Reviewed by Sarah Varland
Secrets of Harmony Grove
by Mindy Starns Clark
"Filled with a unique cast of characters in an interesting setting, the deeper layers to this story and the mystery are what make it a must-read..."
It's not often that a book grabs a reader, pulls her in and blatantly refuses to let go until the book is finished. Most mysteries are compelling and make the reader keep reading, but Mindy Starns Clark's newest release, The Secrets of Harmony Grove, is far more than a gripping 'who-done-it'. Filled with a unique cast of characters in an interesting setting, the deeper layers to this story and the mystery are what make it a must-read for anyone who likes this genre, and something worth checking out even for those who don't usually read books like this one.
The basic plot was intriguing enough to me. Sienna (love the unique names in this book) is the protagonist and she is suspended from a new job because of an investigation she's undergoing from the Attorney General's office. She has done nothing, to her knowledge, to warrant an investigation and tells her bosses so, but they insist on suspending her until the matter is resolved. This leaves her feeling like she made unwise choices when she bought her new car and other items that she’d expected to be able to afford on her new salary. Unwilling to admit her predicament, she keeps the news from those she is closest to.
From there the story snowballs and the pace quickens and quickens until the story's resolution at the end. Sienna keeps receiving calls from an ex-boyfriend she hasn't spoken to until recently and he leads her to the bed and breakfast she owns in Lancaster County. The Bed and Breakfast sits on land that was willed to her at her grandfather’s death and it adjoins a piece of land filled with trees, called Harmony Grove. She's been a very hands-off owner until now, but when she arrives and finds out that her ex-boyfriend has been treasure hunting and someone has been murdered, the peaceful, pastoral retreat turns into a place of mystery, with layer after layer of secrets.
As she investigates what is happening and tries to stay out of the way of the police officers who are involved, she discovers that her bed and breakfast and the land upon which is lies, especially the adjoining grove, has more to it than meets the eye. As she seeks to clear her name and the names of those she loves from any wrongdoing, Sienna learns about the depths to which love goes and about how God is more involved in the lives of people than she ever realized.
Varland lives in Georgia with her husband, son, and two dogs.
When she's not busy teaching high school English or walking around with her nose
stuck in a book, she enjoys spending time with her family outdoors doing things
like hiking and kayaking. Sarah is currently pursuing publication as a novelist
and is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers. You can read some of her
thoughts on life, books, and the ministry fishbowl at her