Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak

Title:  The Secret Sister
Series:  Fairham Island #1
Author:  Brenda Novak
Publication Date:  July 28/15 by MIRA
Length:  400pgs
Genre:  contemporary romance
Shelf:  Netgalley
Rating: ★★★★

Back Cover Blurb:

Did she once have a sister? Has her mother lied all these years? Why?

After a painful divorce, Maisey Lazarow returns to Fairham, the small island off the North Carolina coast where she grew up. She goes there to heal and to help her brother, Keith, a deeply troubled man who's asked her to come home. But she refuses to stay in the family house. The last person she wants to see is the wealthy, controlling mother she escaped years ago.

Instead, she finds herself living next door to someone else she'd prefer to avoid Rafe Romero, the wild, reckless boy to whom she lost her virginity at sixteen. He's back on the island, and to her surprise, he's raising a young daughter alone. Maisey's still attracted to him, but her heart's too broken to risk…

Then something even more disturbing happens. She discovers a box of photographs that evoke distant memories of a little girl, a child Keith remembers, too. Maisey believes the girl must've been their sister, but their mother claims there was no sister.

Maisey's convinced that child existed. So where is she now?

My Review:

Novak launches her new series with a definite flair in this suspenseful and romantic novel. Novak brings forward all the suspense of a good mystery without the gory bits. It was a truly fascinating prospect. At the same time, she creates an unbelievably sweet second chance romance that really kept me on my toes. I appreciated that I could never quite guess what would happen next, without the feeling that facts and events were coming at me out of left field. All the while, Novak is building the world in which her characters find themselves. She sets the backdrop for this story, and the series, quite well.

I really appreciated how Novak developed each of her characters independently of one another. We don’t simply meet ‘couples’ or ‘families’, but rather the individuals that make them. It made the novel all the more personal. I enjoyed how the characters’ pasts have a direct bearing on their present. They are so much more than just that, however. Their strength and compassion really shines through. I also enjoyed how well developed these individuals were. I love reading stories where you can truly get to know and connect with the characters. This is definitely one of them.

This novel may be the 1st in Novak’s new series, but it’s also a great novel all on its own. Novak has truly created both a mystery and a romance that I won’t soon forget.

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