives him a special fountain pen to write to her, and he does with tales of grand adventures. Secret Service agent Clay Timmons arrives in Mount Pleasant to track purchases made with fake currency. Every trail leads back to Stephen—and therefore, Emma. Can he convince the naïve woman she is engaged to a charlatan who is being linked a string of deaths in Nebraska?

What I Loved:

These true crime stories have been fascinating. I admire how each author manages to create a fictional story surrounding a real crime. In this novel, Uhlarik took what she did know about the serial killer, Stephen Dee Richardson and filled in the missing pieces with lovable characters and a likely scenario.

Uhlarik offered 3 points of view, one of them being the killer’s so there were some scenes that made me squeamish. I think she handled it as best as she could, it’s just more than I’m used to reading personally since I typically don’t read about serial killers.

At the end of the book, Uhlarik shares how she wanted to offer a story of hope in the midst of all this darkness, and I think she nailed it. There was a strong Christian theme with strong Christian characters.

The heroine is rather naive but I found it to be pretty accurate for someone her age and someone who was dead-set on believing what they wanted.

This was my first Uhlarik novel, but it won’t be last. I enjoyed her smooth storytelling style and the way she kept the plot moving at all times.

Rating and Recommendations: I’m giving The Scarlet Pen 5 stars. I highly recommend it to those looking for Christian true crime.

~ I received a copy from NetGalley. All thoughts are my own. I was not compensated for this review or required to give a favorable one.

4 thoughts on “True Crime and a Hope-filled Story”

  1. I love true crime, and I’m definitely putting this on my to-read list! I was very close to majoring in psychology in college, but let myself be talked out of it by family members who worked in that field. I’m interested in knowing why people act the way they do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That would be really interesting to study!
      And I think you’ll like this book. The whole series is pretty great. I haven’t read them all but I’ve liked the ones I have picked up.


      1. I realized when I looked them up that I already had several of the series on my to-read list. I’m going to talk to my librarian about ordering them. I think they would be a good addition.

        Liked by 1 person

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