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Georgia Coast Romance #1

A Sparkle of Silver

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Ninety years ago, Millie Sullivan's great-grandmother was a guest at oil tycoon Howard Dawkins' palatial estate on the shore of St. Simons Island, Georgia. Now, Millie plays a 1920s-era guest during tours of the same manor. But when her grandmother suggests that there is a lost diary containing the location of a hidden treasure on the estate, along with the true identity of Millie's great-grandfather, Millie sets out to find the truth of her heritage--and the fortune that might be hers. When security guard Ben Thornton discovers her snooping in the estate's private library, he threatens to have her fired. But her story seems almost too ludicrous to be fiction, and her offer to split the treasure is too tempting to pass up . . .

Get ready for a romantic escapade through dark halls and dusty corners that will have you holding your breath and sighing with delight as two charming characters get caught up in the adventure of uncovering the past and finding their way to an unexpected future.

368 pages, Paperback

First published October 1, 2018

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Liz Johnson

59 books563 followers

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5 stars
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155 (18%)
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29 (3%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 277 reviews
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,294 reviews2,963 followers
October 8, 2018
3.5 stars

I think this book could best be described as a romantic mystery. Wanting to find out who was the father of Ruth's baby and if there was any treasure to be found were the parts of the story I was most interested in. Others might find the romantic elements of the story to be the strength of the book.

Millie is already struggling to make ends meet and now is forced to find her grandmother a new nursing home to live in. Grandma Joy is suffering from dementia and needs full time care but Millie doesn't know how she will be able to come up with the money. That is until Grandma Joy mentions a diary written by her mother, Ruth, when she was a guest at the estate of an oil tycoon back in the 1920s. The diary supposedly mentions the location of a hidden treasure on the grounds. So Millie takes a second job as a tour employee at the estate where she meets Ben, a security guard. When he catches Millie snooping around in the library looking for the lost diary, they agree to split the treasure if they are ever able to find it. But what are the chances there actually is something to be found?

Is this the most interesting book you will ever read? No, but it is certainly not a horrible way to pass your time. The only real issue I had was it felt the author relied too much on Grandma Joy to provide answers to move the plot along. Given how her dementia issues were described at the beginning of the book, it just didn't feel realistic. I'll admit though it is a sensitive issue with me given my own grandmother having dementia.

I won a free copy of this book in a giveaway by BookishFirst and the publisher. I was under no obligation to post a review and all views expressed are my honest opinion.
Profile Image for Deanne Patterson.
1,829 reviews87 followers
November 2, 2018
A wonderful book set in two time periods, modern times and ninety years in the opulent past. The Georgia coast 90 years ago was a vibrant,bustling area. The historic palatial estate on the shore of St. Simons Island is a playground for the ultra rich to come to and get away from it all. The time period was not without a scandal or two that may still be affecting modern day characters. Millie is a tour guide at the very estate that her great-grandmother stayed at all these years ago. Her grandmother who has dementia has ramblings about the history there and Millie is not sure what her grandmother actually remembers as fact. A book you can easily get lost in as you read about exciting past history,exploring dusty halls and long closed off areas of the estate,an incredibly exciting treasure hunt and looking for a second lost diary with her partner Ben who also works at the estate in security. I loved seeing the banter between the two as their relationship develops. I was cheering on Millie and Ben as what they discovered about the past will directly affect their present and future.
This book was incredible and I suggest it to all lovers of timesplit historical novels. The writing reminds me of Kristy Cambron. I was given a complimentary copy of this book through the Revell Reads Program. Thank you. All opinions are entirely my own.
Profile Image for Heidi Robbins (Heidi Reads...).
1,499 reviews439 followers
March 25, 2020
A combination of an intriguing setting, enjoyable characters with a sweet romance, and a mystery to be solved through letters and journal entries made this story a memorable start to a new series. Millie and Ben both have elements of desperation and vulnerability with the issues they are dealing with, and it was fun seeing their relationship progress as they worked together on a journey of discovery. Millie's devotion to her aging grandmother hit close to home for me, and I thought the themes of forgiveness and faith in God's grace were powerful and inspiring. This felt like a dual timeline book because of the way the diary was written, (which I'm not a big fan of because I often feel torn between the two stories), but I'm still looking forward to the next book in the series.

