Saturday, November 19, 2011

Gold Trap by Lilly Maytree

by Barbara Early

What do you get when you cross Jane Austen with Indiana Jones and sprinkle in just a pinch of 1940s screwball comedy?

If you do it right, I think you get Gold Trap.

Subtitled “A Tale of High Adventure and Divine Appointment,” Gold Trap has some unique elements.  Let’s start with voice. The story is told in a close third person through the viewpoint of one Megan Jennings. While set in the present, Megan is a voice from the past. In fact, the purpose of this teacher’s high adventure is to follow the steps of her personal hero Mary Kingsley, Victorian writer and explorer, whom Megan emulates in speech, dress, and primness.

Mary Kingsley
Of course those steps lead to Africa. And Megan’s most economical way of getting herself and her video cameras there (she wants to make a documentary) is to enroll in a Voodoo tour. So add to the mix an eclectic assortment of tourists and guides--with a psychic, a kindly but hard-drinking professor, and few con men thrown in.

Megan doesn’t get to spend much time on the packaged tour, however.  When the professor is kidnapped, his son, a handsome documentary producer, arrives and accuses her of involvement. And the two search for the old man, braving the wilderness alone. Um…yeah, there’s romance too. Megan’s divine appointment is about to take her life in a totally new direction.

Yes, it sounds like a quirky little story--and it is. And I mean that in a good way. Without a bonnet in sight, the location, voice, and characterization are different from most of what one encounters in Christian fiction today. And that, Dear Reader,  is precisely the point.

It also has one of the best book trailers I think I’ve seen.

I asked Lilly if there was a message in her novel that she wanted readers to grasp. She said,
I suppose for GOLD TRAP it would have to be that not only does God have a plan for our lives that is better than anything we could dream up, ourselves, it is also something we will love doing. Because He has created and equipped us for that very thing. “Divinely appointed,” you might say. A lot of us have a hard time believing that, though. But when you think about it, what could be more wonderful?

Read the rest of my in-depth interview with Lilly on my blog: Faith, Fiction, and the Occasional Felony.

Question: What do you like to see in a book that's a little out of the ordinary? Has anything surprised you in a book recently?

Disclaimer: I should disclose that the book is published by Harbourlight, an imprint of Pelican Book Group who are also my publishers, and I was provided with a copy by the author for the purpose of review.

Barbara Early grew up buried in the snowy suburbs of Buffalo, NY, where she developed a love for all things sedentary: reading, writing, classic movies, and facebook scrabble. She holds a degree in Electrical Engineering, but her penchant for the creative caused her to run away screaming from the pocket-protector set. Barbara cooks up cozy mysteries with a healthy dose of comedy and sometimes a splash of romance. Her holiday novella, Gold, Frankincense, and Murder will be released from White Rose Publishing in time for the holiday season. You can learn more about her writing on her personal blog: or see what's for dinner on her recipe blog:


  1. Hi, Barb,

    This does sound intriguing. Now you said "sprinkle in just a pinch of 1940s screwball comedy." Is the book set in the 1940s? So then I wondered, is it more of a suspense? I love books that have a bit of adventure in them.

  2. Ooh, I love a book with a different setting and quirkiness. I like stories that push the boundaries of genre. I like stories that have different kinds of characters. This almost sounds to me like an Amelia Peabody mystery. I'm in! Thanks for the heads-up, Barb.

  3. Suzie--

    I knew I'd have to explain that comment. It was more of a feel than anything. As I was reading this book, for some reason it was peopled (for me) with actors from the 1940s. In particular, Megan was played by Kathryn Hepburn.

    As to genre, it is action/adventure, and it carries a bit of suspense, mystery, and romance.

  4. Lisa--

    Amelia Peabody is still on my very long TBR list, so I can't make any comparisons. But yes, this book is not the usual fare.

    And yes, I mean that in a good way. It's sometimes nice to step out of that box.

  5. That sounds really interesting. I love how we each have a different way of putting together stories and characters and nobody, even given the same premise, ever writes exactly the same book.

    It's been a while, but I remember enjoying Amelia Peabody books very much. Definitely the first several in the series are worth the read. :)

  6. Thank you for the wonderful review, Barb (and the lovely interview over on your blog, today as well!), I feel very honored. And how nice it is to make the acquaintance of so many wonderful people here at Inkwell Inspirations!

    Funny you should mention 40's screwball comedy, as that is my favorite type of classic film (although, I have to watch them by myself, when the Captain is not around). I like them most for the character-driven situations, especially if the personalities are sparkling ones. And Amelia Peabody? Oh, my goodness, the very name appeals to me, so I'm going to look her up as soon as I leave here.

    And as for being "outside the box" I would have to agree with that, too, since -- being an adventurer, myself -- I have found it necessary to have to step over, occasionally, when in search of the adventures of a lifetime. Which I am convinced we all have at least one of, if only we will be brave enough to take that first step... then hold on!

  7. DeAnna--

    Amelia Peabody just moved up my list a few notches. Sigh. I need more time to read.

  8. Lilly--

    The 40s movie influence does come through. I really enjoy them myself. There was a sophistication there too, that you don't often see today.

    And I hope you understand what I mean by being outside the box. It's all positive. There's a freshness there.

    And thanks for stopping by!

  9. oh my gosh. Me Want.

    Amelia Peabody is my favorite sleuth. You've sold me ladies and I AM going to get this book.

    Hopping over to Barb's blog. Everything about this sounds awesome. Fresh. Entertaining.
    That book trailer needs to be in a trailer contest, Lilly.

    I do want to call you Lilly Langtree of course...

  10. I sooo have to read Amelia Peabody now. I hope the comparison holds up.

    I should mention again that the genre is action/adventure, and not mystery. Although there is a smidgen of mystery mixed in there too.

    I'm trying to recall if there's much Christian fiction out there set in Africa.

  11. Sounds like an interesting book :)

    Recently I read a book that I thought was all theologically wrong becasue the guy who seeemed good was just all wrong, but at the end, he turned out to be a bad guy, representing how Satan pretends to be an angel of light. I was surprised and pleased, adn it changed my whole view of the book!

  12. Faye--

    I think that would surprise me in a book too. Glad it turned out for you.

    Sometimes you start a book, and you get a clear impression about what is going to happen. And things get predictable. I love it when an author throws something in there that takes me by surprise.

  13. The problem is that if you think the plot is predictable, you may not hang around until the end where you would be completely surprised. I think if an author gives little twists throughout the book, you are more willing to think there might be a big one at the end.

  14. Plot twists and turns are so fascinating, but they are a lot easier to read than come up with! One of the most delightful discoveries I made in the last few months was Martha Alderson's (aka the "Plot Whisperer") Youtube series on plot construction. Here's the link if you haven't been there:

    And I have now found out more about Amelia Peabody! Seems I did read one of her first few adventures, years ago, and quite enjoyed it. But as it was mostly based around Egyptology (and because "of the writing of books there is no end...") I was trying to keep to my general areas of study at the time. But now I see that many more adventures have been written, bringing the family along in time, and they have ended up with some WWI involvement that actually is one of my great interests. Which will draw me back, for sure, so thank you all for bringing her to my attention, again. I might also mention that even though it has been many years, I remember those engaging characters and desert scenes, vividly. Which says a lot for the talent of Elizabeth Peters.

    Well, there is only a few minutes left to this day, so I will sign off. What a lively discussion group you have here at Inkwell Inspirations, ladies, it's been very enjoyable. Thanks, again, for having me, and for all your kind words about GOLD TRAP.


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