Thomas Nelson (April 19, 2011)
After reading The Lightkeeper’s Daughter I was in love with both the residents of Mercy Falls and the town itself (for the most part anyway). Coble’s villains in all three books did their job well and the red herrings planted along the way were so enticing and believable that I never suspected till the final clues revealed the identity.
Since these books all take place in Mercy Falls and occur in chronological order it is best to read them all in order since some recurring characters are introduced early on. However as standalones each title functions independently. Due to not having the first book available for a quick refresher reading this third title I was able to assess it as a standalone despite having read its precursors.
Olivia Stewart has just lost both a father and a sister the latter death announcement to Olivia and her mother opens the story. The suspicious circumstances lead both to believe an accident or suicide are neither one plausible. Since the only remaining option is foul play someone must determine the truth. Since her father’s partner in a diamond mining operation overseas insists that they will only be given rights to half the production of a second mine if his son marries into the family, Olivia is instructed she must marry her dead sister’s intended for the sake of the family finances. Olivia is adamantly opposed to a marriage of convenience and being desired only for her status or wealth. As such she decides to visit Mercy Falls incognito to not only find out what really occurred the day she lost her sister but to observe the man everyone wished her to marry. Along the way to solving this primary mystery Coble throws a few more wrenches into the works which may all somehow intertwine yet several of them still mislead our heroine and her friends. Though this novel is a romance at its heart, Coble has woven a plot free of many predictable devices commonly found in this genre. Interspersing a fair amount of mystery and suspense not only keep the story “flying” but hook the reader into a book they won’t want to put down. The faith elements are incorporated naturally into the character development and not thrown in the reader’s face. On top of all the rest Coble manages to incorporate enough action scenarios with the natural flow of the plot that these stories are far from a typically sweet but relatively stagnant romance novels. (ISBN#9781595542687, 304pp, $14.99)