Monday, August 17

Sharron McClellan: Hidden Sanctuary

A dowser, whose talent is refined enough to allow her to detect anything within the earth, is drilling for oil in the Nubian desert when she strikes an extremely powerful energy source. Tracing the source she discovers a cache of ancient mosaic tiles that the locals ascribe protective powers to. When the tiles are stolen she believes she is fated to find, and return, them to the villagers.
She attempts this in vain and soon realises that in order to reclaim the tiles she must trust the security guard whose job it is to report her every discovery to the company. The company that she believes not only sanctioned the theft but is willing to kill to keep the tiles in their possession.
The unlikely allies track the tiles across Europe risking their lives to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands and uncovering an unexpected love along the way.
This is the fifth book in the Madonna Key series and, I think, the weakest link in the seven book series so far.
I must be up-front and admit that of all the plots in the series this is the only one that didn’t really appeal to me as a story line. And the execution didn’t change my mind. At every pivotal point along the way I had a hard time suspending my disbelief. The cameo of characters from previous episodes felt entirely contrived. I couldn’t relate to the heroine at all. In fact, I found all of the characters to be superficial, both in their development and in their described personalities. And the romance (this is a Harlequin series, after all) was the least believable element of the plot. There was no sexual tension to speak of though there was action aplenty which made for a brisk pace. I honestly can not see what this book added to the series. I can only assume all will be made clear in the finale.
I really like the concept of this series and most of the plots presented so far piqued my interest but the quality of the individual instalments has been uneven. The series opened with a bang but is suffering from a sagging middle. If I had read this particular story earlier I would not have continued with the series. As it is there are only two books to go and I feel that I’ve invested so much time in the series I may as well follow it through to the end. Fingers crossed it’s worth the effort.-Lynn

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