by Nancy Madison

October 2000
ISBN: 1-931-20718-6
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After her husband died, Kate Stanhope’s last hope to provide for herself was to turn the English estate he left to her into a hotel. The King’s Grand Hotel had all the makings for a success – beautiful furnishings and surroundings and Kate’s endless determination. Unfortunately, on her opening weekend, a man was found dead in his bed and it appears as though his death wasn’t by natural causes, but by poison!

Inspector Nick Connor was assigned the case at the King’s Grand Hotel and was hoping that successfully solving the murder investigation would further his chances at a promotion to Superintendent. With a failed marriage and his career uppermost in his goals, the last thing Nick needed was to feel an attraction to Kate. However, his hormones had other objectives and Nick couldn’t deny that he found Kate extremely attractive. Kate and Nick had one thing in common since the last thing Kate wanted was to get involved with another man. She learned soon after her marriage that her deceased husband was not the man she had thought he was at all and wasn’t anxious to make another mistake of that magnitude again. However, when it becomes evident that the poison that killed the guest of Kate’s hotel was meant for her, it appears as though Nick and Kate will be spending much more time together. Will they be able to fight their mutual attraction? And even more important, will Nick be able to protect Kate from whoever is trying to kill her?

One problem I had reading Clues to Love was that there were numerous spelling and grammatical errors that stuck out severely. There was also one instance where something is revealed in the story and then the later on in the plot, it is talked about again as if the revelation never happened. It is very frustrating to see such glaring editing errors in an otherwise interesting and intriguing story. While these mistakes are not an actual reflection of the quality of the storyline of the novel itself, it did influence my enjoyment of reading Clues to Love and was taken into consideration in my rating.

Although the villain in Clues to Love was revealed early on in the story, there were a few mysteries left unsolved to surprise the reader as the plot unfolded. I found the plot fast paced and it easily kept my interest. The characters involved in the novel were given believable traits, with realistic actions and reactions. I found Kate as the heroine easy to like, if not very original and Nick was likewise a bit typical as the leading male character policeman – overly protective but there to save the day.

I enjoyed the realistic progression of the relationship between Kate and Nick and the fact that they didn’t immediately fall into bed with each other but actually dated first! The setting of the UK in a modern day setting was also a refreshing change from the usual, since England is so often only seen in historical romances.

In summary, although I would not hesitate to read another work of Nancy Madison, I believe with further time and experience her novels will see a notable improvement.

Reviewed in August 2002 by Nicole.

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