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Friday, September 11, 2009

Thistle Dew by ALee Drake

Thistle Dew by ALee Drake
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday, Inspirational, Paranormal
Length: Full (179 pages)
Heat: Sweet
Rating: 4.5 Books
Reviewed by Orchid

Sage Winters is the owner of an Adirondack bed and breakfast aptly named Thistle Dew by her late husband, Eric. She is a strong woman, not only successful in her business but as a mother. Although she tries to be loyal to her love for Eric, frequent guest and author Hawke is so irresistible that he catches her eye and eventually her heart. Sage is an overprotective mother who reluctantly learns to rely on others at a time of crisis.

Hawke, a shy, reclusive best selling author, steps up to the plate as hero when Sage's daughter, Pia is missing and any clues to her whereabouts have been buried during a blizzard. He learns to trust his intuitive voice and finds Pia via dreams and eerie signs.

And it is Eric, in spirit, who is not always angelic, but intercedes and intervenes to keep his ‘girls’ safe. He not only shows Hawke where to find Pia but encourages Sage to open her heart and love again.

The title Thistle Dew gives a warm and cozy feeling. The bed and breakfast of this name in the book is the type of place most people would love to find for that time away from it all. Homely, welcoming with comfortable rooms and plenty of wholesome food.

Sage Winters and her husband Eric intended to make this a home away from home for their guests. Unfortunately Eric died in a freak accident before their dreams were fulfilled. Sage is determined to continue on her own. She finds it harder than she anticipated, especially as she also has to be mother and father to her four year old daughter Pia.

Hawke is a celebrated writer who arrives at Thistle Dew as part of a writers retreat. His research for his current book has brought up an old story of a failed abduction of Sage when she was girl. He wants to see if the traumatic event has affected her adult life. What he doesn't expect is to fall in love.

In the background is Lowell, Eric's best friend who feels Sage and Pia are his now that Eric has gone. Only Pia is convinced that her daddy is still there in spirit, keeping an eye on "his girls" to make sure they are safe.

Sage feels drawn to Hawke, but she also feels it is a betrayal of Eric to give her love to someone else. Hawke is a patient man and is prepared to wait until Sage works through her feelings and admits to herself that she returns his love. She does start to relax and allows Hawke to kiss her. While she is in his arms Pia disappears.

This is a poignant story of a lost love, new emotions and fear. The overbearing attitude of Lowell who believes he has the right to dictate to Sage, and the presence of Eric's spirit who believes Hawke should be Sage's future. And who has abducted Pia?

This book hooked me from the beginning. I like comfortable books with an edge and Thistle Dew has a little bit of everything. There is the natural attraction between Hawke and Sage and the conflict arising from her concern about moving on from her beloved husband. There is Lowell, a scary character who believes he has the right to dictate to Sage and turns every situation to his advantage. There is the kidnapping of Pia, who has taken her? Is she safe?

The story moves at a steady rate. I didn't feel rushed, but I also didn't feel any lagging. The author got the correct pace to keep me interested. As I finished reading I felt satisfied by the story and how it evolved and finished. Some of the twists and turns in the story were unexpected but well handled and fitted smoothly into the overall pattern.

Thistle Dew reminded me of the old styled Mills & Boon books which involved family values, but with a modern twist. I'd be happy to read other books by ALee Drake.