I was fascinated with the well crafted plot of this book. There are so many twists and turns to the story, without precise plot development it would have been very confusing. The way Coble revealed each lie and the corresponding stunning truth was masterful.
The story centers on Claire, daughter of a wealthy aviation business owner. As CFO of the company, she travels to the Hotel Tourmaline on the island of Folly Shoals, Maine, to be part of a business merger. Soon after she enters the historic building she experiences a severe panic attack.
We find that Claire had been to this hotel before, twenty five years ago, as a four year old. She was there with her parents for an extravagant birthday party, a party during which she went missing. Search teams found nothing. A year later, very mysteriously, she was found on the hotel grounds and returned to her family.
As an adult, she has no memory of that missing year, except that hints of scenes begin to swim around the edge of her consciousness. A handsome man enters Claire's life as she walks the beach one day. Luke is with the Coast Guard, home on leave to be with his ailing father. The two experience an almost immediate attraction, adding a romantic element to Claire's life.
Luke also adds mystery to the plot as his mother went missing at the same time Claire did. As the two try to find out more about that fateful day, it soon becomes evident that Claire's life is in danger. Someone does not want the truth to be revealed.
There are two aspects of the novel that make it less than perfect. One aspect is one of the characters. Claire is a savvy CFO of a big company yet is stupid enough to go out alone when she has already been attacked once before when alone. I don't value suspense that arises from stupid actions by a character. Also, she is not very aggressive in finding the truth, leaving most of the investigative thrust to Luke. I was disappointed in the lack of a consistent character structure in the person of Claire.
The other aspect is the romance between Claire and Luke. A good romance has some apparently insurmountable obstacle the two must overcome for love. That did not happen here so the romance was somewhat simplified and not developed well.
I still liked the great plot so much that it is worth overlooking the novel's minor defects. This would make a great book for reading groups as there would be much to discuss. As with people who are adopted (not a part of this book), how much of identity comes from the birth family and how much from the family that takes the child in? When are secrets best kept secret in a family, if ever? I recommend this book to those who like a well crafted plot that makes the book a page turner.
I am taking part in a blog tour of this book and you can read other reviews here.
You can watch a video of Coble introducing her book here.
Colleen Coble has sold over two million novels worldwide. You can find out more at www.colleencoble.com.
Thomas Nelson, 336 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Litfuse for the purpose of an independent and honest review.