This is the third book in the Port Aster Secrets series. If you have not read the previous books you will have difficulty following this one. Many of the characters in this novel were major characters in the previous ones. You may be able to read this novel on its own as there is back story included, but the impact of the previous actions of those characters will be lost.
In this novel, Kate Adams, a woman who researches plants and their therapeutic characteristics, has finally identified the plant that tore her family apart. It is a plant that, according folk lore, has valuable properties. There is another group of people who also want the valuable plant. They will stop at nothing, including murder, to obtain it.
I found the character of Kate to be unusual. She is a very jittery person. When the phone rings it startles her and she cuts her finger. She drops a tray of tea cups when she is surprised to see a person. She is reactionary, nearly fainting at difficult news or getting wobbly knees at other times. Yet, when it comes down to a serious situation, she has her wits about her. She was not a strong heroine, in general, yet at times was. That was a little disconcerting.
I found the plot to be complex. There are many characters, good guys and bad guys, and frequently it is difficult to tell which is which. In fact, it is not until the very end that it all comes out in the open. There is some romance in the novel too as Kate and Detective Tom Parker fan the spark between them. There is some good suspense at the end, but, if you have not read the previous books, the impact will be lost.
I always like to learn something when I read a novel and this time it was about plants. As a kid, I can't tell you how many times I've been hit by stinging nettles. Now I know dockweed is the antidote and often grows close by. The sap of the dock leaf contains a natural antihistamine. Jewelweed is the antidote for poison ivy and insect bites. And don't burn poison ivy, Orchard says in A Note From the Author. Inhaling the smoke can really kill you.
If you have read the previous Port Aster Secrets novels, you'll really like this conclusion. If you haven't read them, do so as this has been a good series.
You can find discussion guides and other bonus features, including location pictures at www.SandraOrchard.com/bonus-features.
Sandra Orchard is the award-winning author of several books including Deadly Devotion, winner of the 2014 The Word Award for suspense, and Blind Trust. Her Love Inspired Suspense titles have garnered two Canadian Christian Writing Awards and a Romantic TimesReviewers' Choice Award. Sandra has also received a Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She lives in Ontario, Canada. Learn more at www.sandraorchard.com.
Revell, 368 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this novel from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.