by Diana Whitney

September 1994 Reissue
ISBN: 0-373-51196-5
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Mass Market Paperback

A small country inn nestled in a little town in Oregon. A lonely divorcee and a man of mystery! Oh goodness – it certainly sounds like the ingredients for a romance are all present and accounted for! However, Ms. Whitney tosses in a couple of other elements – a frisky raven and an assortment of severely dysfunctional secondary characters, to create a gloomy and foreboding overtone to this tale.

Janine Taylor is struggling to keep her Inn going. Her permanent residents, elderly Edna and her grandson Jules, along with aging sexpot Althea, all contribute their mite, but she knows before too long she’ll be facing bankruptcy. A fire at a neighbor’s house only intensifies her unease, especially as it is accompanied by the arrival of darkly mysterious Quinn Couillard! (I wonder why guys are never ‘blondly’ mysterious? Can’t blonde haired men be mysterious too?)

Of course, everybody has a deep dark secret that they’re hiding, although in all fairness, Janine’s secret isn’t anything to write home about!!! She is attracted to Quinn on many levels, but is puzzled when he keeps her at arm’s length. I would have been pleased if I could have liked Janine and Quinn a little more. The story is sound, and the characterizations are excellent, but I wanted to give Janine a little extra gumption once in a while and tell her that bankruptcy was a better option than listening politely to these whiny, irritating idiots!! Quinn needs an anti-cryptic pill; he is much given to uttering short and mostly meaningless phrases. Of course, he is a psychologist....

The story rumbles to its climax, although by this point, most readers will be well aware of the villain’s identity. This is a quick read, and if not memorable, at least a nice romance with a spooky feel to it! Maybe not a keeper, but a pleasant way to pass an afternoon.

Reviewed in August 2002 by Celia.

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