A Place of Peace (by Sally Quilford)

Sally Quilford is a prolific writer of both short stories and novellas. Many of the latter are first published as supplements to women’s magazines, but sooner or later she releases them, inexpensively, for the Kindle. From time to time her books are offered on Amazon as free downloads; I took advantage of this last year to acquire a few more.

Novellas - rather shorter than standard novels - make ideal reading for a flight. So having finished one short ebook on a recent trip to the UK, I flicked through my Kindle unread books, and opted for ‘A Place of Peace’ which is described as a ‘romantic summer mystery'.

The story is about Nell Palmer, a young British woman who is taking part in a house-swap scheme over the summer. We meet her as she is being shown over a large and attractive house on an island off the coast of New England. Colm, brother of the house’s owner, is doing the showing. It’s pretty clear from the start that there’s going to be some kind of romantic attachment between the two.

I found the first pages of this book a little slow-moving, but other characters are quickly introduced: in particular a jealous neighbour, Julia, who appears to consider Colm her property despite the fact that she is married to someone else. Julia’s husband Mike is not in great health and she comes across as impatient and unfeeling, as well as a potential threat to Nell.

We also learn that there’s something of a mystery to Nell’s past: she hasn’t just come to New England for a holiday. Instead, she is apparently running away from a highly stressful situation back home, where it seems that she made a bad judgement and stirred up a great deal of unpleasantness....

As ever, Sally Quilford has created three-dimensional and distinctive characters whose personalities shine through what is, in places, a rather melodramatic plot. I had to suspend reality a little here and there, but it didn’t matter - by the time I was half-way through I was hooked. The pace is excellent and kept me reading this so that I finished it without a break, despite the discomfort of airline seats. There are surprises, high drama, and some unexpected twists and turns in the plot as well as the comfortably predictable ending.

I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting quite such a strong crime fiction plot with the romance taking second place; but once I'd realised that this was the genre, it wasn’t a problem. The writing is good, free from the bad language and explicit scenes that spoil so many books these days, and while some of the events are unpleasant, there’s no gore or gratuitous violence.

All in all, I would recommend this as a good, light read. Only available in Kindle form, inexpensively, on both sides of the Atlantic.

Review copyright 2015 Sue's Book Reviews

1 comment:

Kath McGurl said...

That was one of my favourite Sally Q books too. Great review, thanks!