Review: Sonata by Blair McDowell

Format read: ebook provided by the author
Formats available: paperback, ebook
Genre: Romantic suspense
Length: 258 pages
Publisher: Rebel Ink Press
Date Released: November 1, 2012
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

A jewel heist…

When renowned concert artist, Sayuri McAllister, returns to the west coast of Canada after an absence of five years, she discovers her family home has been a broken into and jewelry worth two million dollars is missing. Michael Donovan, Sayuri’s old high school flame, now a detective with the Vancouver Police Department, is the officer in charge of the case.

What chance can he have…

Michael takes one look at Sayuri and falls in love with her all over again. But they parted in anger years ago and Sayuri is no longer the innocent girl he once knew. What chance can there be for a Vancouver cop with someone as famous as Sayuri McAllister? Especially when that cop is investigating her family and friends?

An unexpected marriage…

Then Sayuri’s widowed father, Sean, marries Alyssa James, a woman Sayuri has never even met. The three live uneasily together in the Point Grey mansion until the unexpected arrival of Alyssa’s brother, Hugh James, a devastatingly handsome, charming Irishman who immediately begins a campaign to bed and wed the delicious and wealthy Sayuri.

Things take a dangerous turn…

Accidents begin to happen. Or are they accidents? Nothing is as it seems. Michael distrusts Hugh James and fears that Sayuri’s life may be in danger.

Sonata by Blair McDowell is a love story, a family story, and a mystery. Make that two love stories.

Sayuri McAllister is a world-famous cellist. Coming home for the first time in five years, she discovers that her father’s house has been burgled, her father is remarrying after 18 years as a widower, and that her high-school crush is the ranking officer for the Vancouver P.D. investigating the burglary.

And Sayuri thought she was coming home to rest!

Sayuri’s life at home is much different from what she expected when she decided to come back after five years traveling the world’s concert stages. She and her father’s new wife, Alyson James, barely make an uneasy truce over the changes in their lives. Each woman had expected to be the only queen in Sean McAllister’s castle.

And Sayuri and Michael Donovan, that police detective, discover that the decade and more since high school hasn’t dimmed the attraction they once felt. But it has closed the gap between her wealth and his middle-class background.

As the investigation into the jewelry theft from her father’s house proceeds, Sayuri and Michael begin the relationship they couldn’t have all those years ago. But Sayuri is afraid to give too much of herself. Her concert career has always come first, and she doesn’t know how to mix her kind of all-consuming art with any kind of normal life.

But she wants to try.

Into the middle of this bursts Hugh James, Alyson’s brother. He tries to charm his way into Sayuri’s life. With his sister’s collusion, he tries to edge Michael out of the picture.

Then Sean, Sayuri’s father, starts to have mysterious accidents. Meanwhile, the jewel thief hides in the background, waiting for another chance.

Escape Rating B: The mystery in this romantic suspense is more of a “why did he do it” than a “whodunnit”, as the perpetrator is obvious almost instantly. However, the totality of his motivations are obscured until the end.

Sayuri and Michael’s love story is the one in the forefront. While it was sweetly done, there was just a bit missing for me. I wasn’t totally clear on why Sayuri was so afraid to commit emotionally. It seemed that her objections were cultural, but her internal debate needed a bit more externalizing.

Also, she let herself be hypnotized by Hugh James a bit too much. For someone who could be so commanding onstage, she was a little too subservient off of it. She let herself be swept along, even while she was being creeped out, and admitted to herself that she was creeped.

The gradual turn around of Alyson’s relationship, not just with Sean but with the whole McAllister household, was lovely. She started out on her high-horse and in the end fell in love with everyone. And we all understood why.

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