Secrets of the Heart

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Secrets of the Heart

Hunter Douglas lives in New York City where he does research for people wanting to find their roots.  Several years ago he did a small two week job for Brenda Casey so he was surprised when the police called him to inform him of her death.  He was also asked to escort Brenda’s two children to her sister, Nicole Anderson in Minnesota.  Reluctantly,  he agrees but when he sees the oldest child, Shanna, he is shocked by how much she reminds him of his sister, Diana and wonders given her age, if she might be his. 

Nicole Anderson designs and makes period costumes out of her grandmother’s large Victorian house.  When she gets a call at midnight from a stranger to tell her about a sister she’s never heard of dying, she assumes it’s a joke.  As far as she knows she has no sister, only a younger brother, and has no desire to take custody of someone’s children. 

This suits Hunter fine as he had already decided that he’d like to keep them but he’ll need paperwork signed by Nicole so he can.  He and the children fly out to MN to meet Nicole and instead of the quick turn around trip Hunter envisioned, he ends up staying a while longer.  At first, it was to find the suitcase someone stole out of the truck of his car.  This suitcase had all the paperwork from Brenda and a few remembrances.  As they look for this beaten up suitcase, Hunter and Nicole start to form a friendship.  What started out as just a meeting to sign papers is developing into something more.

As Hunter can do much of his work in MN, he stays to see if he can figure out a mystery that is unfolding. Nicole is the exact duplicate of her sister.  She swears that her father would have never had an affair so what is the connection between Nicole’s father and Brenda’s mother?  And why would anyone steal a beat up suitcase?  When someone starts watching Nicole’s house, who are they looking for and why?

The multiple mysteries in this book are fun and confusing.  Nicole’s grandmother gives hints to the answers to some but trying to figure them out could give you a headache!  She never comes right out and says where she’s talking about…..the answer is between the date and the heart?   Hunter gets his company involved as he tries to piece together who these two women really are that look so much alike.  It’s more than family resemblance but what can it be?  And why can’t the state of MN find Nicole’s birth certificate and why does Brenda have a death certificate saying she died when she was 3 weeks old?  As more questions get answered, more appear and it seems nothing is as it looks at first glance.

The characters are fun and interesting.  Nicole has set up a workshop at home.  She has lots of costumes and 3 employees.  When giving a tour, they all dress up and even get the kids and Hunter to join them.  Nicole’s grandmother loves to do puzzles and pretends to read palms.  Yet, she’s fairly accurate with her palm reading so is she just pretending?  Hunter is a city boy who realizes that he’s out of his element in the country.  He has no problems letting Nicole lead the way while traveling through the wilds of MN but look out in the city!  Even the secondary characters are fun like Nicole’s gay employee who is the brother of the local sheriff.  He arrives to work by boat every day and teaches the kids how to fish.  Even Nicole’s younger brother makes an appearance and isn’t too sure about this guy in his sister’s life.

With all the twists and turns of this books plot, you would think it would be hard to follow.  It’s not.  I found everything was fairly logical to follow and by the end all the ends were neatly tied together.  A few things could be figured out before the end but others were a complete surprise.  It kept me interested from start to finish and I’m ready for another book concerning this strange but interesting group of characters.

Book Blurb for Secrets of the Heart

When Nicole Anderson receives a midnight call informing her she has gained custody of her sister’s two children her quiet life is turned upside down. As far as she knows she doesn’t have a sister.

Hunter Douglas is assigned the task of delivering a deceased friend’s children to their aunt 1500 miles away. When he discovers the oldest child is his he doesn’t want to give her up. He takes them to Minnesota fully intending to bring them both home to New York with him. His plan goes awry when he begins to fall in love with, small-town, Nicole Anderson.

Can Nicole overcome the secrets of her past to open her heart to Hunter?

Together Nicole and Hunter must unlock the mystery of false birth certificates, a missing suitcase, peculiar pictures, a strange man following them, and a grandfather’s legacy. Attempting to solve the puzzle only makes it larger and more dangerous.

Night Owl Reviews Oct, 2008 4.00