False Pretenses by Kathy Herman is the first Christian suspense novel in a new series Secrets of Roux River Bayou set in Louisiana, published March 2011 by David C. Cook Publisher in both paperback and ebook formats, available on Kindle and Nook among other ereaders. Over forty chapters of suspense that will keep you riveted once you become entwined in the lives of realistic characters who'll touch your heart and soul. Zoe and Pierce Broussard open a Cajun eatery, Zoe B's, and they're happily married for five years before a drug dealer threatens not only their happy union, but also their very lives. Boarders Vanessa and Ethan Langely and their young son, Carter, become involved in the danger when they attempt to help the Broussard family. Five years of deception on Zoe's part sets off a series of events that include a hanging from an oak tree on the Vincent farm that neighbors the Langely Manor to a fight for their very lives.
Someone is getting inside the manor despite the fact that all new locks have been installed on the doors and windows. Carter says he found a candy man in the closet in an upstairs bedroom. Is the intruding stranger real or only a figment of an active four-year old imagination? Sugarcane fields separate the manor from the farm and secret tunnels add to a vivid tale of forgiveness and grace. When a young newspaper boy is murdered, racial tension threatens the entire community. Vanessa and Ethan are renovating the manor as a bed and breakfast unaware of its unique history that will only add to its personal charm, which they discover from an unexpected source.
Vivid description aids readers in visualizing what a Louisiana Cajun community is like by allowing travel through the pages of a good book. Can Zoe and Pierce's lives be saved? And, if so, what about their marriage? He's a proud Cajun? Will pride get in the way of forgiveness and grace? This beautifully told story is available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com as well as other online bookstores. While it has a few word omissions and mistakes, I was able to overlook them for the story told and loved the themes and ending as well as the twists and turns. If you like Southern novels, I'd say this is one you won't want to miss. I'm glad I discovered it and can't wait for the others in the series. There was one spot where an error jumped off the page when Pierce and his father are talking toward the end of the book. They were sitting on the porch in a glider, then on a couch, then the father was pushing the glider. I noticed it because I'm a writer learning to hone my craft. As a reader, perhaps I wouldn't have paid it much attention. It's hard to produce a perfect book. My own novel has been through different reviewers and sets of eyes, and such an error was caught by the copy editor in a scene about a truck. I've corrected it, and I'm so glad I have an editor with this novel, because it amazes me at how many sets of eyes have read over my manuscript, including my critique group and others, and it sneaked past them. I was born and raised in Louisiana though, and I don't think I could change my name and pull off being a Cajun. The author did a great job of making what would seem impossible believable though.
I think of the author as the bird lady due to all the beautiful pictures she captures and shares on Facebook. After reading her novel, I feel I have a better picture of who she really is, a beautiful and gracious lady who wrote a beautiful and gracious story of suspense. There were times I didn't want to put the novel down because I wanted to see what happened next. I'd rate the novel four-and-half only because of the few errors, but I promise you the story spun is a five, and anyone who has a love for the South will enjoy this Southern homespun tale of majestic oaks and a plantation called a manor for all the right reasons. I can just see those sugarcane fields waving in the wind and picture that bayou in my mind. Visit Kathy Herman on Facebook and see for yourself her unique talent for bird photography as well as writing.