The Maid’s Secret by Jane Whitney Clark

The Maid’s Secret by Jane Whitney Clark
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Genre: Mystery/Suspense, Historical
Length: Short Story (149 pages)
Heat Level: Sensual
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Thornapple

Twelve years ago, Jameson Parish spent a summer at her best friend Dancie Duvall’s estate of Blue Chimneys. At first, it was all Jameson hoped for, including a passionate romance with Callen Marsh, the local bachelor that every woman seemed to have in her sights.

When Dancie died in a suspicious fall off a footbridge, Callen was suddenly nowhere to be found, and Jameson left for college amid rumors linking her to Dancie’s death. Now she returns to Blue Chimneys, hoping to clear her name and put her lingering feelings for Callen to rest.

Callen, handsomer, wealthier, and more seductive than ever, falls in love with Jameson all over again. But, hungry to rekindle what they once had, he hides one devastating truth.

Soon, sparks fly between them, igniting old passions and lighting the fuse that will send long-buried secrets and lies raining down like fireworks on them all.

The tone and atmosphere of this novel sucked me right into the story from the very beginning, all the way to the end.

Twelve years after the tragic death of her good friend, Dancie, Jameson returns to Blue Chimney Estate for a dedication ceremony honoring her friend. She had left under a cloud of suspicion and although she remembered finding her friend’s body, she has no memory of what lead up to her death. Although most everyone agrees Jameson should never have come back, it is important she clear her name once and for all.

Being back at Blue Chimney after all this time and seeing all her old friends, and a former lover, has Jameson experiencing flashbacks about the night her friend died. Slowly she begins to piece together what actually happened that night, revealing an incredible, shocking revelation that will knock Jameson’s world off its axis forcing her to face truths she has buried for twelve long years. But, someone will work very hard to make sure Jameson doesn’t live long enough to reveal the truth.

Jameson’s initial discomfort sets the stage for a tense and edgy suspense novel that kept me riveted. The tension builds at an agonizing pace, as long buried secrets slowly begin to reveal themselves.

The only flaw in the story was that Jameson seemed to walk into a few too many convenient eavesdropping opportunities where she was able to obtain information she felt might be relevant to the crime or even information about Callen, her old lover.

I found the flashbacks to be more effective and described very vividly, just like a person would really feel if a painful, long buried memory kept trying to resurface. As desperately as Jameson wanted the truth , she was also scared and worried about what she might remember, and the flashbacks often left her confused and disoriented. Despite her fears, Jameson was determined to face her past and I admired her courage and tenacity.

Every person seemed like a viable suspect and I could never settle on one person, try as I might. So, I admit, I couldn’t wait to see what happened next and wound up reading this in one afternoon.

I love old secrets and buried memories and love affairs being rekindled against the backdrop of a small community. I also love cold case mysteries and the satisfaction of knowing justice will finally be served. If you like romantic suspense that uses a psychological edge to build suspense you will really like this one. Well done.

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