Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Gist and Bertrand's Beguiled ~ Reviewed

Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand
Paperback: 336 pages
Bethany House; Original edition (February 1, 2010
Language: English

Book Description:

In the shadows of Charleston, someone is watching her... Rylee Monroe, a dogwalker in Charleston's wealthiest neighborhood, never feared the streets at night. But now a thief is terrorizing the area and worse, someone seems to be targeting her.

Reporter Logan Woods is covering the break-ins with the hope of publishing them as a true-crime book. The more he digs, the more he realizes this beguiling dogwalker seems to be at the center of everything. As danger draws ever closer, Logan must choose: Chase the girl, the story, or plunge into the shadows after the villain who threatens everything?

If you'd like to read the first chapter of , go HERE


Deeanne Gist adds a whole new element to her writing style in her new book Beguiled. Normally she writes historical stories about strong, smart women fighting the environment, social situations or about brave women beating the odds of their era. Deeanne loves history and has included many interesting facts that have helped me learn more about the California gold rush in one book, a woman’s mathematical society in another and what all is involved in being a lumberjack, just to name a few topics discussed in her book. Beguiled is a different from her other books because it takes place in current time. Her main character in this book is a person who walks dogs in rich neighborhoods of Charleston for a living.

J. Mark Bertrand wrote this book with Deeanne. This is their first joint collaboration. Bertrand is releasing his debut novel later this year - a murder mystery. It was fascinating to read in the author notes, how these authors decided to write a book together. J. Mark Bertrand’s book looks very compelling and suspenseful. It’s something I’m looking forward to reading later on this year.

Rylee is a professional dog watcher who loves animals. She thinks of them as her family since she is an orphan. Logan is a reporter who’s in the middle of writing his first novel. Logan decides to write about the criminals he’s reported on through the years, but the one that has his attention right now is the Robin Hood Burglar. This person steals from the rich and donates the item to a charity. Logan has pieced together (and so have the police) that Rylee’s clients seem to be getting broken into. She has keys to the house and plenty of time to do as she pleases. She becomes the number one suspect.

Rylee’s very upset by this for two reasons. First of all, because her clients are being hurt and secondly, she can’t believe that anyone would think that she had anything to do with these senseless crimes.

I was quickly swept into this story. Curious as to who did these crimes, I couldn’t stop reading because I couldn’t figure out who the burglar was until the end. I like the suspense, drama and humor in this book. I really enjoyed this and was thankful for the review copy.

Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent
ACFW Book Club Coordinator

Bonus Review:

Two authors with very different voices and genres have combined their skills and created a nearly seamless read that kept reminding me of the movie version of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Characters crafted in the style of classic detective stories fill in the background and intensify the plot as we enter the life of Rylee. Rylee, a beautiful onetime would-be grand lady of Charleston now lives in a rat-trap of an apartment and walks dogs to pay for a luxurious nursing home for her only living relative, her grandmother.

Rylee's parents left her with few resources and in need of help from her father's former law partner. An "older brother," the partner's playboy son, begins to turn his attention toward the all grown-up Rylee in a whole new way, think the movie Sabrina. Meanwhile items, strange items, begin to disappear from Rylee's clients. The Robin Hood thief takes one less valuable treasure, ignoring many worth thousands more, then he donates it to a charity. Soon, circumstantial evidence makes Rylee a suspect.

Reporter Logan Woods is writing about the notorious Robin Hood thief. But Robin Hood is only one of the colorful criminals throughout Charleston's history. His research leads him to the possibility of a contract for a book. But, his involvement in investigating the crimes leads his heart toward Rylee.

Full of fleshed-out characters and plenty of romance and suspense, this novel is a terrific marriage of the talents of Bertrand and Gist. A very enjoyable and touching read with loads of color, fascinating detail and dimension.

Reviewed by: Kelly Klepfer


Truly I do love Deeanne Gist's historical romances. This however is not historical, yet I still love it. The collaborative novel from Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand is fabulous. Edge of your seat suspense with the incapability of turning the pages fast enough. As well as heart palpitating terror in some pages that is reminiscent of a Mary Higgins Clark novel. Yet filled through out that pages in all of the plot is a thrilling romance that brings smiles and tears almost to my eyes with it's beauty. This is a novel that has just about all of it. I could not be more excited by this relationship of writing between two such authors (even though this is my first experience with Mark) and I look forward to more.

Reviewed by: Margaret Chind

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