Replacing Gentry is categorized as Woman’s Fiction but I’d have to say this book is almost 100% thriller. It might be something akin to a “lady thriller”. I just made that up, but I was a bit confused at first about what this book actually was. It begins like most romances, Marlie meeting a handsome man, but it goes off the rails as far as romances go after that point.
Which is fine, it’s not a romance, it’s a thriller. It just took me a while to catch on.
This story is well written and edited, so getting lost in it, regardless of the genre, is not hard at all. I quickly became invested in Marlie and her story and I stayed that way through the entire plot. At first the southern accents threw me off, but after a while I settled into it and I quite enjoyed them on the ladies. The men not so much, but it definitely gave Marlie’s sister-in-law, Cooper, some character.
And Cooper badly needed that character because she was a stereotype waiting to happen. In fact, this is really the only problem I had with this story. They stereotypes are so cliché. It’s the conservative southern family hiding secrets, while the west-coast liberal (this is how Marlie is described) exposes them for who and what they are.
It doesn’t quite happen that way, but yet it did.
I really don’t mind stereotypes if there’s a reason for it in the end, like things turn out not quite like you expect it. But I’m not sure that’s what happened here. And the reason I’m not sure is because I’m not sure Marlie learned anything. I enjoyed the end, I enjoyed the secret, and even if my scientific sensibilities were stretched a bit, I think Ford pulled it off. But there was no growth from Marlie in my opinion. She came into this relationship with certain prejudices and that’s pretty much how she stayed. Everyone around her required change, but she didn’t. Not really.
With that said, I read this book in almost one sitting, it was that good. So, even though I had some issues with the character development, the plot was fascinating and well-paced.