These were all new, first-time reads for me, from some of my favorite authors. It was a nice variety of styles and time periods. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Random Acts of Murder, audiobook by Christy Barritt, read by Sandy Rustin
This book is the first in a new series. The heroine is appealing, with her good intentions, insecurities and quirky personality. She fled the scene of a murder and now she’s being framed for it. The hero is an old high school classmate, all grown up and in charge of the murder investigation. Ms. Barritt does a good job of pacing the mystery and concealing the identity of the killer. I would have liked to see more about the heroine’s spiritual and physical conditions, but it is a light-hearted story with lots of other action. The supporting characters seem interesting; I hope they are developed further in the rest of the series.
Snow on the Tulips, audiobook by Liz Tolsma, read by Susan Denaker
Ms. Tolsma has created a vivid portrait of a small Dutch village and its residents near the end of WWII. This is an intense, suspenseful story as much as a romance. The aggression of the Nazi troops was frightening and sad. A fascinating theme was the relationships of the two sisters near the end of the story. They were both scared and heartbroken, begging their men to not leave them. One man would not fight or resist the enemy, and the other was active in the resistance movement. The plights of the women, however, were the same.
A Lady of High Regard, audiobook by Tracie Peterson, read by Barbara Caruso
I liked the natural, dynamic family relationships in this book, and I found the heroine’s balanced behaviors refreshing. In spite of her belief that she was the only one who could save the world, she didn’t always rush headlong into dangers; sometimes she made a decision to be obedient and sensible. I would have liked to see the women from the docks portrayed with a little more intelligence and energy. The story was a little slow at first, but it picked up momentum and the ending was exciting.
Buried Secrets, audiobook by Irene Hannon, read by Therese Plummer and Jennifer Grace
This is the first in Ms. Hannon’s new Men of Valor series. The romantic relationship is different in that almost as soon as they meet, the hero and heroine admit their attraction to each other and make it clear that they are not interested in a casual dating relationships. They can not become involved while they are working on the mystery, so they agree to wait to start seeing each other until the case is solved. It’s a nice twist on romantic suspense. The villain of the story, who is revealed almost immediately, is very villainous, creative and careful. The plot is revealed steadily. The ending, when the villain attacks the heroine, feels a little contrived, but otherwise it’s a solid story from one of my favorite authors.
A Matter of Character, audiobook by Robin Lee Hatcher, read by Kathy Garver
I read and enjoyed the first two books in this series – fluffy fun stuff – and picked up this one to finish the trilogy. I was pleasantly surprised to find that this book was excellent! The characters were solid – much more complex than in the previous two books. There were so many interesting layers to the plot and such conflicting goals that it was hard to imagine a happy ending, but of course all the loose threads were gathered up nicely and tied in a bow.