cover image The Secrets Beneath

The Secrets Beneath

Kimberley Woodhouse. Bethany, $16.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-07-642-4168-0

In this crackling series opener, Woodhouse (A Mark of Grace) transports readers to 1870s Wyoming Territory, where a paleontologist’s daughter becomes embroiled in a mystery involving buried secrets of more than one kind. After a dig with her father, Anna Lakeman returns to the Walker Creek settlement with a heavy heart: her mother is dead, her friend Mary went missing 10 years earlier, and she hasn’t spoken to her first love, Joshua Ziegler, since a blowup three years ago. Now that Joshua is returning home from medical school, the two work to patch things up. But there’s little time to focus on the rekindled romance before Anna and her father stumble upon dinosaur bones in a nearby gorge. Eager to dig out the rest of the skeleton, Anna ingratiates herself with the property’s odd, reticent owner, Julian Walker. Joshua, however, fears that Julian may be linked to Mary’s disappearance, a suspicion that’s strengthened when Joshua’s young nephew inexplicably vanishes. Woodhouse nimbly weaves together several story lines—aspiring paleontologist Anna battles to establish herself in what’s perceived as a man’s field, Julian longs for love despite an unsavory family past, and the mystery of Mary’s disappearance haunts all the characters as they attempt to put their trust in God—making for a propulsive launch with plenty of fuel for future adventures. Readers will eagerly await the next in the series. (Sept.)