Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Lightkeeper’s Ball

The Lightkeeper's Ball

A Mercy Falls Novel by Colleen Coble
reviewed by Suzie Johnson

History, mystery, suspense and romance....

These are my favorite elements in a novel, and when they’re all combined in to one, it equals a book that’s hard for me to put down – especially when written by Colleen Coble who excels at creating and building suspense. Being a huge fan of her Aloha Reef and Rock Harbor suspense series, I was more than willing to give her historical novels a try.

A mysterious letter from her sister, written before her tragic death, sends Olivia Stewart to Mercy Falls, California at the turn of the last century. Using her little-known title Lady Devonworth, Olivia intends to discover the true circumstances behind her sister’s tragic death. Her number one suspect is her sister’s fiancĂ©, Harrison Bennett.

Before she even arrives in Mercy Falls someone attempts to take Olivia's life, increasing her determination to prove her sister’s death was a murder and not a suicide.

It seems someone is willing to kill to keep secrets hidden forever; secrets surrounding a partnership between her father and Harrison’s father, her sister and Harrison’s relationship, and the dwindling funds in her father’s estate.

Still certain that the “someone” is Harrison, Olivia plots to spend time with him. What she doesn’t count on is the man she discovers Harrison to be. His goals, his dreams, they all make up the kind of man she could fall in love with. Her heart keeps telling her he’s innocent of her sister’s murderer, but there’s too much evidence pointing at him. The mystery thickens when Olivia begins to hear her late father’s voice in the middle of the night, and she discovers just how much danger she’s really in.

For some reason, I’ve reached a point where I need books (and movies) that are more than just a hero and heroine who are thrown together for whatever reason, who don’t really like each other for whatever reason, but end up falling in love. These are all good and wonderful elements for a storyline, however I need something a little more out-of-the-ordinary to keep me engaged. 

Author Colleen Coble provides that extra spark in Harrison and Olivia. Harrison’s character – a man from a wealthy family, more interested in pursuing his dream than in spending his father’s money – is far from your typical hero. I love his dreams. And I love that Olivia shows more than a little interest in them. Her kindness and generosity toward others also show she definitely isn’t your ordinary debutant simply out to regain the family fortune.

This book was a surprising delight, and though it is the third book in the Mercy Falls series, I didn’t need to read the first two in order to enjoy this one. It’s a great stand-alone, but it was so well written, I’m planning to go back and read the first two books in the series.

This book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for my review, and I’m willing to give away my copy. Please leave a comment with your email address before midnight tonight PST if you’re interested, and if you don’t mind that the bottom corner of the cover was accidentally bent by my husband.

Suzie Johnson has won several awards for her inspirational novels (writing as Susan Diane Johnson), including the Maggie, Lone Star, Heart of the West, and Beacon awards, as well as finaling in the Touched by Love, Finally A Bride, Linda Howard Award for Excellence, and Virginia's Fool For Love contests. She is a member of ACFW, RWA, and is a cancer registrar at her local hospital. The mother of a wonderful young man who makes her proud every day, she lives with her husband and little kitten on an island in the Pacific Northwest. And although the beaches are rocky instead of sandy, lined with Madronas and Evergreens instead of Palm trees, and the surf is much to cold for wading, it is still the perfect spot for writing romantic fiction. You can visit her blog, Suzie's Writing Place at


  1. The cover alone would make me pick up this book, Suzie. It sounds very interesting!

  2. Now I feel stupid. How did the fact that Colleen Coble is writing historicals elude me?

    One day my TBR list is going to tumble over and crush me in my sleep.

    Sounds like an interesting book--and great review, Suzie!

  3. Lisa, I know. That gown is stunning. Colleen Coble's clothing descriptions made me practically drool.

  4. You know, Barb, I had that same fear about my TBR. Then I bought a Nook. Now I wonder if my virtual TBR will cause my Nook to explode.

  5. I apologize if the formatting is messed up on this post. On my computer, it looked right. On my handheld it's all messed up.

  6. Great review, Suzie.

    Gorgeous cover.

    Exciting storyline.

    Another one for my pile.

    Love the way this flows...
    History, mystery, suspense and romance... :)

    Anita Mae.

  7. Thanks Anita. You know, I'm finding myself more and more drawn to covers with lovely gowns and hats, instead of covers with handsome hunks. What is wrong with me? LOL.

  8. I, too, adore this cover. The gown is gorgeous.

    The story sounds interesting, too. :-) Now I want to know how the mystery is solved! Sigh--another for my TBR pile.

    Thanks for the recommendation, Suzie.

  9. Hey there, Susie. Now you know I can't go telling you how the mystery was solved. ;-) Let's just say it was a satisfying book all they way around.

  10. Sounds like a book that I might enjoy. Mystery, History, Romance...

    And yes, I agree the cover is gorgeous.

    Great review.

    Suzie, if you don't mind parting with your copy I'd be willing to give it a shot.

    crazi.swans at gmail dot com

  11. Thanks Faye. Consider your name in the hat. It's funny how we're all focusing on the cover and the history - mystery part of the plot. :-)

  12. I have to tell you that I was at Border's yesterday with my 40% off coupon and spent an hour looking but did not buy. I have a frightening TBR pile in my bedroom and on my Kindle but a 40% coupon makes my heart race.

    I was looking for just that one book that was going to call to me and say BUY ME. I would have picked this one up in a heartbeat if it had been there. I love the cover and the idea of Colleen Coble writing a historical. None of the series were on the shelves at Borders.

    How frustrating! (I saw a few I'd buy but already own- hooray!! The Lady of Bolton Hill for example. I won it. Don't you love blog giveaways?)

    Thanks Faye, for dropping in and commenting. We love comments. So take that, you lurkers... no suspense here. Inkies can't win the book so Faye's chances are looking pretty good this morning. Suzie, when will you be drawing the winner's name?

  13. Hey Deb! So sorry I didn't answer sooner. Yes, Faye is the winner. My deadline was midnight last night so I'll be sending her the book.

    Yes, I love blog giveaways, too. I won three books in a row this month on two different blogs. :-)


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