Monday, May 20, 2024

THE VANISHED (Secrets To Keep Series #1) by Cara Putman, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"There was an easy elegance to her style, yet she didn't seem quite comfortable standing in his museum."

Recently hired art museum director Carter Montgomery met "Janae Simmons, attorney-at-law" gazing at a painting during the celebrated opening of their "Women in Art" gallery. Learning that the lovely young lawyer had just arrived back in Kedgewick, Virginia, he seeks her advice regarding a disturbing situation; the museum had been accused of exhibiting stolen art. Two pieces; one on loan from a German gallery, the other owned by the Elliott Museum of Art.

Janae Simmons had been in Kedgewick less than a week and she was already second guessing her decision to return home. An embarrassing litigation error had cost one of her previous clients a considerable sum of money, and the pressures of a large law firm in a big city had combined to convince Janae that she needed a change . . . but this? Reluctantly accepting Carter's request to represent the museum in the event of a lawsuit, the case actually encourages Janae to take her career in a totally different direction. Surprisingly, her research not only unearths some unsettling discoveries about the two paintings in question, but also makes her question parts of her own family history.
This story boasts tentacles of secrets and intrigue, along with its interesting art history, that indiscriminately spread out in multiple directions prompting the reader to wonder whether they are destined to converge . . . or diverge. Enjoy discovering which path they take . . . including the one that leads straight towards a merging of hearts. 
*I purchased this book and was under no obligation to provide a positive review. 3.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:
Janae Simmons left the small town of Kedgewick, Virginia, ten years ago to pursue her legal career and never looked back--until a professional mistake leads her to her grandmother's historic carriage house and to the town where her past threatens to find her. The quiet streets echo with her grandfather's sterling reputation, one that conflicts with fresh questions that claw at Janae, launching her on a reluctant journey to unearth his secrets. When her new job at a local law firm doesn't live up to expectations, she wonders if coming home was the right decision.

Carter Montgomery starts his art preservation career with the only job he can get--director at the Elliott Museum of Art. At least Kedgewick is a nice enough town to provide him and his nephew with a safe place to grieve the loss of Carter's sister. But Carter's calm days disappear when an elderly woman claims two paintings in the museum's collection were stolen from her family during World War II.

Carter enlists Janae's help to unravel the legal labyrinth of art ownership, and the peaceful facade of Kedgewick morphs into a hot bed of secrets. When an attorney turns up dead and Janae uncovers another painting, what began as a simple legal issue spirals into a race against time. As the web of intrigue tightens, the duo must confront a looming question: What dark truths lie beneath the surface, waiting to be exposed? 

Kregel Publications, April, 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and audio. 


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