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Sunday 4 September 2011

Kinfolk by Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy

This book is classified as 'Romantic Suspense' which is one of my preferred genres, so given the opportunity to read it, I grabbed at the chance.

The story focuses on Katherine, a novelist who fleas her Californian lifestyle to escape a drug-lord who is owed a considerable debt by her now dead, drug-addicted husband.  She, as next of kin, as far as the drug lord is concerned, is responsible for repaying that debt.  She finds refuge in her hometown of Arkansas, where she stays with her Aunt Ruby.  There she meets Ben, the widowed husband of Ruby's deceased daughter, and therefore cousin to Katherine, Jill.  Ben is a former Navy SEAL, now working in a local poultry plant, but bears the physical scars of his SEAL years.  Keeping hidden from avaricious and ruthless drug lords would, you'd have thought, have been enough to occupy Katherine and keep her attention away from romantic involvement, but Ben provides too much of a temptation.  He too, withdrawn and uncommunicative since his wife's death, finds it difficult to maintain his reticence, as he becomes drawn to this beautiful and intelligent woman.  The threat of discovery by unscrupulous drug dealers casts a cloud over their happiness and future and when Katherine is captured by the drug mob, Ben uses his SEAL experience and initiative to get her back safely.

I can confidently say I enjoyed this book;  it was well written and whilst not error-free there were too few to mar the reading experience.  I liked the author's style – expressive, yet easy-going and flowing.  You might at this point get the impression that there is a 'but' coming on – and yes, there is!  Despite my enjoyment of the book, I would say that the Romantic/Suspense tag is a little hopeful.  75% of the book focuses on Ben and Katherine's deepening relationship, which develops a little too fast in my opinion and it is only in the latter 25% that Katherine's kidnap takes place and is all wrapped up just a tad too quickly and conveniently.

It's a delightful, romantic, albeit slightly predictable story, but don't expect a white-knuckle ride of thrills or tension;  just settle into your armchair for a comfy ride.

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