Katerina Simms, in her first book of her new Harlow Series “Sapphires and Secrets”, has strived to tell a story with elements of romance and suspense, with plot points involving domestic abuse. The story opens with the heroine, Emelia, moving into a new rental property in the middle of nowhere. She is running away and hiding from her abusive husband; she has filed for divorce but she is still not sure she can get away from him for good.
But she didn’t expect to come across her ex-boyfriend Blaire. She was in love with him but let him go years ago to protect his feelings. Now, they are both in Blaire’s hometown, and they see if they can reconnect. We also get to see Emelia fight her demons and come into her own in the book. Do they make it? Is Emelia able to overcome the trauma that her marriage has been?
Both the main characters Emelia and Blaire have been portrayed effectively by the author; their actions and motivations mostly always make sense and are consistent with their characters. However, I can’t say I loved them both; all I can say is that I didn’t dislike them. The secondary characters had some things to do and were all sufficiently engaging enough. I got the idea that the author might create stories for them in future books of this series.
In this book, the author has fleshed out an interesting premise and created an intimate, small-town atmosphere for her characters to roam about. I can see what she tried to do with Emelia’s story — but the story just didn’t arrive at the place she was clearly aiming for. I did feel sorry for her at times but just couldn’t connect with her. The pacing and the narrative of the story also didn’t convey the tension it was supposed to.
Overall, it is a passably entertaining, slightly thrilling story about second chances and discovering oneself, which just didn’t reach its full potential.
This book gets 4 out of 5 stars.