When timid Raven Gale ventures out of her comfort zone looking for answers about her husband’s mysterious death, she gets more than she bargained for: buried treasure, family secrets and a second chance for romance.
If Raiders of the Lost Ark were told from Marion’s perspective, it would be a story much like Gardiner’s novel. Though the title seems ominous, the story is actually a lighthearted affair with feisty protagonist Raven Gale at its core. The story opens with Gale on a remote island, looking for clues into her husband’s recent death. However, what she finds is someone who looks a lot like her husband. He asks for her trust immediately, as he claims she has put herself in mortal danger. This is our male lead, Sloan Brockway, who just so happens to be the more handsome, charming and honest version of our main character’s late husband. Oh, and he’s also a treasure hunter, university professor and a member of an ancient secret society that has been protecting the heroine’s family for generations. Naturally, the two main characters fall in love, and each contends with their own baggage and issues as their island adventure unfolds. The novel will feel familiar to romance enthusiasts, as the characters are archetypal, and the plot can sometimes feel a bit formulaic. Those who know romance novels will predict where the narrative’s headed by the third chapter, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. What it lacks in risk-taking, it makes up for in over-the-top situations that are so outlandish that the reader can’t help but wonder what happens next to our star-struck lovers. Gardiner takes everything positive about romance novels, mixes it with a little bit of adventure and throws in an evil villain or two, resulting in a perfect petit four for sating a romantic craving. Just don’t be surprised if you are hungry for more 30 minutes later.
An entertaining and romantic adventure with engaging main characters and a story both fun and obvious.