Book: Secret Reflection
Author: Jennifer Brassel
Published: April 1, 2013 by Escape Publishing
Paperback, 202 pages
BOSSF Review: 4 stars
A modern gothic romance about skepticism, secrets, and seeing what’s in front of your eyes.
Kelly Reid doesn’t believe in ghosts, even when one appears in front of her. She’s sure the man in her bedroom mirror is a hoax, all she has to do is prove it. But it’s hard to concentrate on hidden cameras and tiny microphones when he seems so real, so engaging, so sad.
Accused of a heinous crime, John Tarrant has been trapped in the mirror for 140 years, neither living nor dead. His only chance at escape is convincing the skeptical woman in front of him that he’s real and desperately needs her help.
Working together to solve a centuries-old crime, Kelly and John race to find the key to his release – and fear what will happen if they succeed. Will their unlikely relationship finally have a chance, or will John’s spirit vanish forever?
3.5 Stars (rounded up to 4)
I received this book on behalf of Harlequin Enterprises Australia from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I am generally wary of the Time Traveling romances, but Secret Reflection had a hot and sweet love story, a murder mystery, and a race against time to free John from his own purgatory.The seemingly far reaching paranormal story was engaging, suspenseful, romantic, with some humor, too. Brassel wrote a compelling and original love story, and I enjoyed it very much.
I was hooked after reading the prologue that set tone for the rest of the story. I like when authors give the readers a taste at the complexities that are to come later, like in Hopeless
. We wanted to hear why John murdered his dear friend, who was also his cousin’s wife. I enjoyed the how it jumped around to multiple POV in Secret Reflection – we got to see how John and Kelly began to trust and care about each other. It helped keep the story moving along, and we found out more clues as to whodunnit and how to save John. We also got to hear from the town’s dirt bag, who happens to be related to the man responsible for imprisoning John. The readers also got excerpts from the journal of the man who arranged for John to be imprisoned. Brassel’s descriptions of the hotel and the setting were wonderful, and it was easy to pain the picture of the surroundings.
Brassel made a believable MC in Kelly. Newly divorced from a wretched man, Kelly escaped LA to stay with friends in a town outside of London in their new hotel. Her friends wanted to give Kelly something to occupy her time and they wanted to get extra publicity for their new hotel… so they hired Kelly to write about the ghost haunting their hotel. After being manipulated by her ex-husband, she had a guard up to avoid being duped again. Kelly’s pain seemed real and her reservations of the ghost story were valid. (I mean…. I would be calling BS if she believed it right away!) John was a hot, perfect gentleman. He also brought the laughs in the book, when he was out of his element in the year 2000. It reminded me of the movie Enchanted – I loved when Prince Edward (James Mardsen) and Giselle (Amy Adams) were fish out of water in NYC.
The love story was cute. It built up throughout the whole story, so this wasn’t the insta-love kind of romance novel. There was enough of the initial skepticism and distrust, and even though the story takes place over just two weeks, the two lonely souls started to trust each other more each day. As their trust built, the desire to be with each other increased as well… The two lonely souls complimented each other well, and it was easy to get lost in their story.
Richard Ditchley made my skin crawl. He was a despicable character, who was a womanizing pedophile with a serious gambling problem. Brassel did a fine job creating such an unlikable man, who had charmed his way through life. He was vile and disgusting, but I think he was immature and spoiled. He charmed his way through life with his good looks and likable personality – we were all waiting for this disgusting character to get what was coming to him!
This book might not be for everyone, because it isn’t a sexytimes love story by chapter 3 kind of book, but if you are OK with that, I recommend this book!