Family Reunion

Carol Smith, Author
Carol Smith, Author Mysterious Press $23.95 (304p) ISBN 978-0-89296-732-2
Hardcover - 290 pages - 978-0-446-52549-7
Hardcover - 978-1-58547-076-1
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Set in present-day London and Provence, this suspense novel by the popular author of The Neighbors is part juicy family melodrama, part stirring suspense story. On the eve of her 80th birthday, reclusive Annesley family matriarch Odile writes to each member of the Annesley clan from her sprawling farmhouse in Provence, communicating details of her will. In response, Odile's five granddaughters plan to travel in convoy to the French homestead for a surprise visit to their estranged grandmother. The trip is deferred until the midpoint of the novel, as the granddaughters are reacquainted with each other. Clemency, the eldest, is comfortably married with four children and lives outside London; Elodie is a single and raunchy dress designer living in Paris. Madeleine, residing alone in London, is a Norwegian ""ice queen""; Isabelle, at the other end of the spectrum, is a plumpish student at Oxford. Finally, Cherie is a single mother, poor and resentful of the Annesley entitlement, from which she feels excluded. This motley crew arrives in Provence to find the farmhouse quite desolate and the garden disturbed by a freshly dug grave. The terror heightens as two more Annesleys are murdered and the group uncovers bloody secrets buried in the family's past. Though the novel's denouement fails to convince, its plotting is otherwise solid, its characters rounded and its pacing sprightly. As with Smith's previous romantic suspense novels, it should find eager readers.
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