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Reviewed by Josephine Strano D'Urso for Readers' Favorite
Jackie Ullerich's Sabbatical in the Sun has it all; mystery, intrigue, deception, adventure, romance, with many twists and turns along the way. Recovering from a failed marriage and the loss of her mother to cancer, Jessica Slater decides she needs a change of scenery. She takes a break from her college teaching position in her home state of Virginia to accept a house-sitting job in Los Angeles. She settles into Mr. and Mrs. Pappas’ lovely home while the couple are out of town, at the same time attending graduate courses at USC. Here Jessica meets the handsome John Martin and is immediately attracted to the charming university administrator. The two fall into an intimate relationship, though, having been burned once, Jessica remains cautious. When John invites her to accompany him on a business trip to Athens, it doesn’t take long for her to set her reservations aside and say yes. After all, it’s been her lifelong dream to travel to Greece, and John has promised to give her the time of her life. Only later does she realize she’s been used in a ploy that involves the recovery of a precious heirloom for the Angelides family, John’s friends in Athens, and finds herself entangled in a web of mystery and intrigue.
Sabbatical in the Sun is the sort of story that grabs readers and draws them in from the first pages, eager to see what other surprises await them around the corner. The imagery is vibrant, both in the southern California and international settings, so that it’s easy for the reader to be transported from one scenario to another, as if a part of the action. The narrative is a colorful blend of ancient art and culture, in which the author seems well versed, and metropolitan living. The good flowing dialog brings out the characters, making them believable and easy to visualize. I found it a great read, with the added bonus that it made my daily two-hour commute seem a lot shorter! A gripping novel.