Title: Searching for Irene
Author: Marlene Bateman
Publisher: Covenant Communications, Inc.
My rating is 4 stars.
I always like to read a good mystery and this was a good one! I was unfamiliar with this author, but when the chance came to review it, I jumped! The story is set in the 1920s in Virginia. Anna Coughlin is in her mid-20s and has something not many women have…a college degree. She works as a financial advisor of sorts, preparing tax documents, payroll records and estate planning. Her younger sister, Irene, works for the same firm. A few months ago, Irene accepted a live-in position to get all the paperwork in order for taxes at a wealthy estate in Virginia. She writes to her sister frequently, but the letters stop coming and Anna begins to worry. She finds out that her sister has disappeared. A search was undertaken at the time of her disappearance, but all that was found missing from her room was a suitcase. Most of her possessions were left behind, giving the impression she was planning to return.
Anna has always protected Irene as she had to raise her when their mother was always at work. Irene is headstrong, impetuous, beautiful, full of life and not afraid to push the envelope of propriety. Anna has always lived in her shadow, but loves her sister deeply and will do whatever is necessary to find her. She decides to investigate on her own as the police don’t seem to be doing much. She takes a job as Irene’s replacement at the mansion in Virginia, but she tells no one of her relationship to Irene. She begins asking questions and stirs the pot as strange things begin to occur. Anna is also at odds with the young heir-to-be, Tyler Richardson. He is attractive, but gruff, distant and sometimes downright rude. He is against Anna being hired, but his father overrules him. Tyler and Anna butt heads initially, but Tyler soon learns that Anna is quite efficient and knows her job well, plus his father likes her. As Anna keeps her identity secret and continues her quest, the stakes are increased and her heart ignores her brain when she falls in love. What happened to Irene? Did she leave to meet a man and run off to get married? Did she steal some things from the mansion and take off for the big city?
The had a Gothic feel in certain creepy parts that I liked as it raised goosebumps on my arms! The ending was a surprise reveal, which I found well done. I didn’t really like the character of Tyler much as he seemed too hot and cold, going from rude and mean to smoldering gazes for Anna. Anna had a determined mindset that she didn’t waver from even facing danger to herself. The mystery was a little slow in some portions, but overall flowed well. I liked the crusty character of the father, Lawrence Richardson the best. I would like to read more from this author and would recommend this book for any mystery buff.
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