*I received free ARCs of this book and novella, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
The Hunt – Jacqueline Terrill
Blurb: After thirty years of marriage, Rachel observes herself amid a matrimonial nightmare. While at first, she sought to write off Seth’s nighttime escapades and drinking as a midlife crisis. The local sheriff hands her a foreclosure notice because her mortgage hasn’t been paid. Rachel perceives something is awry.
Devastated and needing space to reflect, Rachel accepts a respite from her best friend Lauren to hang at her cabin in the Allegheny Mountains for Thanksgiving, where she reconnects with Lauren, and her family.
When Rachel tries to understand Seth’s change of heart, the schemes of her husband, mother-in-law, and the entire Blackstone crew. The family she married into became an illusion.
As her thirty-year marriage dissolves, Rachel realizes that getting into the Blackstone family is one thing, but getting out alive is another.
Desperate to get off of this roller-coaster ride without shattering, Rachel must figure out the shrewdest way to pull herself up out of this turbulent charade.
Can she stay alive through the worst episodes that marred her down to her knees?
I found The Hunt a little bit slow-going at first.
The opening chapters felt crammed with detail, and the characters and dialogue seemed stilted and unnatural. I am so glad that I persevered though, as once the plot really got underway, the author settled into her flow and then I found myself hooked on the mystery of Rachel’s marriage and her sudden persecution by menacing strangers unknown!
Pretty much as soon as Rachel makes the decision to take a break from her beloved husband Seth, who has been behaving strangely for the last few months, chaos breaks loose across her life and she is thrown into a world of car chases, burglary, assault and even attempted murder.
Luckily she has friends and family she can turn to for help and support, including the rather lovely, strong and sympathetic, Cole. This is pretty much a 50/50 split between mystery thriller and sweet romance, as Rachel attempts to survive her current husband, whilst simultaneously finding something – someone – to live for.
I couldn’t put this story down until I found out why Seth’s behaviour had suddenly changed the way it had, and until I found out whether Rachel managed to escape her dangerous pursuers and find happiness either back with her long-loved husband, in the arms of her loyal new friend, or even solo and stronger than before.
I would definitely stick with this one, because once you get past the editing issues (the strangely formal dialogue and over-detailed descriptions) there is a gripping plot and a cast of interesting and endearing characters.
I tried to smirk, responding as if her news became no astonishment. “Thanks for letting me know, Suzanne, I’ll look into whether someone has compromised your identity.” I hesitated then decided. “You know, could I cash that check instead of making the deposit it?”
Her full eyes told me she uncovered something was up, but she was too diplomatic to ask. She bent. “How do you want your cash back, Rachel? Tens, twenties, or fifties?”
“Twenties will be perfect.”
She counted out five hundred dollars in twenties and stuffed the currency in a white pouch. “There you go, Rachel. You have a good day.” Her eyes moved onto the next client.
I saluted at her and moved away from the counter, slithering the envelope into my purse.
The knot in my stomach tightened. This latest development in our family’s finances was the most serious by far, and it meant another confrontation with Seth. Was he hoodwinking me?
– Jacqueline Terrill, The Hunt
The Eighties Ladies
Blurb: Two friends in the 1980’s were graduating from Cosmetology School. They went clubbing every Friday downtown. When Jen, and Aubrey started dating their new boyfriends in town they became head-over-heels. Is their new love everlasting, or does their relationships take a turn for the worst?
I’m afraid that this novella wasn’t really my cup of tea.
Born at the beginning of the eighties, I do remember a lot of the songs and products listed here fondly. The story is packed from start to finish with eighties memorabilia, lingo and pop culture references which are great for inducing that nostalgic haze.
However, I felt like this read more like the beginning of a longer story than a stand-alone shorter story. The plot ends abruptly, just as things were starting to really happen, leaving me wondering what happened next.
So as a prologue, or as a vignette of everything eighties, this story works well, but otherwise I felt the plot and characters didn’t really get a chance to take off or shine.
Shaking my head back-and-forth, I opened the back-door, stepped down to the deck floor, walked over, and sat down on the porch-swing. I stuck my favourite cassette tape into my walkman and listened to my favourite eighties tunes. Holding my leg-warmers in the crevice of my right arm, I let them fall to the ground. Picking them up, I lifted up my feet, and rolled the large cloth up my legs.
– Jacqueline Terrill, The Eighties Ladies