My Throwback Thursday choice is the first of the Wake-Robin Ridge trilogy, a dual time line story with flashbacks to fifty years previously. I’ve read all three books and loved them.
Two women, two stories, fifty years apart, their lives connecting in a terrifying way. Ruth and Frank met in the 1960s when Ruth escaped from an abusive husband and settled in a little cabin on Wake-Robin Ridge. Ruth thought she was safe and could at last find happiness when she met Frank, but it wasn’t that easy to remove Lloyd from her life. Her husband, Lloyd Carter, himself an abused child which shaped him into the man he was to become, had been imprisoned for multiple charges, including assault with the intent to kill. Ruth took her chance and made the break for freedom, taking Lloyd’s money and car. From prison, Lloyd employed his cousin to keep an eye on things for him. When he learned what Ruth had done his anger knew no bounds and he swore revenge. While he served his time, he plotted and planned, and two years later he was paroled. That’s when Ruth’s nightmare began.
Lloyd crouched low in the bushes, peering at the little cabin in the clearing. This was what she chose to do with his money? Hide out on a deserted hillside in a stinkin’ little wooden shack that looked like it should have belonged to the Beverly Hillbillies before they struck it rich? God, he could kill the bitch. “Oh, that’s right,” he said. “I’m going to.”
Fifty years later, aspiring author Sarah Gray is working in a library in Florida, as a cataloguing and research assistant. Until one day she has a flash of realisation. She is financially secure, with no need to work, especially at such a dreary, uninspiring job. She needs to move her life forward and realise her dream of a writing a book. With that in mind, Sarah decides on a move to the mountains of North Carolina, a place she loves. There was nobody in Florida who would miss her, or that she would miss, apart from her best friend, Jenna.
Jenna was crying again. I knew she would be, but I had to give her credit for trying to make it as inconspicuous as possible. She had a brave smile plastered on her face, and it broke my heart to see how much she wanted me to stay, but everything was in place. My cabin awaited me with electricity turned on, phone and wireless connected, some basic groceries in the fridge, and firewood outside the back door.
What Sarah didn’t count on was the complication of meeting the complex and solitary MacKenzie Cole, who has a heartbreaking tragedy in his past, causing him to be reclusive. Sarah and Mac have a less than promising first meeting when Mac’s dog, Rosheen, a huge Irish Wolfhound, slips her lead and ends up at Sarah’s cabin. I would have loved to have been witness to the resulting meeting between Rosheen and Sarah’s cat, Handsome!
A really accomplished and skilfully written novel. Sarah and Mac’s story is intertwined with flashbacks to Ruth’s tragic life. The engaging characters and scenic setting are so well defined and beautifully described. There’s a wonderful sense of place and I had clear images running through my mind while reading. The author’s love of the mountains, with it’s forests, trails and rivers, shines through. A lovely touch to take the title from a pretty sounding species of spring flower, native to the mountains, with deep red blossoms called Wake-Robin.
This is my third book by Marcia Meara and, like the others, it’s a well-balanced mixture of romance, mystery and suspense with strong, distinct characters, this one with an added extra, a supernatural twist which I love. There’s evil and a hate so deep on Wake-Robin Ridge that even death can’t stop it.
About the Book
On a bitter cold January night in 1965, death came calling at an isolated little cabin on Wake-Robin Ridge. Now, nearly 50 years later, librarian Sarah Gray has quit her job and moved into the same cabin, hoping the peace and quiet of her woodland retreat will allow her to concentrate on writing her first novel. Instead she finds herself distracted by her only neighbor, the enigmatic and reclusive MacKenzie Cole, who lives on top of the mountain with his Irish wolfhound as his sole companion.
As their tentative friendship grows, Sarah learns the truth about the heartbreaking secret causing Mac to hide from the world. But before the two can sort out their feelings for each other, they find themselves plunged into a night of terror neither could have anticipated. Now they must unravel the horrifying events of a murder committed decades earlier. In doing so, they discover that the only thing stronger than a hatred that will not die is a heart willing to sacrifice everything for another.