4/5 BOOK REVIEW: New Contemporary Romance – “Charades” by Ann Logan

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Mercy Fuentes is doing a favor for a friend. She is going on a week long ‘date’ with a German oil worker as he prepares to try and gain an exclusive contract. This contract is with someone who likes his colleagues to be in a stable relationship. Wulfgar Rheinhart is a man who constantly works and has no spare time to spend on finding love. Mercy agrees to pretend to be his fiancé for a week. Little does she know what lies ahead.

The author quickly lets us, the reader, into one of the secrets within the pages of this book. Wulfgar is not actually German, nor is he trying to gain a contract. He is, in fact, trying to gain access to something which Mercy’s grandfather stole when he left Germany before the end of the war. Wulf has been led to believe that Mercy somehow knows the whereabouts of the missing item.

This story is one of lies, hidden truths, betrayal, and families fighting each other. As we read more of the story it becomes clear that no one is telling the truth. The secrets woven into the pages begin to unravel, but even more is discovered along the way.

Mercy finds herself falling for Wulf, as he also falls for her, but will this ‘love’ withstand the test of all the lies when the truth finally comes out? Will the truth actually come out or is it hidden so deep it can never be found?

Mercy is subjected to so much during the story. She discovers family she didn’t know she had. She discovers the truth about the deaths of family members. She also finds out that almost all of her family, and extended family, are out to find the stolen item, and most will stop at nothing to find it. Can she find anyone who is telling the truth? Will she manage to uncover the whereabouts of the stolen item? And will everyone she cares about survive till the end?

I loved the twists and turns in this book. Just when I thought I had it figured out another secret was brought out into the open, throwing everyone into chaos again. The author has written a story which takes the characters, and the reader, on a journey through several countries in a short period of time. It is a fast paced story which constantly gives you more to think about, it has you trying to work out and decipher what is real and what is not.

This isn’t your normal love story, but more a test of a love against all the odds. Is it possible to come out the other side of so much deceit with love intact, or is there a limit to the amount one person can take? The only way to find out is by reading this story yourself. I can guarantee you one thing though, you will not expect half of what you will find within its pages.

Review by Fiona W.

AVAILABLE AT AMAZON, NOOK, KOBO, SONY, iTUNES, GOOGLE BOOKS, GARDNERS BOOKS, and ALL ROMANCE!

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Review of Marti Healy’s ‘The Secret Child’

ImageThe Secret Child by Marti Healy
Review by Sinead F.

The Secret Child, coming in at 196 pages, should not be dismissed as lacking in content. This was another one of those books where I had never heard of the author or the book beforehand, so it was a little bit of a risk but I am so glad I took a chance on it!

Set in South Carolina in 1855, The Secret Child follows the escapades of Marika, a young girl who is a member of the Irish Travelling Community. The book opens with Marika and her brother’s journey to another clan within the community, as Marika has been promised in marriage to the clan’s leader. However, things soon go awry as her brother falls ill and is taken in by some villagers near to where Marika’s new clan resides. Marika then makes the decision to abandon her arranged marriage, at least temporarily, and takes refuge in a nearby forest. She soon finds herself drawn into a mystical world, which she had previously only heard of in stories.

With regards to the story as a whole, I enjoyed it. Oddly enough, the simplistic story didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the book as a whole. The reason this book still stands up as a whole is a result of the beautiful, lyrical descriptions that are peppered throughout every chapter. Something as simple as winter changing to spring was imagined as a symphony of growth and color that really drew you into the setting of the book and added a feeling of magic to otherwise ordinary happenings.

Despite how much I loved the descriptions in this book, they never took over. I remember when reading Homer’s Odyssey, another book with wonderful descriptions, there would be pages and pages of descriptions of one particular setting or key object before anything would actually happen, which turned it from a thing of beauty to tedium. The Secret Child manages to avoid this pitfall and uses the descriptions to either draw you in at the start of a chapter or enhance the events within the chapter.

An interesting aspect of The Secret Child is, naturally, Marika’s Irish heritage. At times throughout the book, Marika slips into speaking Gaeilge [in Irish], which I felt was a particularly nice touch. However, understanding Irish is not necessary anyway as all her phrases are translated on the page!

Due to the setting of The Secret Child, it is impossible for the story to be told without reference to slavery or the upcoming civil war. Again, these themes do not take over the story, but they are present throughout. Marika struggles to understand the motivations of slave owners, as her clan did not partake in slavery so she had never experienced it before. The book briefly touches on the cruelty of some slave owners, as well as some of the laws regarding slavery. This stood as a good contrast to the magical world Marika inhabited, as it brought a stark view of reality to the forefront.

In general, I really enjoyed reading The Secret Child. It’s a great book for immersing yourself into another world. The Secret Child shows you a world that exists just out of reach, and then drags you right into the middle of it. All in all, a beautiful read.