The Silent Rose
For once, here’s a paranormal book where the paranormal element is truly creepy. No cute ghosts out of the Funky Phantom cartoon. These manifestations are scary. Unfortunately, the main characters get caught in a cycle of deception and distrust, and unneeded details slow the pace unnecessarily.
Devon James stays at the Stafford Inn with her fiancé. Though the building is charming, the atmosphere is eerie. Devon has a vision and realizes something terrible happened at this place. Shortly thereafter, Devon breaks up with her fiancé and decides to write a book about the Stafford. In her quest for answers, Devon runs across Jonathan Stafford, the wealthy businessman who owns the inn. Jonathan is fiercely protective of his family name. So much so that he keeps important facts from Devon and tries to charm her into forgetting about her book.
Eventually, Jonathan starts getting close to Devon. He even introduces her to his paralyzed son, Alex – the main reason he is so protective of his family name. Their relationship runs into roadblocks because of betrayals. Just when you think they’ve worked out their problems, something else tears them apart again.
When the story begins, Devon is recovering from problems with anxiety. Her sensitivity drives her to find out what happened at the Stafford Inn. Sometimes, however, she is too sensitive, and her reactions to emotional incidents verge on the melodramatic. For example, when she sees Jonathan’s son in his wheelchair, she sways on her feet, then forces a smile. Disabled people love it when you respond to them like that.
Jonathan has devoted his life to two things: the business and his son. He refuses to let anyone get close to him, including his Asian mistress. He keeps trying to thwart Devon in her efforts. While I understood his devotion to his family, many of his actions rubbed me the wrong way. Reading Devon’s file, stolen from the office of her psychiatrist, was pretty low.
Many romance readers won’t like this book because the characters start out seeing other people. I wouldn’t have minded that in itself, but those other people added little to the book. Unfortunately, the subplot involving Devon’s relationship with her former fiancé made the book drag.
Luckily, the subplot involving Jonathan’s son, Alex, adds to the plot, and the reader eventually learns how he actually ties in to the plot. However, some strange things were going on that didn’t make much sense. For example, Alex’s psychiatrist recommended he see Alex less often, and Jonathan acquiesed. What kind of psychiatrist would consider less therapy to be therapeutic? Why did Jonathan agree?
In addition, the secondary characters weren’t kept in rein. Some important characters were introduced suddenly, without preamble. These characters often took the focus away from the relationship between the main characters. If not presient to the story, did we really need to know that much about coworkers, Devon’s parents, or Jonathan’s aunt?
The first chapter of The Silent Rose is spooky, and the promise of the paranormal element is met. Yet as strong as this part of the story is, I wish Kat Martin had concentrated even more on this aspect instead of letting the story go off into tangents far less intriguing. As a result, this is one fork in the road I don’t really recommend taking.