Searching for Sophie
Author – Rachel Brimble
Rating – D+; Finished but would not recommend/3 – Minimal Love Scenes
Reading Level – Adult
Genre – Romantic Suspense
Pages – EBook
Publisher – The Wild Rose Press
Release Date – 2007
Source – Author in exchange for an honest review
Melanie Royal seems to have it all together. She is the Head Librarian at the Layley Hill library. She lives with her dog Mac in an apartment and she’s happy. She has James, the best friend a girl could ask for and her job is satisfying. That is until her ex-boyfriend Detective Inspector Kieran Joseph comes to the library to inform her that the daughter she gave up for adoption 13 years ago has been snatched. Even worse, the kidnapper is indicating it has been done to reunite biological mother and daughter. It’s a race against time and both Melanie and Kieran will do anything to see Sophie home safe and sound.
I’m really all over the place on my feelings for this book. I do know that it did take some determination to get through it. I also know that there are some things that I am not qualified to judge.
First let me say this for the first half of the novel, Melanie is suspect number one in Kieran’s book. This goes back to a case that went badly for him. This is supposed to excuse his behavior. It doesn’t, at least not for me. He goes from treating her like an old friend to a criminal with an impressive rap sheet sometimes within the same conversation. As the reader you literally spend the first half of the book with Melanie and Kieran either at each other’s throats or all over each other due to suppressed wants and desires of the past three years. In one part, a video tape is sent to Melanie with Sophie on it. Melanie rushes to the police station in hysterics. Kieran calms her down with a kiss and tells her that she has to remain calm if they are to catch him. After viewing the tape Kieran is back to treating Melanie like a common criminal and insisting she isn’t cooperating with the investigation. I know this was meant to create tension between the hero and heroine but to me there is a difference between tension and the accusations that Kieran was throwing at Melanie.
This brings me to my next biggest problem with Searching for Sophie. Melanie is such a roller coaster emotionally that the dips and highs are almost dizzying. Yes, Sophie is her biological daughter whom at the age of fourteen her mother made her give her up for adoption. It’s terrible, I know, but I couldn’t help feeling like it was too much. I’m not a mother so I have no clue if the maternal instinct would kick into such a high gear after 13 years of separation. I can’t judge on that. What I can judge is that through the entire book the emotions were high. I’m sure an abduction warrants some high emotions. In Searching for Sophie as the reader there is no break. It’s exhausting to keep up with. Melanie’s either hysterical over finding Sophie, pissed at Kieran and her parents or ready to jump Kieran’s bones.
A lot of the book is spent with Melanie reiterating the point over and over again that Sophie is her daughter. Over and over this point is driven home to the reader. Melanie isn’t a bad person she was just in a bad situation. It was almost like the author was trying to convince you that Melanie was still a good person after giving her daughter up for adoption or Melanie was trying to convince herself. After spending all this time on the “my daughter” bit Melanie goes to confront the biological father. When the discussion starts, the father refers to Sophie as “our daughter” Melanie tells him that she is NOT their daughter and it’s best they both remember that. Huh? Is Melanie saying this for his benefit? Is she trying to convince herself? It might have been Melanie trying to deflect any interest the biological father might have had in Sophie but it jerked me out of the story.
SPOILER: The mystery really isn’t a mystery to anyone except the hero and heroine. It left me feeling very unsatisfied. From the beginning I knew who had Sophie but not where she was. During the story arc the reader is expected to look at another character as literally everything is pointing to this person. That was the problem for me. That character was clearly the fall guy and I knew it wouldn’t be him. The real culprit was more subtle but still there. Considering Melanie’s small scope of family and friends it wasn’t too hard to deduce.
I will say that Brimble knows how to write a stunning ending. Of course it’s a happy ending. I’d have been disappointed after all the build up if it hadn’t been. It made me happy to know that the characters would end up happy and with all they ever wanted. Especially after all they had been through. Overall, the high emotion drained me. I found the characters hard to connect with and the mystery didn’t hold my attention for long.