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Friday, February 8, 2008

Review: The Gift of Deception

The Gift of Deception
by Patty Henderson

Once again, Maggie Watson is left high and dry. After two failed marriages and numerous tumultuous affairs, she gives the internet a chance. She’s quick to connect with a man she feels is “the” one, and follows her heart to Nickel Town, Texas where Tom Anderson has arranged for their purchase of the Stepping Stone Nursery. All is well until Tom vanishes one day, leaving behind only a vague explanation.

In the middle of the night, the discovery of a package on Maggie Watson’s front porch brings intrigue to her repetitive life. It sparks her to reach out to Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department, in particular, the ever-delicious, Deputy Nick Johnson. The emotional struggles thrive and wane as Nick and Maggie attempt to steady themselves while enduring continual harassment over the following weeks. Nick struggles to maintain his devotion to Maggie, fearful he’ll fall into the pattern of others gone by.

Patty Henderson's "The Gift of Deception" is a surprisingly thrilling romance. Told in the first person, we identify closely with the main character, Maggie Watson. From the first, she is easy to sympathize with; who couldn't identify with someone who pays such close attention to their cat?

Pondering her place in Nickel Town, Texas, and reflecting with some regret on her last love interest Tom Anderson, Maggie's life seems enviously settled and wonderful.

That is, right until the dozen roses arrive, portent of the unpredictable to come (and painful reminder of a life - and a self- she had thought part of her past.)

Deputy Johnson, handsome, blue-eyed Deputy Johnson arrives on the scene in a very timely way, maybe a bit too timely? Maggie can't help being suspicious; she's been, if anything, a little too gullible, before. Still, he is the law...and he has that straightforward manner. How bad could it be, letting herself feel a little sense of security? After all, its a rather isolated existance, with just Mittens the cat for a companion.

Henderson does a nice job creating a sense of place; Maggie operates a nursery, and small details of her shop and daily work provide a nice backdrop. The local diner has a good grip on gossip, (and some of it even makes its way to her.) Heremployees offer some challenges, and friends manage to fill many happy busy days. But, home is still a lonely place...and someone out there, knows she's all alone.

This contemporary romance hides many fun surprises, a couple scary ones, and offers some very well developed characters. It also houses some super suspenseful moments - once you get started, you won't want to put it down! 4 books

reviewer Snapdragon