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Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite
After nearly three decades, a town's dark past is brought to light in the intriguing mystery novel, Secrets in the Woods (An Emilia Long Mystery) by J.E. Smythe. When she was a newborn infant, Emilia Long was adopted after being left on the doorstep of a Brooklyn hospital. With the arrival of each birthday the feeling of abandonment increases, affecting Emilia's relationships and her job. Finally succumbing to the insistence of her sister, Emilia returns to the North Carolina town of her birth. Surprisingly, when she questions the residents about her mother, nobody wants to talk to Emilia. They are suspiciously reticent about sharing the town's history during the time her mother was living there. Even the sheriff and her mother's best friend are uncooperative. Being blocked by those who could have helped her find her mother, Emilia begins surreptitiously searching the town's archives for answers. What she uncovers instead is shocking and indicates that a cover-up is hiding a bloody crime with far-reaching consequences. Emilia's discovery has now made her the target of someone who wants to keep the past a secret. Will Emilia ever meet her mother or will someone silence her before she gets the chance?
Secrets in the Woods (An Emilia Long Mystery) by J.E. Smythe is a gripping mystery novel filled with intrigue and subterfuge. The plot is suspenseful and contains an unexpected twist, keeping the reader sitting on the edge of their seat, waiting to find out what happens next. Although some of the characters are shadowy, they still fulfill their purpose of strengthening and enhancing Emilia's flaws and dilemmas. As Emilia fights to uncover even the smallest strands of her history, the frustration and anxiety she experiences are real and relatable. This is a tantalizing tale of betrayal and lost love infused with mystery that will entertain those who love a thrilling page-turner.