Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Guarding Suzannah / Norah Wilson

Reviewed by: Big Al

Genre: Romantic Suspense

Approximate word count: 65-70,000 words

Kindle US:
YES UK: YES Nook: YES Smashwords: YES Paper: NO
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords store


Norah Wilson lives in New Brunswick, Canada, with her husband, two kids, and dog. She was a finalist for the Romance Writers of America’s Golden Heart Award 
three years in a row (2001-2003). Wilson has six other books, including two additional books in the Serve and Protect series (of which Guarding Suzannah is the first).


When criminal defense attorney Suzannah Phelps realizes she’s being stalked, she suspects it is one of the police officers she has torn to shreds on the witness stand. Police detective John “Quigg” Quigley finds out about Suzannah’s stalker and insists that if she won’t make an official report, he is going to protect her.


Say “romantic suspense” and some people will think a romance book with a small mystery, thriller, or suspense subplot. When I finished Guarding Suzannah, I wondered why the author considered it romantic suspense when it didn’t seem that much different than many thrillers or suspense novels I’ve read. As I always do, I ran to Google for some research.

As I’ve found with most genres, different people have different opinions about what it takes to fit into a particular category. Some believe any romance with a touch of suspense is enough, while other people think the suspense portion of a romantic suspense should get as much attention in a story as the romance portion, close to a fifty-fifty split like I found in Guarding Suzannah. A reader who would never read a romance novel, but would read a suspense novel that has a romance as a major subplot shouldn’t shy away from this book.

I enjoyed this combination. The suspense portion kept me guessing with plenty of potential culprits and enough directions for the story to take so it wasn’t predictable. The romance portion was predictable in the way a pure romance is; I thought I knew where they would end up in the end. How they would get there, what obstacles would be thrown in their way, and how they would get past them were not.

I thoroughly enjoyed Guarding Suzannah and plan on reading the other books in Wilson’s Serve and Protect series. The only negatives I found were technical issues described in the Format/Typo section.


The author is from Canada and the story takes place there. Appropriately, spelling and slang is also Canadian.

Format/Typo Issues:

This book had more typos than I like to see and would have benefited by another copy edit, although the individual issues I saw were minor.

The book also had two formatting problems that were somewhat irritating. One of these was sporadic instances of two words with no space between them. There were also random font changes between two fonts (always at paragraph boundaries).

My copy of this book was from Smashwords. Those who get it from other sources might not have the same formatting problems I found. (Edit 7/13/2011: Note comment from author regarding formatting issues being fixed below.)

Rating: **** Four stars


Vicki said...

Sounds interesting. Another for my TBR list... with a note to check the formatting before downloading.

Norah Wilson said...

Thank you for the awesome review, BigAl! Your recommendation that non-romance fans give it a whirl was especially welcome. Many of the fans I've heard from are not romance writers.

Your comments about formatting are noted. I had earlier uploaded a new version which dealt with the typos, but the stubborn formatting issue remained. I've finally resolved it, at least for the Amazon Kindle version (I broke down and learned to format it in an HTML editor). However, the Smashwords-distributed versions still have to be upgraded. Their technology requires that the source doucment be a Word.doc file, and I'm still striving to work out the bugs. This is NOT a complaint about Smashwords' technology; it makes it possible for people who are not techies to self publish.

I would be happy to send you the Amazon version so you can verify the fix, if you like.

Again, thank you so much for a thoughtful review.

Norah Wilson said...

I'm happy to report the funky font changes have been corrected in the Smashwords copy. It looks great now, if I do say so myself! Of course, it will take a while for the updated version to make its way to B&N, Apple, etc., but in the meantime, all conceivable formats can be had through Smashwords.

Thanks for tipping me off about the technical issues so I could correct them. I will now reformat all my ebooks to make the reading experience smoother.

BooksAndPals said...

@Norah: I've added a note about this in the section that mentions it.

Norah Wilson said...

Thank you! That was very kind of you. Definitely over and above!