Friday, February 10, 2017

The House on Candlewick Lane

Can you believe it is Friday?  The week just flew by so quickly.  I spent the day doing chores around the house.  When you have pets, sweeping and dusting need to be done frequently.  Animal hair an build up quickly and soon you have pet hair tumbleweeds floating down the hall!

The House on Candlewick Lane is the latest novel by Amy Reade.  Dr. Greer Dobbins, an art history professor, is preparing to leave for work when she receives a call from her daughter’s school.  They want to confirm Ellie’s absence, but Ellie was sent off to school on the bus.  When the video surveillance is checked, it shows Greer’s ex-husband, Neill driving off with Ellie.  Upon checking the safe in her house, Neill has taken their passports (Greer’s and Ellie’s).  Neill has taken their daughter and fled the country.  He manages to stay one step ahead of the police.  When Greer finds out that Neill is heading home to Scotland with Ellie, she hops a flight.  Unfortunately, Neill managed to evade the police at the airport.  Now Neill has Ellie and can be anywhere in Scotland.  Greer is not leaving without her daughter.  She rents a house and starts searching Edinburgh.  Greer has the help of her sister, Sylvie (I believe a stranger on the street would be more helpful).  Late one night, Greer gets a text message from Neill.  He begs her to leave Scotland.  Neill has run up gambling debts that he cannot repay.  They have threatened Ellie’s life (which is why he took off with her).  Neill is afraid that Greer will lead the lenders right to him.  Greer does not heed his advice.  Greer is visiting St. Giles Cathedral when she is attacked.  A few days later, someone breaks into their home and harms Sylvie.  The culprits are upping their game.  But Greer will not let them deter her from finding her daughter.  Will Greer be able to find Ellie before the criminals?

I have read all of Amy Reade’s novels.  The House on Candlewick Lane is not up to Ms. Reade’s normal standards.  I thought the novel got off to a slow start (I think water freezes at a faster pace).  The pace does not pick up until after Greer is attacked at St. Giles Cathedral.  We slowly get to find out more about Neill and his family (I do not know why anyone would marry into this family) in the second half of the novel.  The mystery gets more intriguing in the last half of the book (everything starts to make sense).  I wish the author had gone back and redone the first half of the book.  For a smart woman, Greer makes many missteps (bad choices).  The safe where she keeps her passports was not locked (in case she forgot the combination), she fails to tell the police that Neill is from Scotland (which delays them in staking out the airport), and she never checked on Neill’s gambling problem after the divorce (it is the reason they divorced).  Greer is threatened with bodily harm, but she keeps going off alone.  I especially thought it was odd that Greer searched for her daughter in the various parks around Edinburgh.  If you had taken a child and were on the run, would you take a child to the park?  Greer is a hard character to like.  She has many nervous habits (like chewing on her fingernails), she is high-strung (gets faint and dizzy when she gets upsetting news), and has a temper!  She holds back important information from the police, but then runs to them with nonsense (and of course, likes to demand answers).  I give The House on Candlewick Lane 2.5 out of 5 stars.  The book has potential (it has some good bones), but it needs reworking (rewriting and editing).  I felt that the romance in the novel was a little rushed and not suitable to the situation.  Greer meets a man on the plane and they keep gravitating towards each other.  If your child was missing and in danger, would you go out on a date?  I also did not like the addition of Sylvie, Greer’s sister.  Sylvie is flighty and self-centered.  She was more concerned about spending time with her boyfriend, Seamus and having him stay with her on Greer’s dime (he was recently released from prison on an assault charge).  The ending felt rushed.  The author, though, does manage to tie up all the loose ends and provide readers with answers to their questions.   Sylvie and Seamus’ story continues in Highland Peril which will be out in September.  While I did not enjoy The House on Candlewick Lane, I do recommend reading Amy Reade’s The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor and Secrets of Hallstead House.

I sincerely hope you have a nice, relaxing evening.  I am going to cook dinner, read, and watch Grimm and Sleepy Hollow.  I will be reviewing Death and the Gravedigger's Angel by Loretta Ross tomorrow.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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