Marc Leroux's Reviews > Dark Crossings: The Covered Bridge \ Fallen in Plain Sight \ Outside the Circle

Dark Crossings by Karen Harper
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's review
Jul 14, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: _softcover, fiction, goodreads, _donated-2013

Disclosure: In order to avoid having a tax audit. I want to make sure I am in compliance with the FTC guidelines, so I need to mention that I received this for free through Goodreads First Reads. Oh, yeah, it isn’t the FTC that does tax audits. In any event, I did get this directly from one of the authors (Thanks Marta!).
Second disclosure: I don’t read romance books. Ever. Well, except maybe in this case.
I’m going to be honest, I entered the drawing for this book because it had “Amish” in the description, and I’ve enjoyed Amish mysteries before. When I got the book, my wife picked it up and asked “When did you start reading Harlequin’s?” But there it was, and since it was sent to me I felt compelled to review it, which meant I had to read it first. So I did, and I enjoyed it.
This is three novelettes by three different authors. There is a very loose coupling between the stories in that all the protagonists know each other, although they live in different communities. They share their experiences with each other through a “circle letter” that goes between the women. The lead characters are all women in their mid-twenties, unmarried (old maids by Amish standards, it seems) and not in any “courting” relationship. All end up in some sort of dangerous situation, persevere, and fall in love. By the end of the third story, all are engaged to be married.

The Covered Bridge by Karen Harper
I found the plot a bit of a stretch. I’m still struggling with why they were trying to frighten Abigail into leaving her home. Abigail used to have a crush on Ben, but Ben had been shunned by the community for getting into a fight with someone who tried to rape his sister, and then refused to admit that it was wrong. When Ben returns, he moves into a house close to Abigail’s and they start to interact with each other, even though they aren’t supposed to. Ben is also under investigation for a jewelry robbery that is the central theme in the story. Ben and Abigail help each other to overcome obstacles and find themselves falling in love.
Fallen in Plain Sight by Marta Perry
This was the strongest story. Sarah and Jacob have been friends since childhood. Jacob is in love with Sarah, but Sarah sees Jacob as a brother, not a lover. Sarah is helping to clean up the house of her (deceased) former employee, when things start to disappear, or be moved. Since Sarah is the only one that is supposed to be in the house, she knows something is wrong. And then people start to try to frighten Sarah so she will stop coming to the house. Parts of this I struggled with; the con artist that leaves town and steals nothing? Or the buggy that gets destroyed when sideswiped by a car but the horse is unharmed? Don’t get me wrong, I would hate to see the horse get hurt, but it doesn’t see likely.
None-the-less, this was a good read.
Outside the Circle by Patricia Davids
My second favorite story, although I also struggled with the plot a bit. I didn’t realize that there was such a market for deer heads. Lena is a school teacher, who loves her job and is good at it. That doesn’t stop her from running afoul of the school board, who thinks she should be stricter with the students, and is looking for a reason to replace her. Lena is an artist, something also not in line with Amish traditions. When Isaac, a widower, and his daughter Ruby move into the community, Lena isn’t sure if she should trust Isaac or not. Lena and Ruby immediately bond, though, so she and Isaac continually run into each other. At the end, Lena saves Isaac’s brother and the school children.

Overall, not a bad read. Each story is around 90-100 pages, so it goes pretty quick.

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