Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Secret of the Journal: Rope of Sand by C.F. Dunn (book #3)

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received the book for free from the publisher through the Kregel Publications' book  blogger campaign and I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About the Book: (Information taken from the Kregel Publications site)

The third installment of the acclaimed romantic thriller series

This third volume, set in rural Maine’s deep winter, follows the developing relationship between British historian, Emma D’Eresby, and American surgeon, Matthew Lynes. Emma unravels Matthew’s alarming past and begins to comprehend how very different her future might be with a man whose identity must never be revealed.

Emma nervously meets Matthew’s family. She encounters his seventy-year-old son, Henry, and learns how unique the family really is. As Christmas approaches, it is clear that Emma is not welcomed by all: what does Matthew’s great-granddaughter have against her, and what might his sinister psychiatrist granddaughter, Maggie, be prepared to do?

Bound by their faith, Matthew and Emma have accepted that they must wait to be together until his wife dies. Very reluctantly, Emma meets Ellen—an elderly woman with a core of steel—and learns how living with Matthew will mean concealment and lies. How can they have a life together?

Read an Excerpt here!

About the Author: (Information taken from her Goodreads Author Page)
Writing as CF Dunn, I thrive on creating romantic thrillers with a historical twist, drawing on a degree in history and a career in literacy development to write stories that touch on people’s frailty and their unexpected strengths. Everyone has a story to tell, and I explore how the legacy of the past impacts on the present and shapes the future. The question is, can anyone escape their history, and how will it determine the path they choose to take?

My love of Maine and my family's long legacy in the county of Lincolnshire provide a rich heritage and vital elements in the evolving story of The Secret of the Journal series.

Blessed with a historian husband, two creative daughters and a quirky Corgi, I divide my time between running a specialist dyslexia and autism school we founded in Kent, and writing in Cornwall.

Stalk the Author: Website / Twitter / Goodreads / Facebook

Dynamic Uno here: I fell in love with The Secret of the Journal series while reading book #1, Mortal Fire.  The characters had so many facets and intricacies woven into their stories that I became engrossed in learning more and more about their lives, and ultimately, worried about their outcomes.  (Can you say addicted?) 

Somehow I missed the release of book #2, Death Be Not Proud, so I was unaware that the lives of Matthew, Emma, and the others were continuing without me.  Thankfully, I ordered it through Amazon: Death Be Not Proud (The Secret of the Journal)  and started reading it right away so that I could find out what happened after the cliffhanger of Mortal Fire.  (It was just as captivating!) 

I immediately dove into book #3, Rope of Sand, when I finished book #2.  The beginning pages of this book were a recap from the ending of Death Be Not Proud, but some of the details were changed a bit so it threw me for a bit of a loop at first.  However briefly distracted, I was immediately sucked back into the story as Emma celebrated Christmas with Matthew and was introduced to his "extended" family members.

While most of Matthew's family accepted Emma into their fold, there were a few family members who resisted the idea that she would eventually become a permanent fixture within their household. The resentment resulted in a bit of mischief that almost caused Emma to die.  Fortunately, Matthew and his son, Henry, are doctors, so they were able to revive Emma before she was lost to them all.  Tests were run, and it was discovered that Emma had her own special gift of helping others (although you'll have to read the book to find out about her talent).

When classes resume on campus, Emma learns that Professor Staahl is accusing her for his damaged reputation when she gets served with the court papers. Realizing that her nightmare has returned in real life, she grows concerned when she realizes that the only people who really know what happened on the night she was attacked were Staahl, Matthew, and herself--inevitably throwing Matthew in the spotlight, a place he has learned to avoid.

Will Matthew's secret be divulged through the trial?  Will Emma be able to produce evidence that she was not complicit in the attack by Staahl, or will his hidden allies manage to set him free?  All these and questions and more will be answered by reading Rope of Sand.

I enjoyed reading this installment of The Secret of the Journal series because we finally met characters we had only been introduced to briefly and were able to see how they interacted with one another.  I felt that this book was a bit heavy and drawn-out with the court case thrown in because it wreaked havoc on everyone's lives, but it did bring more of the "family secrets" to life and caused Emma and Matthew's family to claim "sides."  

I was a bit disappointed because I had hoped we would see a wedding  and get the "happily ever after" ending that I so want to see for Matthew and Emma, but this was not the case at this point in their lives.  Guess I'll have to wait for the penultimate book #4, Realm of Darkness, to be released.  (Yay!  More Matthew and Emma!!)

If you enjoy suspense, mystery, intrigue, and history, you'll love this series--although you MUST start at the beginning or you'll have no idea of what's happening and why certain details and story-lines are so important.  

Purchase the Book here: Kregel Publications 

Let me know what you think and Happy Reading!

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