Genre: Romantic Suspense
“Five years ago, Nell’s parents fled in the middle of the night, leaving her and her younger siblings with their grandfather. Now, with her grandfather crippled, Nell is responsible for caring for her family and running the Penniwick Hunting Lodge. Caregiver, housekeeper, mother, hunting guide, hunter—the last thing Nell needs is another burden, but when she finds a dying man lying on the riverbank, she can’t walk away.
She soon learns it’s no coincidence that FBI agent Connor Woodridge chose to die on her turf, and once she gets him home, his presence serves as a catalyst to revelations regarding the hijacking of an Army munitions convoy two decades before. Everyone seeks the munitions hidden somewhere in the forest, and deadly secrets are exposed when Nell finds herself sucked into a vortex of deception, corruption, and treason. The past becomes enmeshed in the present, and when her loved ones are threatened, Nell’s act of humanity may well culminate in her loss of humanity.
Her boast that no one can shoot a bow or a rifle as well as she is put to the test in a confrontation with a band of pseudo-patriot militiamen and their malevolent leader, and Nell finally learns the reason her parents walked away, all those years ago.”
“Grace Jelsnik earned her M.A. in English with an emphasis on creative writing at the University of South Dakota. She lives in North Dakota with her husband of fifteen years, their three children, two dogs, and three cats. Her novels emphasize plot, characterization, and setting, but each possesses an element of romance that takes a down-to-earth approach to the natural give-and-take emotional interaction between two characters, addressing the sparks that lead to heat, not the heat itself. Her targeted audience is late teen and older, readers who enjoy suspense and mystery.”
Learn more about Ms. Jelsnik on her Amazon Author page.
First, I need to thank the author for producing a well-written novel that kept my interest throughout (I’ve just gone through a tough patch of reading 30+ Amazon samples from Al’s list without finding a book that ‘worked’ for me).
Nell, the main character, nicknamed Sparrow, was one tough cookie. I enjoyed being inside her head and watching her make smart but dangerous decisions by relying on her knowledge of the forest. The considerable intrigue surrounding her family was gradually peeled back one layer at a time, which added to the story tension.
The FBI agent was also well drawn, and their obvious attraction to each other was believable and welcome.
The author pulled together all the threads nicely at the end and then tied them in a pretty bow. I think this story would appeal to those readers who enjoy a suspenseful romance without any gore or gratuitous sex—a great holiday read IMO.
Original review posted July 13, 2016.
Rating: ***** Five Stars
Reviewed by: Pete Barber
Approximate word count: 75-80,000 words