Book Review: Vertigo by Gwenan Haines

Gwenan Haines
Published February 2013
The Wild Rose Press

When attorney Blake Cartwright abandons a successful career to turn a dilapidated lighthouse into an inn, everybody thinks she's gone a little bit crazy. After witnessing a body fall from the tower, Blake wonders if they might be right. According to local legend, the spirit of a former keeper's wife lures women to their deaths in the icy water below. Has Blake witnessed a suicide, seen a ghost--or is she just seeing things?

Declan Hunter, the mysterious man she hires to help with renovations, doesn't help matters. The man with the Navy SEAL physique claims to be nothing more than a local handyman, but Blake's instincts warn her not to trust him. As the mystery deepens, she finds herself drawn into a dangerous labyrinth of secrets, lies, and murder. But the most serious danger of all may be falling for a man determined to leave her.

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My Review: I love lighthouses, so the concept of a romance/mystery/haunted tale set against the backdrop of a Maine lighthouse was very appealing to me. This book did not disappoint. Blake is a city girl who decides to leave her New York life behind in favor of purchasing a lighthouse she intends to convert into an inn. She discovers her lighthouse comes with more than she bargained for--a mysterious, sexy love interest, a small town full of secrets, and a ghost who haunts her lighthouse and her dreams.

I really sank into this story once I began reading. Blake was a likable character, not at all the 'typical' spoiled city girl. She's a woman who is realistic, intelligent, and not afraid of a little hard work. She's strong, but still has a soft, loving interior. I've read so many contemporary romance novels where the author works so hard to convince the reader of the strength of the heroine, we're left with a prickly, unlikable bad-ass who is not only closed off to the idea of romance, but isn't deserving of it. At last, I've found an author who knows how to craft a romantic heroine. Blake is strong, yet soft; friendly, yet suspicious when necessary. She isn't afraid to let people into her heart, and for me, this is the best part of the book. She opens her heart and enhances the lives of everyone around her in unexpected ways.

Blake--and the story itself--is not without flaws. The ending is really, really good, but there was one tiny element that nagged at me. I can't tell you what it is without giving up a major plot point, and I refuse to spoil this book for any reader. I can say this--the tiny element that nagged at me wasn't enough of an issue to keep me from turning the pages. I absolutely recommend this book to everyone! It's a wonderfully well-written book I thoroughly enjoyed.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

For more information about Vertigo and Gwenan Haines, you can read my interview with author.