(I received a complimentary copy of the book; all opinions in this review are my own)
Profile Image for Susan.
542 reviews54 followers
September 19, 2018
This was a fabulous read to sink into at the end of a long day. Liz Johnson crafts an engaging story centered around a missing diary which could reveal old family secrets that lead to possible treasure. Millie and Ben team up to find the missing family heirloom at a historical estate on St. Simon's Island. The 1929 diary written by her great-grandmother may provide Millie with information to the identity of her great-grandfather as well as the location of a possible treasure. Hidden rooms and passages provide a fantastic backdrop to their quest. But will they find something more valuable than treasure?

Johnson seamlessly weaves the timeless theme of grace and mercy providing deeper meaning to this entertaining story. Ms. Johnson is fast becoming one of my go-to authors in the contemporary romance genre.

One of my favorite quotes: " Maybe a person's story wasn't like a book that became useless after the pages were too worn to read. It wasn't about how much that person could remember. It was about how many lives they had touched. It was about making a difference in the little ways."

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Profile Image for Amy.
679 reviews38 followers
September 25, 2018
A mystery, a multitude of love stories & a Chateau. This may be the main setup for this fabulous new story from Liz Johnson, but there is so much more. How tender is the relationship between Millie & her Grandma Joy! Dementia hits too close to home for me, and I can tend to get a little anxious when reading books that go there with this terrible disease. Liz writes so carefully, and sensitively. I could relate easily to Millie’s character. She is in desperate need of funds in order to find care for her Grandma, and fast. Something she says to her, sets her on a trail of hope - in a search for a treasure no one has realized is out there. As her journey begins she quickly becomes entangled with the security guard on the Chateau grounds, and between the two of them the pursuit of not just hidden treasure ensues. Ben is not who she thinks he is, and will their deepening bond be enough once his secret rocks her world upside down?

With many turns along the way this story is fresh and original. I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is different from the past series from Liz Johnson, as this book is set on St Simons Island in Georgia. A large part of the tale being told in the past. If you’re looking for something a little different this will be the read for you!

Thanks to Revell for the complimentary copy. This is my honest review.
Profile Image for Loraine.
2,957 reviews
October 27, 2019
This split time novel is set in the opulent 1920's, on St. Simon's Island Georgia, shortly before the stock market crash. The contemporary setting finds both main characters, Millie Sullivan and Ben Thornton, working multiple jobs to earn money for personal reasons. Millie is a character during the tours of a palatial estate on the island, and Ben is a security officer. A family mystery leads Millie and Ben on a search through the estate and its grounds to find a possible treasure.

This was an interesting story line with many clues that was fun to follow as Millie and Ben tried to find the treasure. Millie and Ben were both delightful characters. Loved that the romance did not dominate the story but took a back seat to the mystery. Finding Millie's great grandmother's diaries not only led to Millie learning more about her family, but also helped Millie and Ben put the clues together that led them to what they both thought they needed to find. The twists at the end made for a lovely ending. Definitely a good series.
Profile Image for Susan Snodgrass.
2,002 reviews199 followers
September 9, 2018
'How could she explain? How could she tell him about the war inside her when it stole her breath?'

Millie Sullivan's great grandmother was a guest at an oil tycoon's estate in 1929 on St. Simon's Island, Georgia. Now Millie is working as a guest at the estate's tourist attraction. Millie's Grandma Joy hints that there is possibly a treasure there to be found in her great grandmother's old journal which is hidden in the chateau. Millie thinks this will be an end to her troubles if she can find the journal and treasure. She is working two jobs and barely making ends meet trying to keep her Grandma Joy in an assisted living facility because of her dementia.

Security guard Ben Thornton catches Millie in an off limits area of the mansion and is about to turn her over to the authorities when Millie makes a deal with him: help her and half the treasure is his. Ben has his own financial woes and takes her up on it. Together they set out on an adventure that will cause pain, bring grace and hopefully, forgiveness.

