When Madeline and Daphne were young, they were almost as close as sisters, spending their summers helping out at Madeline’s grandmother’s inn…until the fateful night when Madeline is attacked by a guest at the inn, and her grandmother and the inn’s caretaker take matters into their own hands.
The secret of what happened to Madeline’s attacker—so terrible that Madeline’s grandmother closes the inn for good the next day and, and Daphne and her mother leave the island forever. Now, decades later, Madeline must return to the hotel after her grandmother’s mysterious death in order to settle her affairs, but is shocked to find the old caretaker, grievously injured, in the abandoned hotel’s lobby. His dying words warn her that their secret has been discovered, and Madeline is in danger.
Afraid to trust the local police force, Madeline enlists the help of her new security consultant, Jack Raynor. Jack and his brother help Madeline and Daphne, reunited in an uneasy alliance, work through the mystery of the suitcase left behind by Madeline’s attacker all those years ago—and why someone would kill to steal it.
I’m sure you’re getting sick of me saying this, but I picked Secret Sisters up at BEA! When I grabbed it, I don’t think I saw that it said “romantic suspense” on the back, and when I finally picked it up at home, I probably rolled my eyes harder than I ever have. Romantic suspense is a genre now? Who knew?
Anyway, I figured I’d give it a shot—I am trying to read diversely, after all, and romance is definitely something not on my normal priority list; plus, I figured the whole murder mystery thing would at least help a little. I don’t think I’d be willing to dive into a straight-up romance because gag me, but the plot of this one seemed reasonably interesting.
And it was! It was a nice little mystery, not exactly unpredictable (the mystery part or the romance part), but entertaining enough. Madeline is your typical perfect protagonist—pretty, ambitious, smart, successful—but more or less afraid of love and not without her share of PTSD from the attack she survived as a young girl. Jack is no good with relationships either, so naturally the two self-described relationship failures decide to…start one. K. They weren’t a bad couple, I guess, but something that always gets to me about romances is that they almost always seem to follow that whole “opposites attract” thing, which so often fails in real life, but in fiction it’s always perfect.
Luckily, the romance doesn’t overpower the suspense, which is something I was worried about, having never read something categorized as “romantic suspense” before. The story itself was very enjoyable, written well, and kept me intrigued the whole time. I’m not sure if it’s a genre I’ll continue to read—in general I prefer my suspense without romance getting in the way—but I’m glad I read this one. And if you’re lucky, you’ll get a chance to as well—Secret Sisters comes out on December 8, but I’m giving away an ARC below!by