Beneath the Marigolds
by Emily C. Whitson
October 1-31, 2021 Virtual Book Tour
When her best friend, Reese Marigold, goes missing after attending Last Chance, an exclusive singles' retreat on a remote island off the coast of Hawaii, no-nonsense lawyer Ann Stone infiltrates the retreat.
Ann quickly realizes there's more to Last Chance than meets the eye. The extravagant clothes, never-ending interviews, and bizarre dates hint that the retreat is a front for a reality dating show. Could Reese be safe, keeping a low profile until the premier, or did something sinister occur after all?
Torn between the need to uncover the truth and her desperate desire to get off the island, Ann partakes in the unusual routines of the "journey to true love" and investigates the other attendees who all have something to hide. In a final attempt to find Reese on the compound, she realizes that she herself may never get off the island alive.
Praise for Beneath the Marigolds:
"Cleverly plotted...Whitson's debut novel is an intriguing new entry in the women's suspense genre, driven by dual first-person narrators and tension-filled parallel timelines."— Carmen Amato, Silver Falchion Award Finalist and author of The Detective Emilia Cruz Mystery Series
"Exhilarating twists and turns...a fast-paced psychological thriller that mashes up the reality series The Bachelor with Gone Girl." — Helen Power, author of The Ghosts of Thorwald Place
"A fun, propulsive read...this book cleverly combines the archetypes of "reality TV" and the "trapped-on-a-remote-island" mystery that will perpetually keep you guessing." — Marcy McCreary, author of The Disappearance of Trudy Solomon
This is a suspenseful novel exploring what people will do to find the love of their life. It is also a good exploration of authenticity in developing relationships as opposed to forcing them in arranged situations.
The narrative alternates between Ann's current experience and Reese's prior one. Both are given from the first person viewpoint. Some of the people who had been at the retreat when Reese was there were also there with Ann. Because both accounts are in first person and many of the same people are referenced, keeping straight which character I was currently following became a chore.
There were lots of hook-ups between the men and women at the retreat. There seemed to be more of an emphasis on sexual encounters than really establishing long lasting relationships.
That being said, this is a good debut effort. There is subtle psychological suspense throughout. There are several surprise twists near the end of the novel. Whitson has a good writing style that kept me reading. I'll be looking for more from her.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Published by: CamCat Books
Publication Date: September 21st 2021
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0744304202 (ISBN13: 9780744304206)
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | CamCat Books
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