Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I almost quit reading within the first few chapters because I really didn't much care for any of the characters, but I'm glad I kept going because they eventually started to grow on me.
The novel opens with Annie Hewitt, a debt-ridden ventriloquist stricken with pneumonia, driving through a blizzard on a small island off the coast of Maine to a cottage she must live in for the next 60 straight days lest ownership revert to her ex-stepfather. The sudden appearance of a man on horseback causes her to skid off the road into a snow-filled ditch, and things don't improve even after she drags her feverish self and her suitcases of puppets through the cold night to the dark cottage where the caretaker hasn't turned on the utilities as requested. The rider turns out to be her former step-brother and ex-boyfriend whom she hasn't seen in 18 years--since he tried to kill her. Theo Harp is now a famous author and recent widower, but this time she has the courage to stand up to him, in the process learning that all wasn't as it seemed back when they were teenagers.
Annie's mother never treated her very kindly, but on her deathbed, she promised Annie that the cottage contained "her legacy" and there would be plenty of money, so Annie begins the search, hoping to discover something that could help pay off the bills she incurred catering to her mother's dying whims. Annie spends hours up at Harp House trading housekeeping labor (to prevent Theo from firing her friend who can't do the work due to a broken foot) for wi-fi access so she can research the art and objects she finds. None of it seems valuable, but someone sure wants to scare Annie away because there is a series of break-ins, vandalism, threats, and once someone even shoots at her.
My favorite part of the book, I think, is the subplot about Jaycie's four-year-old daughter Livia who became mute after witnessing her mother shoot her father. Annie's talent for ventriloquism helps draw Livia out and start the healing process.
For reader's advisors: character and setting doorways. There is some swearing and eventually some sex scenes.
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