The Dark Opals of Harrow Island

(No Series)

Shy Megan Cooper was bold enough to answer the advertisement for a secretary in a London newspaper, but no sooner had she arrived on a remote Harrow Island than her courage began to falter. Lord Ambrose Hawkins ruled his fogbound domain with a stern and unsmiling demeanor; the dark secrets of his mystery-enshrouded mansion were whispered in the village and in the echoing corriders of his vast estate.

Not once but many times, Megan was warned that she should leave. Then the strange occurrences begans; her bedside clock, always moved to the sitting room mantel; the sound of organ music when no one was at the keyboard; then a pair of hands around her throat...and a hideous shock in the high and shadowy bell tower. Terrified now, Megan had been drawn so deeply into the web of evil intrigue that there was no one she could place she dared to way to escape the stormswept island that had become her prison!

Finally, finally this is the last review of the three Beverly C. Warren books. I tell you, reviewing three this close together is a bit bothersome but I really need to cut down the "to be reviewed" list.

This is one of the better ones. Megan's a great character filled with strength, curiosity, and understandable reluctance to get into a romantic relationship with her employer. Lord Ambrose - odd name right? - was also likable with his quick temper (it can be erotic right?) and sweet side personality. All characters were eccentric enough to work.

The mystery itself was difficult to figure out and even though at the end I developed an inkling of what was going on before it was revealed, I never guessed everything. You had to figure out not only who the killer was, but what the big family secret stood as. The atmosphere was nicely gothic, and I enjoyed seeing how the 'ghosts' aspect was handled by the heroine. The small town worked with the story, intertwining the atmosphere with how the large estate hung on a cliff over the sea, and even I got into the rumors and gossip with the local, big-mouthed postmaster.

For the romantic angle, it turned out sweet as always, and again devoid of much sexual tension. Sighs. At least the two 'in love' were around each other enough. In the previous books the main characters really only interacted in the second half of the book and beyond. Here it's from the get go.

Hmmm I like reviewing longer on books but sometimes there's not more to say. If the book has bad points, I can't really think of one except that a wee more action wouldn't have harmed the book. Also, it's a bit far fetched how quickly and conveniently Megan guessed the true nature of a major obstacle at the end. I'm slapping it with a 4 star rating just because it wasn't so enthralling it held me captive enough to be labeled as a 5. Characters are interesting and make sense, the atmosphere is charmingly gothic, mystery well drawn together, ending rewarding, romance endearing without being sappy, and that's all she wrote, folks.

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