Liz Johnson has written a wonderfully 'sparkly' tale here, with believable characters, a great plot with some pretty good mystery thrown in, as we, the reader, get a glimpse into the great grandmother's adventures in 1929. And the romance is precious. Engaging and entertaining, well written and hard to put down. Recommended.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher and author. All opinions stated here are entirely my own.
Profile Image for Maddy.
114 reviews96 followers
October 18, 2018
What a delightful read this was! From the treasure hunting to finding lost journals that reveal secrets, I enjoyed every minute of this book.

Millie Sullivan is running out of money and needs to find a place for her grandmother to stay. When her grandmother reveals that her great-grandfather wasn’t who Millie thought it was, she seeks to find out who her grandmothers real father is, hoping she’ll find an inheritance with it. This was such a fun story to read with the hidden treasure and secrets that came with it. Ben and Millie were quickly thrown together determined to find the treasure they both desperately needed.

There is a lot of suspense and action in this book which I really enjoyed. Ben and Millie aren’t the only ones looking for the treasure, and it’s a race against the clock on who will find it first. I just loved the mystery side of things. The author did such a wonderful job and it made the story that much better. The beginning did seem a little rushed, but I really enjoyed the rest.

This is a super fun story about hidden fortunes, treasure hunting, love, and forgiveness. I am looking forward to book #2!

“I received a free copy of this book from Revell in exchange of my honest review. All thoughts are my own”
Profile Image for Mary Jackson _TheMaryReader.
1,108 reviews131 followers
October 8, 2018
Book one in the Georgia Coast Romance series was out of this world.

Johnson is becoming one of my go to authors. She never disappoints.

Millie and her search was so much fun. I ended up liking Ben as the story progressed.

Maybe because I am going through what Millie as dealing with, with her grandma with my own dad this made the story so much more real.

This is a 5 star book that I highly recommend. I can't wait for the next book in this series.

The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own
Profile Image for Monica H (TeaandBooks).
665 reviews47 followers
October 17, 2018
Millie Sullivan's great grandmother was a guest ninety years ago at an opulent mansion on St. Simons Island, Georgia. Millie recently learned from her grandmother, who is starting to get dementia, that there is a journal with secrets guarding a hidden treasure that her great grandmother left inside the walls of the mansion. These years the estate is owned by the historical society and is a tourist destination. As A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson unfolds, Millie gets a job as a 1920s era guest to try to find the journal .

Unfortunately, Millie is discovered as a snoop by security guard Ben Thornton. She doesn't want to be fired so she lets Ben in on the secret and tells him she will split the treasure with him if he helps her keep the secret and search for the journal. Together they end up in one adventure after another as they explore the nooks and crannies of the estate. Ben and Millie might just end up with more than a treasure as the story goes on.

A Sparkle of Silver is my first book by Liz Johnson. I enjoyed this tale with both mystery and romance. I truly liked the main characters and wanted the best things for all of them. I enjoyed the ending and a couple of surprises that the author threw in along the way. It was a sweet story and a great start to Johnson's Georgia Coast Romance series. Besides continuing to read the series, I will be looking for other books by this author in the future.

I received A Sparkle of Silver from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.
Profile Image for Melanie.
1,977 reviews552 followers
October 27, 2018
A Sparkle of Silver was a great read. I enjoyed the letters in the story and how it blended contemporary and historical fiction beautifully.

The book had some mystery and a very nice romance story. I liked the characters immediately and was hoping for a happy ending, even when it looked like things might go a different way.

All in all, A Sparkle of Silver was really good and I recommend it to fans of this genre. It is a slower read, but I was never bored and thoroughly enjoyed it. Can't wait for the next one!

