Everyone has a few proverbial skeletons in the closet. Perhaps it’s a great uncle who may have been on the right side of the law but was a good friend of Al Capone. Or a great grandmother who ran away with the best man on her wedding day. Maybe you just have an aunt who has intimate talks with Elvis every day ignoring the fact that he’s dead. All are harmless characters, really having no effect on your current life—but what if they did? What if someone digging into your past unearthed a series of family scandals that could blow the lid off of your nice, comfortable life? You’d probably do anything to keep your life comfortable. That’s where Barrett Browning, the heroine of Ann Macela’s newest novel, Windswept, comes in—she’s about to blow the top off.
Barrett Browning is excited about her newest assignment weaving letters, journals and records of Windswept Plantation together to form a comprehensive family history. This is exactly what she needs to get her career heading in the direction she wants. The only problem is the patriarch of the family who hired her suddenly dies, leaving the project in the hands of his handsome grandson, Davis Jamison. Barrett needs to convince Davis that a thorough family history would be a good thing. Working against her is Davis’ cousin, Lloyd, who is convinced that to dig into the past will destroy all the Jamisons, but he is unclear why.
Davis Jamison is a man of his word first, a business man second, and a very shrewd business man at that. He has his doubt about the family history project his grandpa started, especially with Lloyd and his aunt practically doing a dance to get him to stop. He really can’t see how something in the past will affect him, and then there is the matter of Dr. Barrett Browning: beautiful, intelligent Dr. Browning. There is no doubt in his mind that getting to know Barrett would be an interesting proposition. To accomplish this, he needs her close by. Family history is starting to look not only do-able, but also imperative.
The Windswept family history project includes the diaries of the first mistress, a starry-eyed bride besotted with her older husband. What could be so horrible about that? Someone is working over time to scare Barrett away from the project. Their antics only make Barrett more determined to stay and draws her closer to the enigmatic Davis Jamison.
There is a slow build to set the scene and fully draw the characters. This is important for what comes after—can’t have one without the other. Davis and Barrett strike sparks off each other while pursuing different agendas. Then there is Lloyd who creeps about bullying anyone who gets in his way. He never says what he is afraid of, which makes you wonder if he actually knows something. The one thing you do know is someone is willing to do anything to stop Barrett—even murder.
Windswept is a complex, intriguing tale that is more than a simple romance, much more. I would highly recommend this novel for the more discriminating romance reader who actually likes mystery and intrigues served up with her romance.
Reviewed by Morgan Wyatt