Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Mindy Starns Clark's Whispers of the Bayou ~ Reviewed

Whispers of the Bayou
Mindy Starns Clark
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (January 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736918795

Cover Copy:

From the author of the popular Million Dollar Mysteries and Smart Chick Mysteries comes a new stand-alone novel full of hidden staircases, buried secrets, and the promise of hope found in knowing God.

Miranda Miller wasn't looking for the news the day the letter came. But, trying to survive in troubled circumstances, she welcomes the chance to change her location for a period of time. The letter informs her that her grandparents' estate is finally about to become hers. She immediately heads down to Louisiana and the old house by the bayou. There Miranda finds secrets that lead to life-changing revelations.

This suspenseful story reminiscent of old Gothic tales has a complex mystery and a vivid sense of the Deep South. It shows how God can take the darkest circumstances and use them to light a bright path leading to the future.

My Review:

Miranda Miller has issues. The foremost is a dead mother and a distant father which together become a dismal shadow over her marriage and her relationship with her daughter. The mother/father issue shows itself as the tip of the iceberg of her life, most of which catches her by surprise, and some puts her in danger.

Told in first person point of view, Whispers fascinated me with obscure historical nuggets. Miranda's voice was easy to connect with, and the story contained layer upon layer of interconnectedness and some surprises. Borderline literary and sleepy southern story-telling added to the suspense. I think Whispers could be the start of another successful series for Clark.

Big Honken Chickens could probably read it though there are some tense scenes and death. So use caution, chickens. The themes make it a PG-13 read. Mystery and suspense fans should find plenty within. Those who can only read roller coaster thrillers might find some of the pace too slow and cumbersome. Those who love literary novels may find moments of sketchiness and/or speedy turns that frustrate.

The spiritual components were realistic. I'd have liked to see the relationship with Miranda and her husband a little more fleshed out and the end maybe a touch less tidy.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer

Bonus Review:

Whispers of the Bayou
has more twists and turns than a rollercoaster. Filled with murder, buried secrets, hidden rooms, and obscure messages, it's one of the best mysteries I've read. From Manhattan to a mist-shrouded bayou with Spanish moss hanging from the trees, the setting couldn't be more diametrical. I love a book when the setting becomes a character in itself.

Miranda's catapulted into her journey by an attack. When she tells her aunt, who raised her, about it, she reveals some of Miranda's past and shaves a portion of her hair off, uncovering a strange tattoo on her scalp. What kind of parent would tattoo her child's scalp?

That's what Miranda wants to know. Her aunt reluctantly reveals Willy's request for her to come to Louisiana. Determined to know more about her past, Miranda goes, but when she gets there, Willy confuses her more with tales of her being the keeper of the secret. Then he dies before she knows what it's all about. Left to uncover the mystery without even knowing what it's about is daunting enough, but what she discovers about her own past is chilling.

And there I'll leave it. No spoilers here but forget what I said about more twists than a rollercoaster. This has more twists than rigatoni. Suffice it to say, I thoroughly enjoyed Whispers of the Bayou. Noel Reviews and I give it a high recommendation.

Reviewed by Ane Mulligan

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