Published by Self published on May 24, 2012
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Format: eARC from Author
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American travel journalist Sophie Matthews is searching for that elusive place called home. Working for Constar Communications has allowed her to see the world and experience different cultures, but the nomadic lifestyle has not enabled her to have much of a personal life. As she approaches her fortieth birthday, Sophie’s priorities shift and she decides to quit her job to pursue a different dream—meeting a man, settling down, and starting a family. Her boss, Greg Sullivan, has one request—that Sophie complete her last assignment featuring the life of artist/writer Marina Suarez.
During World War II, Marina’s entire village was captured by Japanese soldiers leaving Marina as the sole survivor. How she was able to survive the slaughter of her village and family remains a mystery. Sophie is intrigued by the assignment, but hesitant to return to the Philippines, which left her with a broken heart ten years ago at the hands of Eric Santiago, the only man she has ever loved. As fate would have it, Sophie soon finds herself in the busy streets of Manila and crosses paths with Eric Santiago once again. As Sophie tries to unravel the mystery of Marina’s life, she learns that Eric is the only one who can help her put the pieces together. But when she discovers Marina’s deep, dark secret, little does Sophie know that it will change her life forever.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This was a mystery romance that was all about love and survival. While it focused mainly on the present day investigation, there were flashbacks to Marina’s life growing up.
What really stood out was the author’s passion about the Philippines. The people, history and culture were shown with utmost respect and love. Even more than the actual storyline, the setting was the star of the book.
I loved the mystery element to Sophie’s investigation and how she set out to learn about Marina without actually speaking to her. I was amazed at how much she learned this way. It highlighted how much each person’s life affects those around them. If you take the time to learn those pieces, if will give you a better sense of the person than if you had simply asked them your questions.
While I enjoyed the mystery and the setting, I didn’t care for the romance. Sophie and Eric’s realationship felt too much like insta-love. With the history they had, I think the romance would have felt more real if there was more conflict and less acceptance in the very beginning. It didn’t seem realistic that Sophie’s hurt could be healed so quickly and that there wouldn’t be more trust issues between them.
Overall, this was a good, quick read with an interesting human mystery in a unique setting. The romance paled in comparison to the rest of the elements, but it was an overall passionate book.