False Pretenses is book one in the Secrets of Roux River Bayou series written by Kathy Herman. Taking place in a small town in Louisiana the story is filled with suspense, friendships and a lesson in forgiveness all rolled in one.
It took me a bit to get into this book. The book contains a few story lines and they are all thrown at you at the beginning. I finally got an understanding of who the characters were and how they interacted about half way through the story. Once I understood what was happening and who was involved I enjoyed the story more.
Zoe and her husband Pierce own a restaurant but Zoe has a secret she is not ready to share. Once it becomes apparent that secret may be revealed, we see her character learn about consequences of our actions and true forgiveness. Along with this story is also the story of Vanessa and Ethan who have begun to restore a home in the hopes of making it a bed and breakfast. There is a mystery that goes along with this story and this part of the book was written well. Overall it is an interesting story about forgiveness with a little mystery thrown in.
I would like to thank NetGalley and the publisher for the copy of this book I enjoyed reading. I gave an honest review based on my opinion of what I read.
False Pretenses is the first book in the Secrets of Roux River Bayou Series, and in part it continues the story of Vanessa and Ethan and their 4-yr-old son Carter, characters who are featured in Kathy Herman's Sophie Trace Trilogy. The family has moved to Louisiana, planning to renovate an inherited heritage house to turn it into a bed-and-breakfast. Shortly after their arrival, Carter claims he saw a man in the closet of one of the rooms. Although at first they believe that Carter is imagining what he saw, they soon start to wonder if he truly did see someone in the home. In the meantime, their landlord, Zoe Broussard, has started receiving a series of threatening notes to expose Zoe's secret past, one that could destroy her reputation and the future of her marriage. Zoe must make a choice of whether to face her past once and for all, while her very life, and those of others, is threatened in a very real manner.
Kathy Herman has written a fairly solid start to a promising new series, with likable characters and suspense that kept me turning the pages. She excels at making the reader truly care about the characters, even with their very human flaws, and I enjoyed revisiting the world of Vanessa and Ethan and being introduced to new characters as well. I also appreciated how she wove faith issues into the story, as she leads the characters through times of trials and learning to rely on God.
I did find some of her writing to be troublesome, however, in that she had the tendency to have characters experience introspection through repetitive questions, such as where they'd think "Hadn't she tried her best to..." or "Hadn't she always believed..." etc. In one instance I read such a phrase four times in two paragraphs, and the constant use of such questions throughout the book distracted me from the story. I do not recall ever seeing this problem in Herman's past stories, and am a bit disappointed by it. Nevertheless, the plot has enjoyable twists and turns, and overall I would still recommend this novel to readers who have enjoyed Herman's previous novels.
I give this book a mild recommendation of 3 out of 5 stars. I do plan on reading the next book in the series as I've faithfully followed the characters from the Sophie Trace Trilogy and look forward to what will occur next in their lives.
An electronic galley of this book was provided by the publisher via netgalley for the purposes of this unbiased review.
What a good first experience with Kathy Herman's books! Until this novel, Kathy was a new author to me, and now, I have a feeling I will be returning for future novels, as well as searching out her back list. Her style of writing was so personable and friendly, even with a plot that had murder, deception, and racial tension.
In spite of actually reading the back cover blurb somewhere along the way, it slipped my mind that this book would feature the continuing story of a few characters from some of Kathy's earlier novels. I got a tad bit worried that this would make for a less-than-ideal reading experience, but she gave just enough info that I had no trouble piecing together Ethan and Vanessa's back story. In fact, their reasons for moving to Louisiana later became an instrumental part of the story in more ways than one.
Unfortunately, I had a hard time connecting with the main character, Zoe. I think the combination of her attempts to change her past coupled with her desire to fit into the Cajun culture made her the most unrealistic character of the bunch. Her only redeeming feature was her husband, Pierce. His struggle to forgive Zoe for her years of deceit was both believable and heartfelt.
Now that I've connected with all of these characters, I'm anxious to return to the Roux River Bayou and see what's in store for Mrs. Woodmore. Her Southern charm in this novel was like iced sweet tea on a hot summer day--I just couldn't get enough!