Review of Sweet Dreams, Baby Belle

Synopsis:

Lizzie, a small-town waitress, thought she’d finally met her prince charming in Dr. Grant Chatsworth. She was young and in love, and the quick courtship ended with the four carat diamond engagement ring of her dreams.

27274926Now residing in one of Buckhead’s finest estates, Lizzie soon learns all that glitters is not gold. Her handsome husband, renowned cardiac surgeon and developer of a new congestive heart failure drug, was becoming cruel and controlling. Lizzie finds herself captive in the vast expanse of his estate without a phone or a car, and under the watchful eye of Flossie.

When Lizzie discovers that her husband’s drug development company is a Ponzi scheme, she realizes that her life could be in danger if she doesn’t somehow escape the gated mansion on the hill.

With her parents deceased, her only hope is to get to Biloxi, Mississippi and seek refuge with her sister, Maggie. Maggie and her husband Leland quickly find a safe harbor for Lizzie in a house on the bayou. However the house at the end of the street might not be the quiet retreat Lizzie was hoping for.

The confines of her hideaway soon get to Lizzie so she begins sneaking out in the middle of the night to walk in the historical cemetery next door. One night a damaged, carved lamb on top of the tombstone of a small child catches her eye, and the story of the child immediately captures her heart. Just when Lizzie Chatsworth thinks her world can’t get any more complicated, she finds herself in the middle of a mystery from the 1800’s that is pulling her in and demanding she seek justice.

As her husband’s empire begins to crumble, he’s more determined than ever to find Lizzie and kill her. But, will the mystery of Baby Belle’s death end Lizzie’s life first? (Goodreads)

Review:

This book is one of the most suspenseful and tension-filled books that I have ever read and, in my opinion, one of the best books I have ever read. Throughout the entire book I wanted to go to the end of the book to see what would happen and to make sure that it all ended well, but I did refrain from doing that.  And I’m glad that I held back because it was well worth the wait.  There are really two mysteries contained within the pages.  The first mystery is if Lizzie will ever be free of her abusive husband and the second is who is Baby Belle and what happened to her many years ago.   

The book starts out with a bang, literally, in the Prologue, and the tension just kept building from there.  There are so many different storylines that are expertly intertwined and woven together to make one complete well crafted suspense read.   The tension continues to build throughout the whole book and the ending had many surprises. There are many twists and turns and at times I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride.  There are certain aspects to the mystery that I was not expecting and that came as a total surprise and increased my enjoyment even more.  I do not want to say what those aspects are because I consider it a bit of a spoiler but be prepared for some surprises.  

The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read.  Most of the chapters are short and I think this added to my anxiousness. The author knew when to stop a chapter for optimum suspense and made me want to keep reading.  I have always preferred shorter chapters than longer ones so this helped me like the book even more.  I kept wanting to read one more chapter because I needed to see what was going to happen, but I was nervous reading more chapters because I was afraid to see what would happen next.  I think that is a sign of a very talented author who can make the reader feel like this with just her written word.    One of the things I liked the most about this book was all the thoughts that each character had.  I was not just reading about their actions but also their thoughts and feelings and that helped me to feel what they were feeling.   

The characters are well developed, well rounded and three dimensional. Each character serves a specific role in the book and there are no characters that are not important to the storyline.  There are many characters that are very easy to like and care about.  Lizzie just wants a normal life and to be free of her controlling husband.  You cannot help but cheer for her and wish her luck.  There are also plenty of characters to dislike, such as Grant, and you hope that they will get what they deserve. My favorite characters in this book were Clara and Iris, the elderly friends who become very involved in the mystery.   They are quite the characters and I laughed at a lot of their comments and antics.

This is the first book that I have read by this author and I do not know how I have missed her other books.  I will definitely be reading her other works and watching for her future ones.  This author has a new fan and I am so glad that I read Sweet Dreams, Baby Belle.  I would rate it higher than five stars if I could, that is how much I enjoyed it.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well plotted, well crafted suspense thriller.  

 

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