Secrets of the Ravine by Brenda Whiteside

Secrets of the Ravine by Brenda Whiteside
The Mackenzie Chronicles, book one
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, Romance
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Mistflower

When a ringer for her long-dead love walks into her life the same day skeletal remains are found at the edge of town, Magpie MacKenzie can’t ignore what the universe is telling her…solve the mystery, or become the next victim.

Lawyer Zack Peartree’s life is orderly and entanglement-free until he visits purportedly haunted Joshua, Arizona, and meets free-wheeling shopkeeper Magpie. Despite experiencing troubling visions and odd moments of déjà vu, Zack’s instantly drawn to Magpie and to the unsolved murder which troubles her so.

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This is my second Brenda Whiteside book. I remember reading and enjoying one of her books previously and, after reading Secrets of the Ravine’s synopsis, I thought I’d enjoy this one as well.

I have no qualms saying that I enjoyed the story. It was well written. Most of the characters were well developed and many were relatable. The plot was creative, interesting and unpredictable and the pace moved along in waves. I had moments where I didn’t want to put it down. Then I had moments where it was a good time to pause and go to bed. I enjoyed that writing style. I don’t need to be on the edge of my seat having an anxiety attack on each page of the book.

I personally struggled with the age of the heroine, Magpie. The synopsis didn’t allude to her age at all. I’m not use to reading a romance involving a woman with children in college. I have children in college so I couldn’t relate to Magpie’s characteristics.

The hero, Zack, was younger but mature. Zack and Magpie had an instant connection. A connection that was beyond a logical minded person. There was some universe/Deja vu plot threads. My logical mind was okay with that line of direction because it was more behind the scenes. The visions and odd moments were mildly integrated in the story. It was quite interesting to read despite that I typically don’t read books with psychic traits. I can say that Zack and Magpie definitely had love and chemistry working between them.

The murder mystery was very good. I was intrigued with that process throughout the story. I was actually more into solving the mystery than Zack and Magpie finding their happily ever after. However, in the end I was pleased that everything worked out.

I definitely don’t have any reservations about recommending this first book in The Mackenzie Chronicles series, Secrets of the Ravine. If a reader enjoys romances with older heroines then this book is a good fit for you.


  1. Thank you so much for a detailed, honest review. I appreciate your frankness about what you liked and didn’t like. In the end, I am so glad I entertained you!

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