Author submission in exchange for an honest review.
February 11, 2011
Black Opal Books
She’d saved his life…
Rafe Hawk refuses to accept the inheritance, of a large English estate, and the title that goes with it, after his birth father’s death because the man chose duty over the woman he loved and their son.
So when he finds himself temporarily living at Kinsale Hall, he’s not prepared to trust anyone associated with the place, including Trudi Delaney and her daughter.
So why, when he looks into their eyes, does he suddenly remember a woman who vanished without a trace after saving his life one stormy night ten years earlier?
Now he could destroy hers.
Instinct warns Trudi Delaney the arrival of the contemptuous American architect at Kinsale Hall will change her life forever. Especially when she discovers he spends so much of his time in areas of Kinsale Hall off-limits to visitors.
Eleven years after escaping from her psychotic husband with a stranger, she’s still plagued by nightmares of events she can’t remember. Events such as, who fathered her beautiful daughter?
Now, more than a decade later, she is confronted by another stranger. Will this one destroy everything she holds dear?
I recently reviewed a book by Sherry Gloag for this site. It was her debut novel, and I wasn’t too fond of it, but I remember thinking that with time, her writing was only going to get better. That is why I am exceptionally glad that I didn’t shy away from reviewing another of her books. From the first page, I could tell that “Duty Calls” was going to be better than the previous Gloag novel I had read.
Rafe goes unwillingly to his birth father’s estate to help an old school friend with an architectural project. The reason Rafe is furious about having to return to England becomes clear very quickly. In addition to his immense hatred of his birth father, Rafe had also had quite an unpleasant encounter on the estate with his half brother. It turns out that Rafe had beaten his brother, Danny, in a poker game, and Danny wasn’t anywhere close to happy about it. Maybe it was because Danny had wagered his wife in the game, leading the reader to wonder whether or not Rafe and Danny’s wife had a hot night together, or whether Rafe will turn out to be a decent guy who didn’t accept the wager.
Rafe and his friend Arthur fly to England to inspect the estate. It turns out that the woman who now owns the property is Arthur’s sister, Trudi. Trudi is a little bit uptight, but ultimately a very caring woman – she’s responsible for caring for her daughter, her best friend, and her best friend’s daughter. Trudi’s secrets are revealed pretty early on. It turns out that Trudi is the very same woman who Rafe won in the poker game. She also is, conveniently, missing part of her memory: the part that involves who the stranger she was sold to was. As a reader, we’re able to gather that Rafe is the father of Trudi’s child. Trudi has no idea who he is, though he does seem familiar to her. Rafe has no idea who Trudi is, which really bothered me, because they clearly slept together, and as there’s nothing wrong with Rafe’s memory, should he at least think that she seems vaguely familiar?
About halfway through, the intense animosity between Trudi and Rafe becomes almost unbearable. And then Rafe kisses her. The kiss is a game changer, as Rafe finally puts two and two together and realizes that Trudi was, in fact, the woman from 11 years before.
At this point, Trudi still isn’t quite sure what it is about Rafe that seems familiar, and it drives her crazy. She doesn’t like him, and wants him gone from her house, but at the same time she wants him to stay. And just as she realizes it, Rafe takes off, without a word, for Boston.
Rafe’s flight to Boston sets off a huge chain reaction that was masterfully connected to all of the stories previous events. I actually read the last half of this book much faster than the first half, because I was so anxious to find out what was going to happen. Even during the action, I was never able to forget that this was a romance novel – Rafe and Trudi’s tension and headbutting was so real, that sometimes I actually wondered if they would make it in the end.
I am so thrilled that didn’t shy away from giving this book a read. Even though this was only her third book, Sherry Gloag has come a long way from her first novel. The improvement in clarity, character development, and plot development was outstanding. And I truly did love these characters. Even the secondary ones were vibrant and relatable. This was a story about the importance of family and love, and it was beautifully done. I really enjoyed reading this one, and certainly wouldn’t hesitate to read another of Ms. Gloag’s novels.