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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Ashton’s Secret by Liana Laverentz

Ashton’s Secret by Liana Laverentz
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: Full (260 pages)
Heat: Spicy
Rating: 5 Books
Reviewed by Snapdragon

From the moment he’d caught her snooping on his property, Meghan Edwards knew Nicholas Hawkinson was the man she’d been looking for. But would this dark, secretive stranger help her solve the mystery of her sister's death?

Nicholas Hawkinson wanted nothing to do with the city-girl photographer who asked too many questions. Five years ago the people of Ashton had been all too quick to accuse him of murder. They still considered him the town’s black sheep, a bad boy at best and a killer who got away with it at most. The smartest thing for both of them would be to never mention Heather again.

Her sister was dead, and Meghan knew it wasn't suicide. So did Nick. Whether he liked it or not, Ashton’s most dangerous man was the only one who could help her now. And Meghan wasn't leaving until she'd unraveled this sleepy little town's secret--or died trying.

‘Ashton’s Secret’ blends romance and mystery with exceptional skill.

Meghan, our leading lady, is intent uncovering the truth about her sister Heather’s death, years earlier. Her sister had been an apparent suicide, but when Meghan discovers an old letter, she begins to have doubts about the official findings.

Meghan travels to the little, one-stoplight town and close-knit community of Ashton, where no one wants to talk about her sister. The only person that will pay her any attention at all is none-other than Nick Hawkinson…black sheep of the town, and quite possibly a killer.

Their first meeting is tense-–but a certain, subtle humor is apparent, as well. This occasional dash of humor lightens certain situations throughout, the way a brighter accent brings life to a painting. Nick is suspicious of Meghan, and she can hardly be blamed for doubts about him! These doubts are soon strengthened, as she learns some of the townies suspect him of Heather’s actual murder--if anyone wanted to admit it to be a murder, that is.

There is no accounting for the decisions of the heart though and, deadly or not, Meghan feels drawn to this possibly dangerous man.

The strength of their feelings, from doubts to love, are easy to sympathize with and understand. Characters throughout this story are wonderful, deep and believable people.

Although Ashton’s Secret has all the earmarks of a typical mystery, the importance of the romance blending with some other, hard to define quality lend it a certain, heartfelt or perhaps heartwarming aura. We, as readers, have hopes and expectations. We feel Meghan’s frustration, and we wait for some resolution. We keep reading, looking for more than one resolution in fact, but throughout this novel are odd touches, where doubt changes to trust, or where fear is apparent even in a some well-meaning act. These give the story an evocative depth that is hard to define, but delightful to experience.

I will look for Laverentz’ other books straightaway: this one has made me a fan.


liana laverentz said...

What an awesome review! Thank you so much! I am so glad you enjoyed Meghan and Nick.

Sheryl said...

I think what Liana weaves through her books is realism. We see real life people in real life situations. The touches of humour throughout Liana's novels lighten moments,yes,but more, it makes the characters stronger, truer, because that's what life is like, tragic, sometimes, mysterious most of the time, but humour is the best coping mechanism we have--and endears us, our characters, to others.

I have read all of this author's books. None disappointed, I can assure you. I loved them, and learned from them.

Great review!

Hywela Lyn said...

What a wonderful review, Liana, many congratulations!