*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention/review it on my blog. I was not required to give a positive review, only my honest opinion - which I've done. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own and I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.*
Profile Image for Lindsay Harrel.
Author 24 books520 followers
October 23, 2018
This book has one of the BEST kisses I've ever read. Whew. I melted in a puddle of goo. ;) But it also has strong spiritual truths, an adorable heroine, and a professorial hero--who could ask for more? Johnson never fails to disappoint, and that's definitely true of A Sparkle of Silver.
Profile Image for Maureen Timerman.
2,818 reviews469 followers
October 4, 2018
I enjoyed this book and the author giving us a glimpse into the mind of a person affected with Alzheimer’s and the main character loving and trying to take care of her grandmother. She also is given a deadline to come up with money she doesn’t have to move her grandmother.
I loved that the other main character is carrying guilt for something his mother did while he was a child, and then we see how these overlaps.
Now while both are working at a wealthy 1920’s estate, only at the present time, we see how the present and past collide, but will these two, with a mission, first fall for each other, and achieve what others have failed at in the past, find the treasure.
I found myself walking in their shoes and loving the setting, and enjoying the read!

I received this book through Revell Publishing and was not required to give a positive review.
Profile Image for Darla.
3,355 reviews530 followers
October 16, 2018
Mercy, forgiveness and love sparkle in the midst of the trials our main characters are enduring in this novel with a connection to the past. Millie and Ben become partners in a treasure hunt when they are still strangers. As they hunt for treasure on the grounds of the chateau, have they also found priceless treasure in each other? Or will the secrets of the past tear them apart? The story is told in the present day with journal entries and a letter filling in gaps in the story from the year 1929 when the chateau was in its heyday. An enjoyable read. Looking forward to reading more in the series.
Profile Image for Erin Laramore.
612 reviews45 followers
July 29, 2021
4.5 stars for this contemporary romance. This was my first book by Liz Johnson, but won't be my last. This novel included many enjoyable elements - a good mystery, a sweet love story (or two!), a treasure hunt and a happy ending. I enjoyed the mystery of Millie's past and her conundrum of how to find a good place tor the grandmother who raised her. I enjoyed the partnership and banter between Millie and Ben and eventually the sparks. And the stories from the journals they found in their quest for the treasure were also lovely and fraught with mystery and romance. All in all, an enjoyable read. I would definitely recommend!
Profile Image for MJSH.
1,033 reviews42 followers
July 20, 2020
"You know that every single one of us is more than the worst thing we've done. All of us. We bear the image of our Maker."

And that quote sums up the message of this fabulous book. If you're a fan of the author's Prince Edward Island Dreams series and her Love Inspired Suspense books, you're definitely in for a treat. This book is contemporary romance with a throwback to the 1920s via a journal and a good dose of intrigue and mystery. Such a wonderful combination for this lover of contemporary, historical, and suspense romance!

The setting of St. Simons Island, Georgia is gorgeous. The author's masterful writing gives color, sound, and smell to the beautiful landscape and brings forth an intricately woven plot with real, down-to-earth characters. Millie is poor and just wants enough money to be able to bring her beloved dementia-laden grandmother to a place where she can be safely taken care of. Ben is an adjunct history professor struggling to right the wrongs his mother went to prison for. Their worlds collide when they become involved in a treasure hunt instigated by Millie's grandmother's memory of her own mother's stay at the infamous Chateau. Both Millie and Ben are wary, cautious, under-the-radar kind of people who don't trust people easily. Yet their shared sense of loyalty, hard work, and compassion brings them together and welds them together as partners. As they become more entrenched in their treasure hunt, they also learn things about each other that they must wrestle with. Forgiveness for their past and realizing that their past does not define them must be learned the hard way.

The book addresses the heartache involved in loving and caring for someone with dementia. It also delves deep to ask what is truly important and necessary in life - is it money? Fame? Recognition? Easy life? The flashbacks to the 1920s, right before the stock market crash, provided through Millie's great-grandmother Ruth's journals show much of what our human hearts crave but also how foolish and deceptive our hearts can be. Millie and Ben’s present day chase through the Chateau itself and its grounds provides intrigue and suspense that keep the pages turning. Great-grandma Ruth's journals also add to the mystery surrounding the possible treasure and what may have happened to it.

What a wonderful beginning of an exciting new series from Liz Johnson! I can't wait to read the second book!

