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Reviewed by Cecelia Hopkins for Readers' Favorite
In Beneath Crimson Clover by Connie Chappell, Wrenn Grayson is astonished to see how closely Foster Spears and Nathan Edwards resemble each other. Nate employs Wrenn in her capacity as a professional historian to prove he is Foster’s maternal grandfather. She begins by visiting the private hospital listed on Eileen Cobb Spears’ birth certificate. Langford Hospital is no longer operational and the building stands strangely vacant, brooding over years of tragic secrets. As Wrenn’s investigation proceeds, she may be uncovering a chilling conspiracy to facilitate secret adoptions. Even worse things may be hidden somewhere underneath the mysterious “crimson clover.” Throughout the story, Wrenn is supported by her empathetic partner Gideon and comes to a better understanding with her own parents.
Beneath Crimson Clover by Connie Chappell is a challenging and realistic historical mystery set in the mid-to-late twentieth century. The story incorporates a multigenerational element that traces the effects of past events through changing times. There were clear and very serious social issues underlying this conundrum, and I was shocked as the harsh dictates of an unforgiving society were brought to light in a compelling fashion. The thought of the unjust treatment of unwed mothers, potential fathers, and illegitimate babies made me want to cry. I appreciated the balanced point of view, and honest attempt to consider the rights and needs of the various parties involved. Throughout the story, Wrenn was empathetic and appealing, and I liked the careful way the narrative documented her research process. Beneath Crimson Clover by Connie Chappell skillfully presents a fictional exploration of sensitive subject matter within the framework of a classic mystery.