When Marlie agrees to attend a cadaver ball at Vanderbilt Medical School, she did not expect to actually see any cadavers. Or, that a strange apparition would issue her a chilling message.
Despite the cadaver’s warning, Marlie is married a year later to Tennessee State Senator, Daniel Cannon, and living in a plantation-style mansion with two step sons. Add to the mix her growing suspicion that something is amiss with the death of Daniel’s first wife, Gentry; and newlywed Marlie is definitely in over her pretty Yankee head.
What begins as an innocent inquiry into her new husband’s clouded past, ends with Marlie in the midst of a dangerous conspiracy.
A modern twist on the classic Gothic romance novels of Rebecca and Jane Eyre, Replacing Gentry follows Marlie’s precarious journey as she learns the truth about the man she married.
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.
Author Julie N. Ford
Julie N. Ford graduated from San Diego State University with a BA in Political Science and a minor in English Literature. In addition, she has a Masters in Social Work from the University of Alabama. Professionally, she has worked in teaching and as a Marriage & Family Counselor. She is the author of two women’s fiction novels, The Woman He Married and No Holly for Christmas, published in 2011. In addition, she wrote a romance/chick-lit novel, Count Down to Love, also published in 2011. Count Down to Love was a 2011 Whitney Award finalist. Her next novel, Replacing Gentry, is due for release April 9th, 2013.Currently, she lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, two daughters and one hedgehog.
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