The Spirit Of Grace
Sarah Bennett Mysteries, Book #1
Terry Lynn Thomas
Sarah Bennett doesn’t remember the night her mother tumbled down the stairs at Bennett House, despite allegedly witnessing the fatal fall. There was talk of foul play, dark whispers, and sidelong glances, all aimed at Sarah, prompting her family to send her to The Laurels, an exclusive asylum in San Francisco, under a cloud of suspicion. Now, on the one-year anniversary of her mother’s murder, Sarah has been summoned home. Convinced of her innocence, she returns to Bennett House, hoping to put the broken pieces of her life back together. But when another murder occurs shortly after her arrival, Sarah once again finds herself a suspect, as she is drawn into a web of suspicion and lies. In order to clear her name, Sarah must remember what happened the fateful night her mother died. But as she works to regain her memory, the real murderer watches, ready to kill again to protect a dark family secret. (Goodreads)
Sarah Bennett has no recollection of the night her mother died. She does not know how her mother ended up at the bottom of the stairs: did she just fall, did Sarah herself push her or was there someone else there that night? Her father sent her away to The Laurels, a high class asylum. She is brought home when the one year anniversary of her mother’s death is approaching. She still does not know what happened that night. She hopes going home will bring back some of her memories. When someone else dies, Sarah is again under suspicion. Will she ever get her memory back and prove she was not responsible for her mother’s death, as well as this new murder?
The characters are well rounded and well developed. Sarah is a strong woman and she will need all of that strength to figure out what happened that night. As the story progresses, she gets stronger and more sure of herself. Anca, the housekeeper, is on Sarah’s side and wants to help her as much as she can. Zeke, her father’s writing assistant, is kind to her and she begins to enjoy being around him. Grace, her stepmother, does not like Sarah at all and is suspicious of her. I enjoyed reading about all of these relationships and they all added a lot to the story.
The writing style flows smoothly and the book is an easy read. The author is very talented in her descriptive writing and through much of the book, I felt like I was right there watching all of the action taking place. There was an authenticity to the place and time that this story took place. The mystery was well plotted and carried on well throughout the entire book. The setting helped add suspense to the book.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well written Gothic mystery with a little bit of paranormal thrown in. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series.