Paperback, 255 pages
When Mikaela York opens an anonymous blue sympathy card with the nursery rhyme “Jack and Jill” written inside, she doesn’t know what to make of it. But soon after, Mikaela and her fiancé are in a tragic car accident, resulting in her husband-to-be’s death. Then when Mikaela’s grandmother loses her life in a hiking accident one year later, an old man gives Mikaela another mysterious blue card at the funeral. After the service, Mikaela’s grandfather asks that she oversee the renovations on his bed & breakfast in New Zealand. When she arrives, Mikaela meets Tui Davies—the inn’s manager—and Brentin Williams, the man Tui expects her daughter to marry. Tui helps Mikaela retrieve a doll from the cellar vault, but the doll turns out to be an evil omen that Mikaela is told she must get rid of before someone is murdered. Meanwhile, the old man from the funeral is bent on revenge and is plotting against everyone who has ever wronged him, and Mikaela is next in line. But until she discovers the killer’s contact in New Zealand, whom can she trust? And while Brentin attempts to help Mikaela overcome her grief, she must decide—is she ready to love again?
My Review: 4.5 Stars
First of all, I love the cover! I love it when a cover really portrays what the story is about and this one is perfect for a suspenseful murder mystery mostly set in New Zealand.
After Mikaela's fiancé and grandmother die, her grandfather sends her to New Zealand to manage the renovations on his Bed & Breakfast. While there, she discovers Maori superstitions, death, danger, and love.
I would be a mess in Mikaela's situation, and while she handles it fairly well, she's not emotionally whole, which leads to a bit of hesitancy in her relationships. I like a character who goes after what she knows she wants, but I thought the doubt felt real and brings her to a new dimension. The romance is a gentle and sweet side note to a well-crafted plot. My family loves Lord of the Rings and the references and activities pertaining to these books/movies is a great aspect and results in so much fun.
This suspense in this story mostly builds at a slower pace. Although the reader knows who the mastermind behind these deaths is, the motive is revealed along the way and the minions aren't discovered until almost the very end. Those are my favorite kinds of suspense books to read--the ones where I'm trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together, along with the characters. Although I knew what was going on for the most part, there are still some fun surprises and clues.
This is a great read for those who enjoy suspense, but aren't a fan of the high-intense anxiety inducing books.
Content: very mild religious elements (a character prays in her mind for help several times); mild violence (murders--not graphic; moments of peril); mild romance.
*I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*
About the Author:
Award-winning author, Ronda Hinrichsen (also writing as Kathleen Marks) and her family own a small farm located between the beautiful Rocky Mountains and the Great Salt Lake where she regularly sees eagles, hawks, owls, and ducks. Lots of ducks. She is the author of independently and traditionally published non-fiction, romantic suspense and speculative books as well as numerous magazine articles and stories for children and adults. She also enjoys teaching about writing in conference and classroom settings. To learn more about Ronda, visit her website at rondahinrichsen.com.
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