This week’s Cozy Read is by an author I haven’t read before — Jude Deveraux. She has about 50 books to her credit and more than 6M copies of her work published world wide. I picked it for my cozy read from the blurb on the back cover. When I later looked at the front cover, I had 2nd thoughts — I don’t normally choose books that have bare-chested guys on the cover — but I’m glad I read it. It’s called Heartwishes, #5 in the Edilean series.
From the back of the book:
Graduate student Gemma Ranford wants the job cataloging the documents of one of Edilean’s oldest families so much that she is ready to do battle to get it. Desperate to finish her dissertation, she’s sure that investigating the Frazier family history will yield new information to invigorate her research. But she is surprised to find among the papers references to the legend of the Heartwishes stone, a magical talisman said to grant wishes to anyone named Frazier. And as she spends more time with the family in their small Virginia town, she realizes that the most secret wishes of each of the Fraziers are coming true _ and that she’s falling hopelessly in love with Colin, the Fraziers’ eldest son.
But now the the Stone’s powers have been awakened, so have the designs of an international thief. Gemma and Colin must find the Stone before it can be used against the family but not before each of their deepest desires is fulfilled. . . .
I found myself drawn to Gemma right from the start. She sees herself as the underdog in the competition for the post which seemed so right up her alley. The guest house on the Frasier estate is scrumptiously decorated and the library all set up with shelved boxes of documents from the 17th century onwards which Gemma can hardly wait to get into. It’s at least a two year post as there are hundreds of boxes and Gemma, whose most secret wish is to find a place to belong, soon finds herself not only with the position but meeting and being accepted by not only the family in the big house but their relatives in the area and the residents of the small town of Edilean. Colin is especially attracted to her from the beginning. He can’t stand the other two applicants and begins showing Gemma around the town and introducing her to people.
Colin is the small town’s sheriff — one of his life-long secret wishes come true. Everyone in town loves him, especially the kids, and because it’s a small town everyone knows everything about everyone so he’s never dated anyone local. His mother’s wish, not so secret, is to have grandkids and to have Colin marry. The youngest brother, Shamus, is a very talented artist who immediately is attracted to Gemma and begins spending his afternoons sketching her. The whole family is interesting and so is its history.
This is a book about secrets and wishes. I loved the way the characters built and interacted and layers of secrets were laid bare from the distant past and from the not-so-distant past. Jean, Colin’s ex-girlfriend, held many secrets. I also enjoyed the old houses and the secrets they held. The story is definitely “cozy” and a romance but the mystery that unravels as the story progresses was also good. I’ll certainly be looking for more in this series in particular and possibly others by Jude Deveraux. An adult book. * * * 1/2
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