I was given a copy of the book from the author and Baker Publishing Group. I was under no obligation to post a positive review. All comments and opinions are solely my own.
Profile Image for Laura.
Author 40 books630 followers
October 4, 2018
A SPARKLE OF SILVER is seriously a romance that lives up to it's (high) expectations. I went into this with hopes that might've been a little dashed when someone told me their opinion of the book. Multiple time periods--I'm not even sure what that's called. But it turned that reader off. Okay, yes, there are sort of multiple time periods. The journal entries are in Millie's great grandmother's point of view, but they are journal entries. Not really point of view characters.

I fell in love with Millie. And Ben. And Grandma Joy. And George. And even Ruth though I wanted to shake her a time or two. And I despised the uncaring nursing home administrator, but she is so true to form.

Seriously, A SPARKLE OF SILVER has: a murder mystery, a journal, a chateau, the 1920s, two romances, buried treasure, and it's set on St. Simon's Island! Oh, and the faith messages. Wow. Just wow.

Ms. Johnson has outdone herself once again. I absolutely *loved* this book and am eagerly waiting the next one in the series.

Don't miss A SPARKLE OF SILVER. This is a can't put down type of book.

I was given a copy free. All opinions are my own.

2,909 reviews1,727 followers
March 6, 2019
Eeeeepppp!!!! Contemporary romance with a historical mystery! Not quite a dual timeline since the past is revealed through the passages in Millie's great-grandmother's journal, but I was as invested in discovering Ruth's secrets as I was in Millie and Ben working their way to a happily ever after. These two are facing some impossible personal challenges which makes the idea of romance all the more fleeting. And there came a point where my tummy did a nose-dive while my heart lurched and I thought..."nooooooo!" Love it when a book rattles my reader sensibilities.

Some great inspirational insights help bring closure to real life struggles and inspired me as much as the characters involved. And really, who can resist a treasure hunt? That plot point alone rallied my younger self's true Trixie Belden super sleuth persona. I had so much fun trying to fit the pieces of the past into solid clues that would solve the mystery before Millie and Ben did. Captivating from start to finish.
Profile Image for Victoria Bylin.
Author 37 books465 followers
March 24, 2018
What a joy to read this story for endorsement. I loved it! Will post a full review soon.
Profile Image for Courtney Clark.
572 reviews97 followers
October 16, 2018
A Sparkle of Silver is a delightful and glittering tale of HOPE, worth, and romance! I was intrigued by the historical story threads and enchanted with the present-day story of Millie and Ben. While the mystery unfolded, the identities and hearts of the two were revealed. The attraction and romance between them was delightful (and properly swoony, at times)! A charming setting was an added bonus to this story that felt very realistic.

LizJohnson has the ability to write the most relatable characters. Both Ben and Millie are endearing and just “normal”. I really enjoyed the way the pace of the story slowly reveals their dimension and backgrounds, making their newfound friendship more meaningful AND complicated due to a hint of mystery. AND OH, the ROMANCE! “Spark” is in the title for multiple reasons, my favorite being the attraction and natural “fit” between these two. A very swoony first kiss scene just added to the sweetness of their dynamic!

This historical parts of the story caught me by surprise. I knew Millie was trying to learn about her family and history in this story, but I didn’t realize it would be told in the form of journal entries and personal notes! I LOVE that kind of “epistolary” element! It wonderfully compliments the present-day happenings AND adds an intriguing “Roaring 20s” element that shines with the heart of Millie’s great-grandma, a young woman as out-of-her-depth as Millie.

Fair warning, Millie is BOOKISH. 😉 She is a romantic at heart whose imagination sometimes runs away with her when it comes to Ben Thornton (side note: with a last name like Thornton, how could you not picture a brooding hero who owns a cotton mill. ahem, that was a reference to North and South by Gaskell). Anyway, her fictional habits and story-like thought patterns were an added delight that made me love her (and relate!) even more.

