Friday, June 15, 2012

Early Review of The Search (The Secrets of Crittenden County #2) by Shelley Shepard Gray

When most people think of the Amish, they think of a tranquil god loving people living a simple life. While that is true for the most part, even they can't always escape the evils of the outside world that they live among, yet separate from. Perry Borntrager, one of their own, strayed from the fold. He got addicted to drugs and his downfall was noted by pretty much everyone in the small community. People attempted get him back on the right path, but sometimes when addiction takes hold, it just isn't always possible. If the person doesn't see what they are doing to themselves, or others, no help can be had. Now after a period of being missing, Perry's body has been found and there is no doubt that he has been murdered.The police are attempting to find the murderer, and people are being questioned, stories being collected, and possibilities are being raised.

In the midst of the grief and sadness his death was stirring, an attraction that seems ill fated begins to stir between Frannie Eicher and Luke Reynolds, a detective working on the case. When Frannie becomes the main focus of the investigation, things get complicated between the two. Frannie had broken off her relationship with Perry the day he'd died and evidence suggests she lied or at the very least didn't give a full disclosure of the events that transpired that fateful day. In Luke's line of work, you can never discount anyone. Everyone is a suspect.

This was the second book of The Secrets of Crittenden County series. I didn't really feel lost by not reading Missing, the first book of the series, but it did seem there was some past history that would have been nice to have seen between Luke and Frannie. So if you want to get the full details of their relationship I recommend reading the first book prior to reading this one.

This was the first Amish romance I've ever read and I was thankful I'd taken German in high school or some of the words may have thrown me. The use of the word gut, however, had me totally confused until I realized it was not referring to gut as in the bodily organ, but rather to the German word gut which means good. Oh, and in case you're wondering, gut is pronounced goot like good with a 't'.

I have to say that Frannie seemed much older than I believe she is, and she runs the Yellow Bird Inn. That is very unusual for a woman to do in the Amish community; it was bequeathed to her by her aunt when she passed. She is a likeable character who had hoped to save Perry when he obviously lost his way. On the day he died, she realized he was beyond any help that she could offer. She had finally come to the realization their paths were going in different directions. He wanted to move away for Crittenden County, but to her it would always be home. So she'd left him  figuratively and literally and never saw him alive again.

There are many people who are potential suspects. Perry was not the person he once was and had burned a lot of bridges and upset a lot of people on his downward spiral into drugs. While the 'Search' is on for the murderer in this book, it won't be until a later book that the killer will be found.

Overall, this one gets a 2 1/2 out of 5 roses. This was an okay read for me, but I don't think I'll be making a habit of reading Amish romances. It was a sweet love story, but had a rather slow pace. This may have been done deliberately by the author to mimic the lifestyle of the Amish where nothing is really rushed. It also was a very religiously rooted story with a lot of talk of God. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a SMILE rating--a lady always tries to be polite so a smile should suffice (ie no heat whatsoever). I actually enjoyed the secondary love attraction going on between Chris and Beth more because I got to see the beginning of their relationship as it happened. I'm hoping they'll be the subject of the next novel in the series, Found.

Notes to keep you in the know:
If you are curious about Amish words, here is a website that tells you what they mean and how to pronounce them:

Pictures of Amish:
Above photos were found on Photobucket.

Order of series:
Found comes out September 4th

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