cover image A Mark of Grace

A Mark of Grace

Kimberley Woodhouse. Bethany House, $16.99 trade paper (366p) ISBN 978-0-764-23802-4

In the third and final entry in the Secrets of the Canyon series, Woodhouse (A Gem of Truth) weaves a propulsive if uneven mix of suspense and romance set primarily in 1909. The Grand Canyon’s El Tovar hotel is the “jewel of the Harvey Hospitality empire,” a network of hotels and restaurants clustered along America’s western railroads. Ruth Anniston, who’s worked at the hotel for years, has recently lost her coveted job as head waitress and been placed in an administrative role after a mountain lion attack left her physically scarred. She barely has time to retreat into self-pity before her manager, Mr. Owens, seeks help from Ruth and head chef Frank—who sees Ruth’s beauty beneath her scars—after noticing budget discrepancies. Falsified kitchen orders and missing deposits accumulate, along with a spate of nasty headlines accusing the hospitality empire of mismanagement. When guests and employees start sustaining unexplained ailments (such as restaurant patrons falling ill over their meals), Ruth and Frank work to put the pieces of the puzzle together as a romance slowly forms. Ruth struggles with her faith throughout, but learns to trust in God’s grace to weather life’s burdens. Though the romance and suspense plots sometimes seem disconnected, this series send-off is packed with fun and intrigue. Woodhouse’s fans will enjoy the ride. (Jan.)