The best part of this story is how it balances all its charms, romance, mystery, and interesting setting with a very strong message of hope and WORTH. I especially related to some of the scenes with Millie’s grandmother (of whom she is a caretaker), in the way her life had made an impact on Millie and was a present encouragement to her. ❤

Thank you to the publisher, Revell, for the review copy. This is my honest review.
Profile Image for Jill.
411 reviews
September 24, 2018
"A Sparkle of Silver", Liz Johnson's first book in her Georgia Coast Romance series, is one of the best romance novels of 2018.  Johnson provides mystery and intrigue with a dash of romance to make the read entertaining and enjoyable.  Ben and Millie, as you will see, make the perfect team.

Millie Sullivan's grandmother has a secret tucked away in a mind filled with the cobwebs of dementia.  Millie is doing her best to take care of the expenses of the nursing home where her grandmother resides, but the threat of eviction draws closer with no solution in sight. Until...

Her grandmother mentions one day that there is a treasure hidden at The Chateau, once the wealthiest estate in Georgia and now a popular tourist attraction.  She claims there is a map in her mother's (Millie's great-grandmother) diary that was left at The Chateau.  Millie believes if she finds the treasure it will solve all of her problems.

She quickly gets a job as a hostess at The Chateau where she meets Ben, one of the attraction's security team, as she is searching for the diary and offers him one-half of the treasure if he will keep her out of trouble. Together, they must find the treasure before the other treasure hunters do.

Between the danger of getting caught and running out time to keep her grandmother from being evicted from the nursing home, Millie and Ben work tirelessly to decipher the clues in the diary.  

The one thing that haunted me throughout the book is how Millie could possibly assume that if she found the treasure it would belong to her, but Johnson satisfies the issue plausibly by the end of the story.  So don't get hung up on this one little triviality.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free as part of Liz Johnson's "A Sparkle of Silver" Launch Team.  The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Profile Image for Sarah.
958 reviews30 followers
September 30, 2018
"A Sparkle of Silver", Liz Johnson's first book in her Georgia Coast Romance series, is one of the best fiction, romance novels I've read this year. Mystery, romance and even family, make this book a very note-able and entertaining read.
Millie Sullivan is trying to take care of her grandmother who is close to be evicted at the nursing home because Millie is unable to afford the costs. However, with the mention that a hidden treasure is at The Chateau, a wealthy estate in Georgia, Millie thinks if she is able to find the treasure, it may solve her problems.

Millie gets a job at the Chateau where she meets Ben and together the two begin to look for the hidden treasure supposedly found in a diary. The two work around the clock to figure out the clues, but will the treasure be found? Will Millie be able to save her grandmother? Grab your copy today! You will love this book. It is a delightful read and will surely have you turning the pages as you solve the mystery, while getting wrapped in the romance.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free as part of Liz Johnson's "A Sparkle of Silver" Launch Team. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Profile Image for Rachelle Cobb.
Author 8 books287 followers
September 25, 2021
Struggled sometimes to make sense of what was happening but really enjoyed the intricacies of the mystery!
Profile Image for Rebecca.
1,852 reviews97 followers
September 27, 2018
3.5 stars

"She just wanted to be able to say that all was well with her soul."

Except, at the moment, nothing seemed to be going well. Having just been advised that her beloved grandmother needed a higher level of skilled care than the Golden Isles Center could provide; Millie Sullivan has a mere ninety days to relocate her; requiring her to work a virtual miracle. The only ray of hope arrives when Grandma Joy unloads a bombshell of family history. Millie's great grandmother's journal spoke of a treasure hidden on the grounds of the posh Chateau Dawkins on St. Simon's Island where she had been a summer guest; also intimating that her daughter Joy may have been the result of a summer tryst. Treasure, plus long-lost rich relatives? It could be the answer to all of Millie's problems. First things first, she must find that journal!

Chateau security officer Ben Thornton cannot believe his eyes. A lovely young woman, who is obviously on the Chateau staff, is rummaging through the library, a restricted area to guests as well as employees. He is obliged to turn her in . . . . except that she distracts him long enough to relay the most bizarre story about locating an old journal and looking for hidden treasure. Against his better judgement, Ben becomes the newest (and only) member of Millie's treasure hunting team.

