Review: The Girl Who Knew Too Much

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Girl Who Knew Too MuchThe Girl Who Knew Too Much by Amanda Quick
Published by Berkley Books on May 9th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 352
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“You must not trust anyone — not the police, not the F.B.I.  Above all, never trust a lover.”

FINAL DECISION:  My favorite Amanda Quick book in a long time.  The move to 1930s California has given new energy and freshness to what is often a familiar romantic suspense storyline.  I hope we will be reading more in this time period.

THE STORY:  1930s California is a place where people can reinvent themselves.  Irene Glasson has come here on the run from the murder of her prior employer.  Irene (and that is also a new name) is now a reporter for a small gossip paper when she becomes involved in yet another murder.  The murder of an actress takes place at the hotel of Oliver Ward.  Oliver is also starting his life over again.  Previously a famous magician whose career ended in blood during a performance, Oliver is determined to protect his hotel from scandal when he discovers that Irene didn’t seem to exist prior to four months ago.

OPINION:  I’ve been reading Amanda Quick books since the first ones in the 1990s.  In the intervening years there have been books I have absolutely loved (RAVISHED and THE PERFECT POISON) and ones that I found completely forgettable. The most recent books have been adequate but have lacked the energy and vibrancy of the best books.

THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH moves to a new time period.  I was wary of the change because the 1930s is not a time period often used in romance novels and I did not know how the Quick books would translate into that time period.  I’m happy to report that I loved the time period move to the 20th century.  In taking place in an era that has not been done ad nauseum, the book is allowed to investigate different morals, complications and motivations than the Regency or Victorian eras.

These characters feel fresh and new and the entire book has a vibrancy and drew my interest in an entirely new manner.

Irene is a career woman who is caring for herself.  She arrives in California at a time when she can completely reinvent herself (without pesky complications such as social security numbers and needing government identification). She’s tough and clever and determined. I love smart heroines and Irene is no exception.  She just keeps picking herself up after her disappointments.  She is independent and thus her willingness to trust Oliver is a major point in their relationship.

Oliver is adorable.  Sexy and wounded and oh so willing to engage in witty verbal combat with Irene.  He’s a man who cares for his own. Like Irene, he is also a man who has reinvented himself (for different reasons).  Being a survivor and adapting is a strong theme in this book with these two characters.  They live in a time and place of reinvention and they both are living out that possibility.

Along with a romance there is a peppy suspense story that keeps the pace humming along. The suspense works very well with the romance here and doesn’t overpower the relationship between Oliver and Irene.  Instead, the two work together hand in hand to undercover who is killing the women the Irene keeps discovering. I found the mystery and the solution satisfying and the adventure served to bring the characters closer.

This book was a real winner for me and I hope that there are more books in this time period (and I think there is possibility right in this book).

WORTH MENTIONING:  This is the first Amanda Quick novel to take place outside of the 19th century.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE GIRL WHO KNEW TOO MUCH is a standalone.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-half-stars

Review: ‘Til Death Do Us Part

Review: ‘Til Death Do Us Part'Til Death Do Us Part by Amanda Quick
Published by Berkley on April 19th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 352
Goodreads
three-stars

“She belonged to him.”

FINAL DECISION: This book was good in many ways but didn’t live up to my expectations for an Amanda Quick book.  The mystery so central to the story was just meh and I found to romance good, but not one that I’d want to reread.

THE STORY: Calista Langley owns a Victorian matching agency where she introduces men and women looking for companionship.  A stalker begins sending her gifts that creep her out because they are mourning gifts personalized for her.  When Trent Hastings, author of a series of detective stories comes to her to complain about Calista involving his sister in her matching agency, the two strike sparks off one another and soon seem to be meeting all the time.  Calista seeks Trent’s help in discovering who is stalking her.

OPINION:  This book had the setup to be a really good story with Trent’s initial mistrust of Calista and a creepy mystery.  For me, however, everything about this story sort of petered out and by the end I was only mildly interested in the romance and the mystery.

I thought the conflict between Trent and Calista was resolved so quickly that it eliminated most of the tension between the characters and made their romance nice but not particularly compelling or memorable.

Instead, the story rested on the mystery of who was stalking Calista.  Unfortunately, that story was not good enough to rest the entirety of the book on.  I quickly figured out the villain and thus there was no surprise reveal in the book for me.  Because there was more emphasis in the book on the mystery than the romance, I needed a better, scarier, more compelling mystery.  This one did not engage me enough.

WORTH MENTIONING: I would classify this book as historical suspense with a dash of romance.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ‘TIL DEATH DO US PART is a standalone.

STAR RATING: I give this book 3 stars.

three-stars