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Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Claymore Legacy by Marion Kelley Bullock

The Claymore Legacy by Marion Kelley Bullock
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Historical, Inspirational, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Short Story (127 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Azalea

Jenny Claymore travels back home when the father she lost years ago dies. The second night, after the funeral and the reading of the will, someone tries to smother her with a pillow. Then she fears her greedy stepmother is trying to poison her. Other accidents occur. Finally, when the villain is preparing to hit her in the head with a rock and throw her down in the storm cellar, the hero saves her.

Jenny Claymore left Abilene, Texas years ago. Life as she knew it ended the day her father brought a stepmother to the house. Now she's returning to attend her father's funeral and to two men who have influenced her life. As danger threatens, can she decide which one is telling the truth?

Life was lovely for Jenny while her mother was alive. She and her father looked forward to the long awaited baby brother or sister. However, a miscarriage produced a stillbirth, and worse, her mother developed pneumonia and died, leaving Jenny and her father utterly bereft, except for Keller, a motherly housekeeper, and Evan, a childhood friend. When Jenny's father remarries and introduces Lila to the household, everything changes. It's obvious Lila doesn't like Jenny; she has eyes only for her father and her own son, Ben, a handsome lad who brightens Jenny's days.

When Ben goes off to school in St. Louis, Jenny is utterly alone. Then she is packed off to a boarding school as well. While there, she studies to be a teacher, and after she graduates, she remains in the east. Her only happiness is her thoughts of Ben and that she will see him again.

En route to Abilene, she is befriended by a young man who turns out to be her old friend, Evan Marsh. Evan's a doctor now, and he's returning to help in his father's practice. When the train pulls into the station, as expected, no one is there to meet Jenny, so she hitches a ride from Dr. Marsh and his son.

Evil lurks within the wall of Claymore House. The estate is as foreboding as Jenny cold stepmother. Even the housekeeper and maid are unapproachable. Jenny takes refuge in her old room, the only place in the house that seems unchanged. The only bright spot is the arrival of Ben the following day. He appears as the same carefree young man she left when went East. But something isn't right. Still, she trusts Ben, even though Evan reveals things about Ben that seem out of character for the man she's come to love.

After the funeral the will is read. Not surprising to Jenny, her father has left everything to Lila, or so it seems, until Dr. Marsh mentions a later will. Out of the blue, Ben proposes, and Jenny accepts; it's what she's wanted since she was a girl. But soon a series of events occur that could have disastrous consequences for Jenny, and she must decide which man she can trust.

The Claymore Legacy contains a lot of back story, but it seems necessary to provide an understanding of what happens in the present. This novella is well written and interesting, even though Ben and his mother seemed more caricature than character. The conflict felt appropriate for the length of the story. Evan and Jenny were nicely portrayed, although Jenny seemed entirely too trusting. The Christian aspect serves a purpose and is germane to the characters. I found myself engrossed in this sweet but suspenseful romance.