It’s about time I read one of the suspense novels I keep recommending at the bookstore where I work. I picked this novel to read for three reasons:
- The genre: Suspense. I’ve been wanting to read more suspense novels, since suspense is a genre that I like writing as well as watching in film.
- The setting: Scotland. I will read anything (well, almost anything) that takes place in Great Britain, so this was pretty much a given for me.
- Christian author. It’s not every day that a suspense novel is told through a Christian lens, so I’m happy that this was a factor.
American photographer Paisley has never felt close to her mother, but when her estranged father contacts her from out of the blue, she travels to Scotland to meet him…only to find out that he is a lord and that she is, therefore, a lady. However, things are not as they seem as she and her best friend James find themselves in the middle of a terrorist plot to overthrow her family. Amidst the growing attraction they begin to feel towards each other, Paisley and James seek to discover the identity of their enemy and thwart the devious plans before it is too late.
Characters: I was surprised at the range of characters included in this book and how each of them contributed to the plot of the story. It isn’t easy to create fleshed-out side-characters (some of which are only shown for a scene or two), but these persons with different goals, nationalities, and personalities all made the story more believable and original in my opinion. Since I listened to this as an audiobook, I also like how the narrator read each character’s voice in a different accent, even those who had the same Scottish dialects.
Main Character: This is a bit biased, because I could identify with her in more ways than one, which is why she appealed to me. For example, she, like me, was older and no longer in school, was very short, and also a member of my church. This was enough to keep my interest piqued in her story.
LDS References: Since the main characters in this book were members of my own faith, it was nice to also connect with how they hinted at church principles here and there, but never got too preachy which was nice for audiences who may not want a book with a bunch of “Mormon” info-dumps. Some of these included when Paisley and James prayed for deliverance from their potential captors at the seaside, the subtle reference to James’s church mission, Paisley’s desire to dress modestly for her father’s ball, and the offense Paisley’s father felt when she declined alcohol due to her religious beliefs.
Plot/Setting: As I mentioned before, I was initially drawn to the Great Britain setting because I am a big English History buff, but I was impressed with how well the author researched the setting, culture, and even criminal terminology for this book. I was also impressed that she included a Scottish Glossary at the beginning of the novel for further possible culture-clash clarification throughout the story.
Paisley and James’s Relationship: I don’t want to say I disliked it, but I can’t honestly say that I liked it either. I am more attracted to reading about relationships that develop from the beginning of their first meeting, versus relationships that have their backstory covered by past reflections from the main character. But that’s my own personal opinion.
Common “Cinderella Story” Theme: I have seen this premise occur time and time again in storybooks and films (Princess Diaries, etc.), so it was kind of a let-down to see the main character suddenly have her life change by realizing that she is in fact a “princess”. Surprise, but not really.
Even though this novel’s story had a plot that we have seen before, it was still an original, suspenseful, Christian take on a “Cinderella” tale. It had a cast of characters diverse enough to add flavor to the story and the author did a great job researching the Scottish setting and customs as well as appropriately using crime jargon that associated the characters with the more criminal/legal aspects of the story’s mystery.