by Olga Bicos

October 2003
ISBN: 1-55166-732-0
Reviewer Graphic Button Mira Books
Mass Market Paperback

When a young woman named Nina dies in a tragic accident, a chain of events is set into motion that will follow the Cutty family through the years. Although exonerated in her death, rumors of Ryan Cutty’s guilt persist, and are brought to a head years later when Cutty heir Daniel East hires a new architect to refurbish Cutty House. This architect, Holly Fairfield, is desperate for work, very talented and has one other point in her favor…she’s the spitting image of Nina.

Complex and intricate, this story strips several human souls down to the bare bones, and the result is not always pleasant. It gives truth to the adage that “you can pick your friends. You can’t pick your family.” As important as Holly’s pursuit of the truth are, the secondary characters, each of whom have a role to play - or have already played it and are still waiting for the consequences.

A novel that truly deserves the title of “romantic suspense”, Shattered is indeed shattering at times. It’s also romantic, as Holly and Ryan discover that looks are superficial - it’s what lies beneath that breathes life into a love affair.

Don’t expect to finish this book at one sitting, since it deserves plenty of time for its complex bouquet to be fully savored. There are scene changes and plenty of interaction between a variety of characters that blend nicely into a relatively taut plot. My one complaint? A basic one. Holly’s acceptance of the facts. She escapes the “too stupid to live” categorization, thank heavens, but even so…finding out that one bears an uncanny resemblance to a dead girl, and experiencing a few strange “accidents”, would be enough to send most logical people out of town. Very quickly indeed. It’s a minor point, but one that did have me shaking my head at her once or twice and saying “what are you thinking??? Get out. NOW.”

I do recommend this book to lovers of romantic suspense. It’s well thought-out, tautly paced, and features a delightful love affair snuggled in between the dangers. Certainly a keeper for any fan of the genre.

Reviewed in June 2004 by Celia.

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