by Patrice Moore
Detective Patrick Hess is on a mission to find Margo, the missing ex-wife of a powerful man in Buffalo, New York. His search takes him to rural Oregon, where he focuses on a woman named Grace McNeal. Circumstantial evidence makes him believe that Grace is the woman he is seeking?but he's not quite sure. If Grace is indeed Margo, then she's done a remarkable job of altering not only her circumstances but her appearance as well.
Grace, exhausted from trying to run a farm single-handed, hires on a man who says he is an author seeking farm experience for a book he is writing. She is leery of her decision to bring a stranger onto her farm, but after four years of hiding from an abusive, stalking ex-husband, she feels she can relax enough to hire help. Little does she know that the very man she hires is the man her ex-husband has sent to find her. How can Grace learn to trust Patrick in time to face the very real threat of her ex-husband discovering where she is?
Intrigue starts Moore's "Saving Grace", a full-length, contemporary romance. Curiousity overwhelms the private investigator... as well as the reader. Just what is the reason does he have for pursuing what seems to be an ordinary woman? Grace, lovely and ordinary, small-town Grace we are to discover, is far from ordinary, and not really a small-town girl, either. From her furtive and cautious behavior, we get a tiny glimpse of a very real, and very enigmatic personality. Grace is only gradually coming to grips with inner demons, results of her past. Described as 'urban', she is struggling to earn a living and keep ahead of the financial demands of her small ranch. She needs a friend, a helper, a companion... and someone who could perhaps be more. However, deception starts this would-be casual, even working relationship... and we can see the dangers that she cannot. Deception is no way to kick off a romance...
The lovely setting out in the rural backwoods of Oregon is pleasantly homey. The farm-orientation of once city-girl Grace provides an interesting contrast to the person she is imagined to be. The many-layers of Patrick, the private investigator, as well as Grace's doubts all manage to generate a constant aura of suspense. This romance takes many an unexpected twist.
Moore brings to life multi-faceted characters in this romance. Her descriptions are lively and engaging. Changing points-of-view, which can be problematic, are handled smoothly. Events are plausible. Overall however, it is the depth of her characters that make this work shine.
review by Snapdragon