Even though I find Phyllis A. Whitney's books to be a little bit hit and miss, she's still my favorite author of old-school romantic suspense. Where Victoria Holt's romances feel instantaneous and contrived, and Mary Stewart's plotting is often (sorry mom) ludicrous, Whitney's stories have so far offered much more consistently crafted plots, vivid settings, and haunting atmosphere. Her romances don't always work for me (romances seldom do), but the characters do, at least, work up to HEA at a slower, sometimes more smouldering, pace.
Woman Without a Past almost got a pass from me at the bookstore because, geez, the title. And then there's the cover. Actually, it was mostly the cover, but the title screamed Amnesia story! and that's just a no from me on principle. But the back cover rescued the book; a woman is recognised at her editor's office as being the long lost identical twin, kidnapped as a baby, from an old and prominent Charleston (South Carolina) family. Strictly speaking, the title is not at all accurate.
This book drips Southern Gothic. From the prescient cat, to the rocking horse that rocks itself; from the old plantation house, to the slightly mad mother the family tries to keep locked away as much as possible and the cousin that believes she communes with the dead, this book honestly has it all. Except romance; there's a hint of it here and there and there's certainly talk of it, but no actual romance until the very, very end.
In general, the story is well-written, and it's a good story. But a couple of things worked against it; one is probably just a twist of timing, as I started it on the plane, and then struggled to finish it while jet-lag kicked my butt, leaving me with the feeling that it took forever to finish it; the second was my exasperation with the main character. Everyone thinks she's strong and independent, yet at no point in the book did she actually act strong or independent. She mostly just allowed everyone to roll over her. It wasn't enough to make me actively dislike her, but it was enough that I was often impatient with her.
As I said, not her best, but certainly not her worst. Fans of true gothic romance will recognise shades of certain classics in this book; definitely worth a look if you see it in your library or on the bargain rack.
I read this for the Southern Gothic square of Halloween Bingo 2018.
Now that Jordan and Abby are ready to tie the knot, an evil force is determined to drive them apart. Jordan's past comes back to haunt him and Abby becomes the pawn to a malicious plot to bring Jordan to his knees. She's has been kidnapped and Jordan must race against time to find the love of his life or she dies.
The Woman Trapped In The Dark is drenched with romance and suspense. While reading I could feel the depth of the love Mason wanted me to experience between Jordan and Abby; accepting flaws with unconditional love.
The suspense was plentiful however, the fire in the suspense was lost because certain events were predictable and the first half of the book moved too slow.
The Woman Trapped In The Dark by J.D. Mason is a good read. I've read the first two installments in the Blink, Texas trilogy and enjoyed them. Unfortunately with this last book in the series I didn't feel that spine-tingling sensation I get when I read a suspense novel.
Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for an ebook ARC in exchange for my honest review.
The Other Woman, Daniel Silva, author; George Guidall, narrator
Gabriel Allon is the head of Israel’s Intelligence Service. While attempting to extricate a double agent from Europe, something goes wrong and the agent is murdered in cold blood. Although it was a clandestine effort, somehow a video surfaces which seems to show a blurry, identifiable image of Allon. Soon another murder of an agent in Europe, points a finger at him. The world, always ready to accuse Israel, once again jumps on the event to point fingers at the head of the Israelis for what they believe were planned murders, not attempts to save the lives of the Russian moles who had been turned to help them. As Gabriel Allon sets out to find out who set him up and why, the plot really thickens involving the British, the Americans and the Russians, as well.
Silva writes with a clear hand, creating tension and excitement on every page. The story is sometimes confusing as it jumps around a lot, and there are many characters from many countries popping up in various scenes. The story takes the reader back to the days of Kim Philby, the most notorious Russian agent planted deep in the British Intelligence service for decades, rising almost to its pinnacle. As the threads of his betrayal are revealed so are the betrayals of many others. Philby’s legacy lives on.
The reader is excellent. He never gets in the way of the novel and always accurately portrays each character with his accent and tone of voice. This is a great beach read or an entertaining accompaniment on a long drive.