Light and likable, "A Sparkle of Silver" tests just how strong love can be!

I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. The opinions stated above are entirely my own.
Profile Image for Jessica Baker (A Baker's Perspective).
1,137 reviews58 followers
November 19, 2018
A Sparkle of Silver was all I wanted and more. The storyline was engaging, the characters were magnificent, and I was sitting on the edge of my seat waiting to find this hidden treasure with Millie! I loved the dynamic between Millie and Ben. I have to be honest, I wasn't so sure about Ben in the beginning. But he kind of grew on me as the pages went on, and his character become involved with Millie instead of just on a treasure hunt.

I think the character that impacted me the most was Millie's grandmother. I have a grandmother in a similar mental situation right now, and it is absolutely disheartening to me. But Millie's grandmother made me smile, laugh, and cry. She really was the heart of the story to me, and I enjoyed the way she sort of pushed Millie towards Ben.

Liz Johnson has written a beautiful time split story. The journal entries were intriguing and made me want even more. I'm thinking perhaps there could be a story about those characters in themselves! All in all, this book is a win. I can't wait to read more from Liz!
Profile Image for Jane.
737 reviews43 followers
February 21, 2019
Thanks to Bookishfirst.com and Revell publishers for this book.

A sweet love story between the two main characters Millie and Ben who were both working at a Chateau giving tours in GA. Come to find out that they were both there for family reasons. Millie, because of her great grandmother's stay there in the 1920's and her love story with 2 men and Ben's story because he needed to make money to repay his mother's victims in a money scam years ago. Millie was trying to make money also to find a better place for her grandmother Joy who had dementia but did remember a lot of her mother's Summer at the Chateau. A few treasures, in journals, were found relating to her grandmother's love affair and life and in the end a treasure chest also.
Profile Image for Fiction Aficionado.
658 reviews83 followers
October 15, 2018
Calling all treasure hunters—especially those who enjoy a sweet and slightly whimsical romance thrown into the mix! This story was a good mix of light-hearted and heartfelt as Ben and Millie sought to find a treasure that would not only relieve them of some heavy financial burdens, but also unravel the mystery of who Millie’s great-grandfather was.

Millie, in particular, was a likeable heroine, with her penchant for reading romance novels and carrying on conversations with herself. Her grandmother has dementia and Millie needs to find a home that can care for her properly, but that’s going to take a bucket load of money that she just doesn’t have. When, in one of her lucid moments, Millie’s grandmother tells her of a lost diary that holds the key to finding hidden treasure, Millie decides it’s her best—and possibly only—chance of finding the money she needs to make sure her grandmother is properly cared for. She’ll do anything she can to find that treasure—even promise half of it to the security guard who finds her snooping in the estate library…

Ben was a charming and very hardworking hero, holding down three jobs so that he could begin to make restitution for his mother’s crimes. Despite their initial wariness of each other, Ben and Millie made a fun team, and I found myself getting caught up in the hunt, the building romantic tension, and even in finding out what exactly DID happen during that summer Millie’s great-grandmother stayed at the estate. And the tension only increased as I began to realise there were more connections in this story than I originally thought.

But beneath all the fun and mystery, there were some serious lessons for Millie and Ben to learn as well—about forgiveness and grace, and who or what we look to as our provider. There were a few times when the plot felt a little weak—things that seemed a little too convenient or ‘arranged’—but on the whole, this was a fun way to spend a few hours.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
Profile Image for Laurie.
253 reviews28 followers
November 5, 2018
4.5 stars.
Camilla “Millie” Sullivan is heartbroken. She’s being forced to move her beloved grandma Joy from the assisted living facility where she’s being cared for because her memory loss has worsened, necessitating more specialized care. Millie is strapped financially and can hardly afford to take care of herself. She’s out of options and feeling hopeless and dejected until her grandma mutters details about a long-held family secret that might help Millie to get the funds she needs. It involves her great grandmother, Ruth, an opulent Chateau and a diary containing a treasure map that’s hidden somewhere within the Chateau’s walls. Fortunate to get part-time employment at the Chateau, Millie sets about snooping to locate Ruth’s diary. Her efforts are thwarted when security guard, Ben Thornton, catches her and threatens to expose her. Desperate to escape dismissal, Millie recruits Ben to help her, promising to split whatever treasure she finds with him. Ben, carrying his own load and in need of money as much as Millie, agrees to help her. Together, Ben and Millie become a formidable team, uncovering more than a few secrets, and in the process, learning that love is more valuable than money.

