RAVEN HEIGHTS MANOR by Sharol Louise will be released in January 2015. This is the first published mystery by this established historical romance favorite. This is based on an ARC given to us to be reviewed–A sweet sneak peek!
RAVEN HEIGHTS MANOR as reviewed by Sheri J. Kennedy aka Kennedy J. Quinn
I don’t usually read mysteries. It’s because many modern mysteries come across as contrived puzzles on which the author drapes words willy-nilly to get to the next clue. They’re as formulated as the order of the letters of the alphabet. As a reader I feel pushed along, rushed through with as much intensity as the author can dish. In such mysteries there is plenty of plot but little sense of story.
RAVEN HEIGHTS MANOR is NOT that kind of mystery. It’s refreshing! I had the privilege as a fan of Sharol Louise’s other writings (notably ROSEHILL MANOR) to receive an ARC and be one of the first to discover this captivating read. RAVEN HEIGHTS MANOR begins with story. The mystery rises subtly out of the growing relationships between our sensitive young heroine, Claire and the quirky folk she encounters in her new and uncertain home. Rather than being rushed from point to point, I was pulled into Claire’s fascination with uncovering what happened to Zillah through compelling conversations and interactions. Soon I was pushing my own pace from page to page wondering what would happen next.
The fearful heroine turns fearless as she is driven to the edge by her curiosity. The reader teeters to the brink at her side and descends with her as she delves more deeply into the mystery. Just when the lonely orphan is finding solace in the tenderness of new friends, she’s thrown over the precipice into fear for her life. We feel with her, adding warmth in chill places and sending chills to our depths as more is revealed of characters we have come to care about.
Author, Sharol Louise brings her trademark independent women and colorful characters out of the dreamy world of historical romance and into the changing winds and precarious paths of mystery with style and verve. This fuller character development doesn’t mean the plot is thin. It’s just richly adorned. Rather than a pretentious plot in verbose clothing, this story is woven word by well-crafted word, engulfing the reader in a cloak of gripping suspense. The mystery is classic but doesn’t feel formulaic. It seems to emerge from the inside out—starting at the heart and creeping onto the cold ledges beneath Raven Heights Manor, where I couldn’t wait to follow.