Book Review: "Beguiled" by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand

Rylee Monroe walks dogs in old-money Charleston, a part of the city recently targeted by a daring thief. Logan Woods works the crime beat for the local paper but dreams of a life as a nonfiction writer. When the string of robberies takes a strange twist, Logan sees the making of a once-in-a-lifetime book that seems to circle around this charming, eye-catching dogwalker. But pursuing the truth means ignoring that he seems to be falling for her. And what is she hiding in her past that could crack the story wide open?

I honestly wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up this book. Deeanne Gist is known for writing Christian historical romance that many conservative readers find too "sexy" for their tastes. Then I had never read anything by J. Mark Betrand before so I didn't know how his writing would be. The book was marketed as romantic suspense so that could range from a whole gamut of possibilities. However after finishing the story, I was quite satisfied when closing the book.

Rylee (I really liked that name) is a dog walker for the wealthy in historical Charleston while Logan is a reporter who is thisclose from being at the top. The two are thrown together when burglaries around the area seem to target Rylee as a suspect. I like the chemistry of the two of them together. Nothing seemed forced, their relationship grew throughout the book. I really liked seeing Charleston come alive. I've never been to the city but from the descriptions in the book I could almost see myself there. I was a bit surprised though that there wasn't a single person in the entire book that said "y'all".

The cover of this book totally threw me off. From the way the girl on the cover is dressed, I thought this book took place in the 1920s. To be honest, I figured out the culprit pretty early on. Rylee seemed a bit naive and trusting when it came to those around her. I deducted from the suspicious actions of some characters that they couldn't be trusted and I ended up being right. That's not to say that I didn't enjoy the story, I just figured out the mystery rather quick. Overall, this was a refreshing romantic suspense novel to read. If you've avoided Deeanne Gist in the past due to her edgy romances, have no fear, this book is very tame compared to her other books. Also this book makes me looking forward to Bertrand's upcoming debut novel that focuses on suspense. Fans of Dee Henderson and Terri Blackstock will enjoy this read.

Beguiled by Deeanne Gist and J. Mark Bertrand is published by Bethany House (2010)

This review copy was provided for a blog tour with the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance


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