The Lightkeeper's Ball Paperback – Apr 17 2011
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About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Colleen Coble has written several romantic suspense novels including Tidewater Inn, Rosemary Cottage, and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series. Visit her website at www.colleencoble.com Twitter: @colleencoble Facebook: colleencoblebooks
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The author weaves together suspense, romance, action and mystery along with several plot twists which held my attention until the final pages as I tried to guess who-dun-it. While there is a definite christian message it isn't preachy or overwhelming.
While I enjoyed the mystery in this story, but the historical flavor of the book was what drew me to the story, that and the beautiful cover. Sometimes you can judge a book by the cover, and this one is a real winner!
Even though this is the third book in the Mercy Falls series it can easily be read as a stand alone work, I didn't read the first two and had no problems jumping right into this story, but I liked the story so well I will be checking out the first two in the series.
I was provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Coble's recipe for murder mystery gets spiced up with history. Haley's Comet visits (April 20, 1910 for real) and plays a part in Harrison's bi-plane adventures. He desires to defy the commoner belief that the comet will bring the worlds end, by flying through the comet's tail. Well before any of this can happen, Harrison's father attempts to have him wedded to Olivia, an arranged affair after Olivia's sister is drowned. Sis had been engaged to Harrison, but to his status-seeking dad, either sister will gain him the society influence he craves. There is a tangle of family members in NYC and California society, Mercy Falls locals, and even among the servants. And a beach-full of secrets.
Olivia travels to Mercy Falls and the family's Stuart Hall, under a different name in an attempt to look into her sister's suspicious death. Murder almost takes her own life, and Harrison proves to be as suspect as anyone. She is saved and housed at the lighthouse, till a gale & disaster strikes. Here you get reacquainted with the Jesperson's and North's. While sleuthing for her sister's murderer, Olivia plans "The Lightkeeper's Ball" to replace what was lost in the storm. But can she ever find out the truth about Harrison? And in Coble fashion, a touch of romance begins to burn as bright as the Haley's Comet tail.
A delightful novel look at the northern California redwood coast at the end of the 20th century's first decade. The books descriptions of aeroplane flight action and surroundings are as vivid as any Victorian DVD. Mystery is paramount (good news for us guys), but love (her joy) is wedged in this fast-paced story that includes financial espionage, revenge, envy, and greed. Enough for every reader, from an author who seems to defy classification into a single genre.
Reading Guide Questions provided at the book's end for group discussions or personal contemplation. Coble's Mercy Falls is to Christian Murder Mystery, what Karon's Mitford is to quirky small-town life. Hopefully the series will continue to a similar number of books.
Unfortunately, once I started reading, the ending couldn't come soon enough.
The best way to describe how this book made me feel, was like watching an old movie where they jerk and jump between scenes with no warning. There was just no flow. The characters felt like puppets to me, and the author pulled their strings in often contradicting directions.
page 1) deliver devastating news to heroine that her sister has drowned
page 2) cut to heroine standing by boat railing, a mysterious assailant pushes her overboard
page 3) heroine is saved by hero
page 4) after being rescued, heroine decides not to reveal her true identity and thereby creates a major plot point
page 5) hero takes heroine to a jewelry shop
*cue record scratching* Wait, what? Why are they in a jewelry shop? Didn't they just wash up on a beach?
It just jumped around and struggled between wanting to be a murder-mystery and wanting to be a romance/feel-good tale of a woman making new friends and helping them plan a charity ball to rebuild their lighthouse. I felt like the author was throwing every plot device she could think of at me, and none of them were working.
*warning: potential spoilers*
There was a murder attempt, a big storm, a sprained wrist, a picnic, a kitten in a tree *gag*, an airplane crash, a sprained ankle (by this time the heroine should have been hospitalized just to save her from herself) and even with all that, after 150 pages, I just didn't care and could not continue.
Based upon the variety of reviews this book is receiving, I suppose it will entirely depend on your tastes whether this book is for you. I'm a Christian, but I don't like preachy fluffy Christian romances. In fact, I avoid them at all costs. I like stories with grit and heart and characters that convince me they are real, such as Francine River's Mark of the Lion series.
That was not this book.
I suggest that you read the five star reviews before you decide whether this book is for you, because it takes all kinds and obviously somebody is enjoying this book, but for me, the lack of good characterization and the choppy scenes and the muddled plots and the terrible cliches just turned into one big hot mess. I wish I could rate it higher, but I just can't.
There are two common links between the three books in this series: the setting and the men moving from deceptive spoiled women to their heroine sisters.
-The Lightkeeper's Daugher: John was married to Addie's sister
-The Lightkeeper's Bride: Katie's mother is actually her aunt because her father first had a relationship with his wife's sister, Katie's biological mother. (There has to be an easier way to summarize that)
-The Lightkeeper's Ball: Harrison was engaged to Olivia's sister Eleanor
I don't know if this was an intentional theme but I wondered why this recurred in all three books-by the third time the approach was a little stale.
Olivia was a heroine that I could not empathize with; she was too hoity-toity, self-righteous and manipulative. I actually didn't think she deserved the humble and honorable Harrison. She did have redeeming qualities that made her more endearing towards the end but it took me a while to warm up to her, especially since after a certain point it was no longer "necessary" to continue her deception. But then again, if she was perfect it wouldn't be nearly as interesting, would it? There were several highly implausible scenarios surrounding Harrison and Olivia's courtship and inconsistencies that were conveniently overlooked. On the other hand, there were also some lovely romantic moments that drove the story forward.
For me, the star of this book was Harrison. I really enjoyed learning about the pioneers in airplane engineering through his entrepreneurial enterprise and his excitement about aviation was contagious.
**A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for a positive review**
And, naturally, the situation isn't exactly what she expected.
That certainly seems to be the right ingredients for a nice summer read: a historical bodice ripper with a little mystery thrown in. Unfortunately, the story is told in a clunky fashion. The prose is... lumpy. You know how it feels to be in a car with a driver's-ed student who's never driven a stick shift before? Yeah. Like that. Instead of being taken for a ride (and pleasantly suspending my disbelief), I was bashed around, noticing the writing instead of the story.
Plus, I'm as willing to Play Pretend as any fiction reader, but Olivia and Harrison (who is, of course, rich and smart and creative as well as hunky) put themselves in situations that strain my credulity. I'm not speaking of Our Hero just-so-happening to be in the right place at the right time, but it has to be *plausible.* I rarely read a page without thinking, "A woman in her position in 1910 simply would not do that." Or, "Why wouldn't he ask about that?"
The "historical" part of the story is pretty lightweight, too. You learn a little bit about airplane experimentation in the era as well as the common perceptions about the imminent Halley's Comet, but if you are interested in those subjects I suspect reading the Wikipedia entry will give you more hard data.
Yet -- yet -- I kept reading. I read the novel all the way through. I did want to find out what happened (even if I was disappointed in the answer). So it must have _some_ merits. And perhaps I'm just too darned picky. This is supposed to be light fiction, after all. Still, if I were to recommend books set in that era, this wouldn't be anywhere towards the top of the list.
The book is the third in a series, but I didn't read the earlier ones and I didn't feel as though I had missed anything.
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