Alone by SM Ford

Alone by SM Ford
Publisher: Clean Reads
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense/Mystery, Holiday
Length: Full Length (303 Pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 Stars
Reviewed by Myrtle

Ready for adventure in the snowy Colorado mountains, Cecelia Gage is thrilled to be employed as the live-in housekeeper for her favorite bestselling author. The twenty-five-year old doesn’t count on Mark Andrews being so prickly, nor becoming part of the small town gossip centering on the celebrity. Neither does she expect to become involved in Andrews family drama and a relationship with Simon Lindley, Mark’s oh so good-looking best friend. And certainly, Cecelia has no idea she’ll be mixed up in a murder investigation.

Will Cecelia’s faith in God get her through all the troubles that lie ahead?

Cecelia Gage is a woman with both beauty and brains who just happens to be the best housekeeper and cook in the county, maybe the whole state of Colorado, so why is her new employer firing her?

Mark Andrews is a best-selling novelist and near recluse, and he likes it that way. He needs nothing more than a seasoned housekeeper who can cook, clean, run daily errands, and most of all, stay out of his way while he writes his next novel. His only real-life attachments are to Aunt Zeena, and to his lifelong friend, suave and handsome Simon, who is an undeniable ladies man.

Upon Cecelia’s arrival at her employer’s country home, the older housekeeper instructs her on household etiquette stating clearly that her new boss does not like to be disturbed. An entire day passes before the novelist realizes he has a new housekeeper he has never personally met. He takes one look at her and says, “Tomorrow you can go back where you came from.” When Cecelia asks why, he says, “You are too young for this position.” Determined to prove her worthiness, Cecelia stays and continues working, cooking up some wonderful dishes while the writer, who never officially fires her, stays somewhat hidden. Soon enough she meets his Aunt Zeena, an odd-bird but likeable enough, and the adorable friend Simon. Both are impressed with Cecelia, and Simon grows intent on wooing her.

Although Cecelia goes on a few casual dates with likeable Simon, her heartstrings pull her toward the novelist and her boss, Mark Andrews. A friendship forms, and Mark softens, but it becomes obvious that he is ever so careful not to step on Simon’s toes.

All of the characters were strong in this story, even the bit players, which is refreshing. The descriptions were written nicely, too, and it is a well-rounded story. There were some disappointments though. First, the title “Alone” feels like it was picked out of thin air without any basis. Next, I quickly grew frustrated with the novelist being referred to only as “Mark Andrews” or “her employer.” When the initial walls starting coming down and a friendly relationship began to form, I expected to hear Cecelia use the name Mark, simple and acceptable, but rarely was his first name used without tagging it with his last name. It felt awkward and uncomfortable. Another distraction was that too much time was wasted on unimportant events. Lastly, but most importantly, I felt the prologue nearly ruined the story for me. You learn right off that Mark goes to jail accused of murder. I really wanted to find that out in the course of the story! Then halfway through the book, without any further mention of jail or murder, Cecelia spouts out that she just bought her employer a murder weapon. No mention again until the end is near.

Although this is a romance story for all to enjoy, the mystery of the eventual murder and the identity of the killer will most likely surprise you. This is a clean Christian mystery/romance that kept me reading. Do you pride yourself on being a sleuth? Try this one on for size!

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