Amy Valentini comes to the blog today with her debut offering, the first in her Seekers of the Past series – a romance with a twist of mystery, history and plenty of heart. Please read on for my review of
Seekers of the Past
Emma is back at the family farm, convinced her Grandfather’s death was not accidental and somehow tied to an old family story and some treasured journals and letters dating from the days of the Civil War. An archaeologist by trade, she’s called an old friend at UVA to help her unravel the mystery, someone who won’t think she’s overly imaginative. In the meantime, since the family farm came into her hands after probate, she’s done some work, hired four students from the Agriculture department to work the land, and is slowly, and determinedly working to find an old escape tunnel used by slaves heading to freedom.
Sam Martinelli is a professor at the university, and until her father’s death some five years earlier, her best friend and love. Another archaeologist, Sam’s classes are always full of co-eds, but he’s taken a few weeks to substitute in and help Emma in her quest, replacing her father’s former colleague and friend, laid low by health.
The carrying thread (and truly engaging) is the series of letters from Emma’s ancestor Jeremiah, a courier for the confederacy, later hanged as a spy by the union. Each letter mentions provisions made for the family’s security, and a journal from his wife Sarah seems to contradict a long-held belief (as retold in oral history) that just before his capture, Jeremiah was able to visit his wife for a single day. Adding to the confusion for Emma, a faintly threatening series of visits from a former professor, offering increasing amounts of money and exerting pressure to buy the farm, then simply contents, leaving Emma feeling on edge: particularly after her grandfather’s death and the obvious results of a house being tossed and searched. The threats, including a murder and a few more incidents of the house being searched run through to a surprising, and quite intriguing end. When you mix the mystery with the so thick it will choke you chemistry between Sam and Emma – you can’t help but turning the pages, desperate to see if Emma will ever take the chip off her shoulder and go for it. And yes, in some ways, with the only information she had at a very emotional low point in her life, she had reason to not trust Sam. But to hold all that anger and resentment, digging it up to keep herself feeling righteous in her anger aimed at him did wear on my nerves, and with a surprising and unexpected nudge from her best friend in a pass-through visit, she actually is able to think about the character of the man she loves (yes, present tense) and her own immature and perhaps selfish refusal to let him explain that night. Yeah, Emma deserved a “wake up” slap or three, but Sam’s thorough knowledge of her and how her mind works, his patience with her hot and cold reactions, and his determined protective nature, willingness to listen to her theories, and ultimately believing that there is ‘something’ to be discovered kept this reader glued to the pages, wanting to see what would happen next.
Valentini has written a smart, engaging romance with characters that are more than simple cutouts – showing their weaknesses and strengths, hearts and hurts and allowing it all to lead us in directions unexpected and exiting. A lovely debut story that has me anxious for the next as Emma and Sam head off in another journey through ancestry and history, hand in hand.
Title: Seekers of the Past
Author: Amy Valentini
Series: Seekers of the Past #1
Also in this series: For the Sake of Honor, In the Arms of Her Angel, To Love and Be Loved By Him
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by: Self-Published
Published on: 10 July, 2018
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ Kobo ♦Direct from Publisher
Introducing a series like no other—the Seekers of the Past series will take you on a journey
Where the past meets the present and love lives forever.
Seeking the Past...
Emma Wells has uncovered clues that might prove an old family tale as being true. Strange things lead her to question whether her grandfather’s death may not have been an accident and goes in search of something worth killing him for buried on her property. When she asks an old friend to assist, the man who comes in his place is the last person she ever wanted to respond to her call for help.
Seeking a Second Chance…
Sam Martinelli has been hoping for a reason to get close to the woman he still loves since he destroyed their relationship five years ago. His foolish actions drove her away then, but now he’s hoping his expertise as well as time working with her allows him another chance.
When Emma’s suspicions prove to have substance, she convinces Sam to help her even if he still carries doubts. Being with him again, she begins to question her heart and past as well as her foolish pride. When things take a dangerous turn, Emma realizes she must trust the man she trusts least, especially when the past collides with the present and the truth of it all is uncovered.
A copy of this title was provided via Author for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: