Thursday, July 20, 2017

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Searching for Irene by Marlene Bateman


Anna Coughlin is a modern 1920s woman, armed with a college education and a partiality for numbers. Now, within the walls of a fantastic castle-like mansion in the hills of Virginia, her skill will be tested as never before. Hired to serve as financial advisor to wealthy Lawrence Richardson, Ann finds the welcome she receives anything but warm. Lawrence's handsome but antagonistic son Tyler wants nothing more than to send her packing. The household staff isn't much better, but who can blame them, considering the way Lawrence's last advisor, Irene, disappeared...

Convinced that one of the enigmatic members of the household had something to do with Irene's disappearance, Anna doesn't dare trust anyone—not even temperamental Tyler Richardson, who, despite her best intentions, is beginning to steal her heart.

A series of frightening incidents ensnare Anna in a maze of intrigue, putting her life in peril. But even as Anna begins uncovering the secrets hidden within the mansion's stone walls, she harbors a secret of her own. Now, the only question that remains is whether she will disappear as mysteriously as Irene.


I really enjoyed this book as both an historical mystery and romance.  I found the characters interesting, the setting compelling, and the mystery intriguing.  Anna makes for a great main character as a young female in the workforce at a time when many still considered the home the best place for women.  When she arrives at Ashton Place to work as a financial secretary she's surprised to discover just how off things are in the family. The oldest son, Tyler, greets her quite rudely and tells her to leave, the housekeeper is also rude, and the secretary whose place Anna has taken, has disappeared.  It quickly becomes clear that Anna's reasons for being at Ashton Hall are more complicated than they seem and the mystery of Irene's disappearance is at the heart of it all.  As Anna gets to know the family, things get increasingly complex and confusing as she tries to figure out who might be behind Irene's disappearance.  But the Richardson family is not entirely happy with two sons who are fighting over control of the estate, a father with failing health who struggles to please both his sons, a father who ignores his son, and a woman who wants more than anything to become the estate's next mistress.  Add to this, Anna's growing attraction to Tyler Richardson and she's got a real mess on her hands.  Bateman has done a great job creating a mystery full of twists, turns, and a deliciously creepy and confusing atmosphere.  She's also done a good job of creating a group of characters with depth, strengths and weaknesses which makes it harder to guess who the guilty party is.  I can highly recommend this one for those who enjoy historical mysteries with a touch of romance.  I also enjoyed the romance because it's not a typical too-sweet-for-words romance either.


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