Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears, A Rumored Fortune, Finding Lady Enderly, The Love Note, A Midnight Dance, and The Lost Melody. She loves tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives and is eager to hear anyone’s story. She lives with her husband and their children in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan.and and their children in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan.

In this interview, Joanna shares some of her thoughts regarding her latest novel, Elusive Truth of Lily Temple.

FF: Can you please provide a brief summary of your novel, The Elusive Truth of Lily Temple?
Spirited Lily Temple is a silent film actress with a mysterious background, one she’s changed her name to hide. But then she becomes tangled in a private inquiry agent’s case, and her story starts to surface. As they work together, the brilliantly perceptive inquiry agent and the richly imaginative actress are never quite sure if the other is trustworthy—or what the other’s full story is.

FF: What was the inspiration for your story?
This story evolved as a combination of many personal favorites—fairy tales, silent film, and the early 20th century. I paired up two characters whose dynamic differences really drove the plot, and the story took off from there.

The setting also inspired large parts of this novel. St. Anne’s Well Gardens, and the film producer who created movies there for years, created the foundation for the heroine’s work and home location, as well as much of the historical aspects of the plot.

FF: Your two protagonists, Peter Driscoll and Lily Temple, have very different professions. Can you please explain their different roles and how they connected?
Lily Temple is an actress, in every sense of the word. She loves the fanciful, the creative and imaginary, sleight of hand and theatrics. She loves color and beauty and gardens, but Peter Driscoll, although textured and creative, is as practical as Lily is whimsical. He uses his sharp perception and listening skills as an inquiry agent for the wealthy, cleverly tracking lost heirs, digging out truth, and restoring lost items. Their lives intersect when Lily’s past figures into one of Peter’s cases. Sometimes they work together, sometimes against one another, but their dynamic relationship made for a brilliant partnership.

FF: Although Lily lives in a world of make-believe, she also has a past filled with secrets. Can you provide some insight into her backstory?
She’s always loved books and fairytales, escaping from harsh reality and sometimes rewriting it in her head to endure it. She has trouble facing the truth sometimes, but her truth has also been quite painful and heart-shaping. Betrayal, dishonesty, and harsh expectations were all part of her past, and a man full of fairy tales helped her make sense of twisted reality.

FF: What are some of the main themes in The Elusive Truth of Lily Temple?
The novel’s themes revolve around truth found in fiction, the value of a well-told tale, and facing reality and admitting what it is. I had so much fun diving into why fiction matters, and how it can present truth in a way that actually changes a person’s mind. God filled the Bible with stories, deeply layered ones, that reveal new truths to us every time we read them, and our human minds are simply wired to interpret our world through story. I shared my deep love of storytelling, of reading, and of that enchanting act of suspending disbelief to enjoy a well-told tale.

FF: What do you hope readers will gain from reading your book?
I hope readers will have a picture of God as a creator, an author, sitting in the garden with an empty seat beside him, eagerly anticipating some time spent with his beloved creation. I hope they’ll see stories—real life and made-up tales—in a fresh way. Their true purpose, their layered value, and even why they seem to circle back around so often.

FF: What do you love most about writing historical romance novels?
It’s incredibly special to bring to life these characters who have their own personal stories, and then watch them play out and realize they represent people living now. The stories currently going on. Somehow it helps to untangle what’s confusing in our own lives to see it played out in someone else’s. Especially with the historical angle to make it slightly removed. But honestly, I just love telling people’s stories. Especially people who are no longer here to tell them personally.

FF: Your novels are set in either Victorian or Edwardian England. What draws you to these time periods and settings?
My favorite literature comes from these eras in history. I’ve read so much from authors in these periods that their society, their mentality, seems natural to me. It’s incredibly fun to dream up characters that might have lived in this time in the world’s history, and to tell the stories inspired by all sorts of real people from that era.

Elusive Truth of Lily Temple
Joanna Davidson Politano
Genres: Historical Romance
Release Date: April 9, 2024

ISBN-10: ‎0800742974
ISBN-13: ‎978-0800742973

Book Summary:
Peter Driscoll, an underground investigator to the wealthy, has never met anyone like Lily Temple. The beautiful silent-film actress spins fairy tales and plays frivolous roles in front of the cine-camera, but beneath the costumes and stage makeup is a woman with a quick wit–and a murky past.

Peter has been tasked with locating the legendary Briarwood Teardrop, an exquisite sapphire, which Lily wears beneath her gown. In order to stay close to her and hopefully unravel the mystery of her story–and the sapphire–Peter employs Lily’s help on a case, which leads to a useful partnership. But as they are investigating together, Peter is also investigating Lily. The closer he gets to the truth, the more danger they face. And the closer he gets to Lily, the clearer it is that he needs her even more than she needs him.

Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano whisks you away to Edwardian England in 1903 for a whimsical and layered tale that treads the crooked line between real and make-believe.


Buy Elusive Truth of Lily Temple from the FF Store HERE!


Buy Elusive Truth of Lily Temple from theFamilyFiction Amazon Affiliate HERE!

Check out more great articles

About The Author

Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for random acts of kindness, people willing to share their deepest secrets with a stranger, and hidden stashes of sweets. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan.