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Reviewed by Lucinda E Clarke for Readers' Favorite
Desolation Bluff by Toni Pike tells the story of a successful blind author who falls deeply in love with his beautiful assistant Vanessa. We first meet them when they are on their honeymoon in Paris and she is describing the view of the Eiffel Tower from their hotel room. Oliver is wealthy, kind and considerate and you can easily fall for him as the hero in the book. It’s a little difficult to give more of the plot without spoiling the story. There are other characters, such as the elderly housekeeper Helen, and Ray, Oliver’s business manager. At the start of the book, life seems idyllic, but things had begun to unravel long before the reader comes on the scene. Just as I was sure I had guessed the end of the story, the plot twisted again and there was yet another layer to the story I didn’t see coming. I like the way the characters were introduced. Not once did I have to reread to work out who was who. For me, that is the sign of a well-constructed book, excellent characterization, and realistic dialogue.
At intervals in Desolation Bluff, there were readings out loud of the romantic happy ever after novels that Oliver – under the pen name of Fidel Amore – churns out four times a year. I loved these ‘badly written’ excerpts along with the equally trite titles. A bright, lively read with several cliff-hangers and believable characters which kept up a satisfying pace. There are plenty of tongue in cheek moments, giving light and shade to the more dramatic parts. A little different from Pike’s Jotham Fletcher mysteries, so this book took me by surprise. Toni Pike is an author whose books I enjoy and I will read everything she writes. A well deserved 5 stars from me.