In this book we find treasure hunts, thefts, homicide, scandal, romance, and lots of mystery. I enjoyed the dual narrative aspect, taking us from the present and back to 1929, just before the Great Depression when Millie’s great-grandmother, Ruth, and her friend, Jane, both bank tellers, were invited to be summer guests at the Dawkins Chateau on St. Simons Island, GA, by Mr. Dawkins’s “particular friend,” 🙄 Lucille Globe. (Mr. Dawkins’s wife and child were back in Chicago at their permanent residence.) The elusive diary describes Ruth’s activities in and around the Chateau during her visit. The juxtaposition of high-society socialites and the working class guests mingling at the Chateau was fun to observe—the common folks enamored with the lives of the elite. Ruth was a poor farm girl from Central Georgia. Nineteen at the time, she resembled a fickle young girl who was confused about where she should direct her affection. I anxiously awaited which way Ruth’s heart would steer her. Would it be towards the lowly, solicitous gardener, George? Or the handsome, debonair, wealthy Claude?

This book is categorized as Christian fiction, but it was not littered with bible verses or laced with the author’s own interpretations of scripture, which I appreciated. It was not didactic at all, but simply lacked foul language, gratuitous violence and immoral activity.

I loved this story that required me to suspend disbelief; to accept the far-fetched plot and coincidences. I liked the balance of unscrupulous characters and benevolent ones throughout the story, and how the romances within were convincingly developed. Recommended.
Profile Image for Paula Shreckhise.
1,110 reviews84 followers
February 21, 2020
I love stories about treasure hunts. This was terrific. Ms. Johnson pens a complex story of Mille and Ben searching for a treasure that is somehow connected to Millie’s great grandmother Ruth. Ruth Holiday spent the summer of 1929 at the Chateau of rich Howard Dawkins on St. Simons Island, Georgia just before the stock market crash.
This book has lots of historical details about the mansion and life of the rich in 1929. The backstory is told through letters from Ruth and diary entries and leads Millie and Ben to search for a hidden treasure. They each have an urgent need for the treasure, Can they trust each other?
I love that Millie is a historical fiction reader and gets wrapped up in those stories. Her inner voice that she argues with is quite funny. She is a hardworking girl who is trying to provide for the grandmother who raised her. Ben is a hard worker as well, He has three jobs while he works on his PHD. In teaming up, are they getting more than they bargained for? What treasure will they eventually find? Some advice from Grandma Joy: “Money is a tool. God is the one who provides. Let Him take care of you.” and “The struggles and scraping. The figuring out how to find joy in the midst of pain. That is the good stuff.”
Another thoroughly enjoyable treasure hunt story from Liz Johnson.
I borrowed this ebook from Prime Reading. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Melissa (Catch Up Mode).
4,573 reviews1,880 followers
October 15, 2018
3.5 stars

This first book in Johnson's Georgia Coast Romance series has a touch of everything: romance, mystery, history, and a beautiful spiritual message about forgiveness.
Both Millie and Ben have strong reasons for finding the treasure, and as they search, they grow closer to each other. The development of their romance feels natural and believable, and their attempts to resist each other makes the relationship more appealing to the reader.
I loved the use of the old diaries to tell the story of the past, but it made it a bit more difficult to connect with the historical characters (as you would with a dual timeline story with two narratives), but I loved the use of the diary and letters to unravel the mystery. I was very invested in the mystery and its ultimate resolution was fantastic.
Millie's attitude and reactions are occasionally very immature and made her character less easy to relate to than Ben. Her overall growth is shown and her ability to forgive is meaningful in the end.
I look forward to other books in this series, the setting is magnificent and adds depth and character to the story.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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