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Monday, November 24, 2014

HIDDEN IN THE STARS by Robin Caroll

Iola Goulton reviews. 
In Hidden in the Stars by Robin Caroll, aspiring Olympic gymnast Sophia Montgomery wakes in hospital in Hot Springs, Arkansas, to find a strange woman hovering over her. She’s been through a vicious in-home attack, and emergency surgery, and throat injuries mean she can’t talk. But Detective Julian Frazier needs to interview her, as she’s the only witness to a murder …

The writing in the opening passage of Hidden in the Stars is intriguing, as Sophia’s thoughts move between the attack and being in the hospital as (I assume) she drifts in and out of consciousness. It’s confusing at first, but perfectly conveys her confusion—confusion which is soon followed by frustration when she realises she can’t talk. Fortunately, Detective Frazier has a solution: a female colleague, Charlie Wallace, who lipreads, and can therefore translate for Sophia.

As Julian learns more about the attack, and Sophia remembers more, they begin to find some clues that will identify Sophia’s attackers—but they also find more mysteries, specifically some discrepancies in the stories Sophia’s mother told her, and the truth behind the central square of the beautiful quilt made from all her mother’s old ballet costumes. Sophia finds herself drawn to the handsome detective. Is this something that will last, or is it simply a product of two people drawn together by circumstance?

Hidden in the Stars is part of Abingdon’s Quilts of Love series, each a standalone novel from a different author. Each book in the series features (surprise!) a quilt and a romance. Some are contemporary, others historical. Some are straight romance, while others (like Hidden in the Stars) have a suspense or mystery subplot. Some are excellent, while others are, um, less excellent (not naming names). Hidden in the Stars has solid writing, strong characters, and an unusual plot, which makes it one of the best I’ve read in the series.

My only complaint is that I would have liked to have seen more of Julian’s spiritual journey, as this all seemed to resolve itself rather too neatly at the end of the book given the lack of the development throughout the story. It also seemed odd that Sophia had never met her grandmother, given they both lived in the same small town, but that was a minor point in what was otherwise a well-plotted and well-executed romantic suspense novel.

Thanks to Abingdon Press and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Robin Caroll at her website. 


About Iola Goulton:
I am a married mother-of-two, living in the sunny Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. I play the tenor horn in the local Brass Band, do scrapbooking and cardmaking as hobbies.

I blog at www.christianreads.blogspot.com and http://australasianchristianwriters.blogspot.co.nz/, and I work as a self-employed fiction editor (www.christianediting.co.nz) and HR consultant (www.bayreward.co.nz). You can also find me on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ChristianReads) Twitter (@IolaGoulton) or Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/iolasreads).

10 comments:

  1. Great review Iola! I have read a few of the books in this series and, I have to agree, so are great and some... not so great. I love that this one has some #Mystery & #Suspense though. I'll have to give it a go. Thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. Thanks, Wanda. Have you found any other romantic suspense books in the Quilts of Love series that you'd recommend?

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  2. This sounds like a great book! Thanks so much for sharing it, Iola. Excellent review!

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    1. Thanks, Marji. The Quilts of Love books are all so different in terms of genre, and it's great to find a romantic suspense in the mix.

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  3. Enjoyed your review, Iola! I also liked this book, as you did. I appreciated the way things were revealed to the reader in little glimpses throughout the story. But, I did feel it resolved quicker than I expected it to at the end! But an overall enjoyable story.

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    1. Brittany, it's hard to judge the length of a book in actual word count, but I get the impression Quilts of Love stories are shorter than most - Amazon says it's 224 pages, while the last Dee Henderson I read was 481 pages (although it did feel a bit too long). I think an average length is around 320 pages.

      That could be why you got the impression it resolved quicker than you expected: because it was shorter than what you normally read. I enjoy Quilts of Love and Love Inspired Suspense for when I want a shorter read, but I will admit they sometimes end too quickly!

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  4. I enjoyed this review and will be on the lookout for this novel. I know my daughter would really like to read it.

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    1. Tonia, thanks for visiting. I hope your daughter enjoys it - pop back and let us know!

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  5. I enjoyed your review, Iola. I haven't read any of Abingdon's "Quilts of Love" tomes, but your summary of the series gives me a good idea of what I can expect once I dive in. Thanks for sharing here as always. Blessings!

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  6. I think this is the first of these quilt series books I've seen to be suspense. Thanks, Iola.

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