About this book: (from the publisher) In 1989, Claire Dellamare disappeared from her own fourth birthday party at the Hotel Tourmaline on the island of Folly Shoals, Maine. She showed up a year later at the same hotel, with a note pinned to her dress but no explanation. Nobody knows where Claire spent that year—and until now, Claire didn’t even know she had ever been missing.
But when Claire returns to the Hotel Tourmaline for a business meeting with her CEO father, disturbing memories begin to surface . . . despite her parents’ best efforts to keep them forgotten.
Luke Rocco lost his mother under equally mysterious circumstances—at the same time Claire disappeared. After a chance encounter reveals the unlikely link between them, Claire and Luke set out together to uncover the truth about what happened that fateful year.
With flashbacks swimming just beneath her consciousness and a murderer threatening her safety, Claire’s very life depends on unscrambling her past . . . even if her family refuses to acknowledge it. Someone—maybe everyone—is hiding something from Claire Dellamare, and it will cost her everything to drag the truth out into the light.
About the author: (from her website) Best-selling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has over 2 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana. Visit her website at www.colleencoble.com.
Genre: Fiction/Christian/Romantic Suspense
Why I read this book: for BookLook for review…and because I hear such raves about this author and wanted to see for myself. Plus, I couldn’t resist the cover.
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: PG
Reminds me of…Terri Blackstock, Brandilyn Collins
Will especially appeal to…readers of inspirational romantic suspense–especially those with a penchant for New England settings.
This story matters because… it speaks to the bonds of love and family, and to the power of forgiveness.
My take: I never like saying I couldn’t get into a novel, especially one like this with so much clout behind it. I want to get hooked on every book I read. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen here.
It wasn’t the story itself, which is–in and of itself–intriguing. Rather, it was something, somehow, in the way it was told. Starting, perhaps, with the way that I didn’t feel the author trusted me, the reader, to connect obvious dots. Like in this brief snatch of narrative: “What had gotten into her today? First experiencing a panic attack and then jumping to unwarranted conclusions.” This came on page 15, which meant I’d read about these two things (the panic attack and the jumping to conclusions) only a page or two before. I’m not likely to have forgotten so quickly what I was just so well shown.
I felt there was also a heavier reliance on cliché than I’d prefer. (“…her first impression was of impossibly dark eyes that seemed to look right into her soul. He would have been right at home on the cover of a pirate romance.” page 14)
And sometimes the dialogue felt stilted, as when characters used what they were saying to explain backstory to another character who would already be in the know. For example, ” ‘He hasn’t hit you again, has he? I thought he stopped that after I threatened him when I was eighteen.’ ” (page 8, emphasis mine)
And then there were passages like this, which to me just didn’t ring true:
” ‘You’re wearing a peculiar expression, Claire. And look at you. No shoes. You’re filthy, and your hair is a wreck. What happened to you this afternoon? Your father even called the sheriff. Are you all right?’
” ‘I’m fine, Mom. Some guy killed the woman at the counter when I checked in, Jenny Bennett. I called the sheriff, but the killer sneaked up on me and hit me over the head.’ When her mother gasped, Claire shook her head. ‘I’m okay. The sheriff is looking for him.’ ” (page 33)
Really? All this talk of a killer and a brush with death delivered without a quiver? I don’t think so. Not in my world, anyway.
I’m sorry to sound so crushing. Could it be I lack an appreciation for the trademarks of this genre? Perhaps. I would certainly point to the author’s huge fan base and bestselling, award-winning status and urge other readers to take my take with a grain of salt.
Because, on the plus side, The Inn at Ocean’s Edge did have plenty of atmospheric suspense, plus a wealth of layered mystery, twists, complications, and original sub-plotting (including an incident involving an orca whale! I’ll admit I’ve not seen that one before). And, though I wasn’t much taken with the rest of the story, the ending was–to me, at least–satisfyingly unpredictable.
Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
After words: One of the standouts of this story was its setting. If you could set a story anywhere in the world, where would you choose? A place you’ve already been…or one you long to go to?
Also–don’t miss this giveaway opportunity. Check it out:
The minute she steps inside the grand Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Claire Dellamare knows something terrible happened there—and only Luke Elwell believes her. Colleen Coble’s new book, The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, is a must-read for mystery and suspense readers. As Claire and Luke put together the pieces of a decades-old mystery, they discover that some family secrets refuse to stay buried. And some passions are worth killing for.
Celebrate the release of The Inn at Ocean’s Edge by entering to win a Kindle Fire and RSVPing to her May 5th author chat party!
One grand prize winner will receive:
- A Kindle Fire
- A copy of A Heart’s Disguise
- A copy of A Heart’s Obsession
- A copy of The Inn at Ocean’s Edge
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on May 7th. Winner will be announced May 8th on Colleen’s website. Plus be sure to clear your calendar on the evening of May 5th because Colleen is hosting an author chat party on Facebook to celebrate her A Journey of the Heart series and the release of The Inn at Ocean’s Edge! RSVP here!