by Deanne C. Miller

March 2004
ISBN: 1-59088-277-6
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The Florida coastline and the islands that dot it take center stage in Shadow of The Banyans, a romantic suspense by Deanne C. Miller.

Christine Alden has a problem. Well, actually, she has two problems. Sheís broke and not sure where she can get some ready money for bills. Her biggest problem is her ex-husband. Derek isnít willing to accept their divorce. As cruel and nasty as he was during their marriage, divorcing him seems to have only made it worse. Christine longs for a way to get out from under his terror.

Then Michael Chandler appears on her doorstep. His mother wants to have a genealogy done on her family, so he wants to hire Christine. She only has three weeks to do it in and she also has to live on his island, The Banyans, for the duration. Not sure if she can complete the chart in time, but desperate for the money, Christine agrees. Little does she know the trouble brewing off the Florida coast.

As the weather gets worse and tensions run high in the Chandler house, Christine fights her own attraction to Michael. Can she take a risk and love a man she doesnít know and isnít sure she can trust? Derekís stalking has become worse and danger lurks on the island. Christine must make a decision soon or she could wind up dead.

The story has a gothic feel to it. It doesnít have too many slow moments. The characters come across a little two-dimensional though. The bad guys donít seem all that scary. The idea that Christine would so readily fall in love with Michael seems like a stretch, especially if her marriage was as horrible as we are lead to believe. I would think that she would have been far less likely to trust him than she is. We donít learn much about Michael, mostly just what is happening in his life at the moment. The mystery was an interesting one, but there isnít enough tension or suspense caused by it to help this story.

Reviewed in June 2004 by Jenni.

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