Monday, August 24, 2015

Heroes Are My Weakness, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

This wonderfully quirky novel is the newest release by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Mix a semi-gothic story line with slightly damaged, yet attractive protagonists (one of whom is a ventriloquist), an isolated island setting and hardy, resourceful islanders, and you have a recipe for a fun, fast, late summer read.

Annie Hewitt has come to Peregrine Island to preserve a bequest given to her mother by her ex-stepfather. Annie must occupy Moonraker Cottage, a small house located on the grounds of the much larger Harp House, for at least 60 days a year in order to keep it. Having no other visible means of support, except her puppets, and no place to live, she comes to the island following her mother's death. She never expects Theo Harp, a childhood nemesis and possible psychopath disguised as a Stephen King-type novelist, to be in residence in his family's home. As teens, Annie was convinced that Theo tried to kill her, and nothing since then has changed her mind. When she's again drawn into Theo's circle, she begins to question her past and when things start to take a sinister turn, she turns to first Theo, then another childhood friend, Jaycie, for answers.

The mystery of the story pulls you in, but it's the characters that keep you coming back for more. Annie and Theo are drawn perfectly as two people committed to finding the worst in each other. We are allowed to watch that all slowly change, as secrets from the past are revealed. Jaycie and her mute daughter Livia, along with the Peregrine islanders are all an important part of the narrative.

Ms. Phillips signature humor is definitely evident. There were some lines in this novel that actually made me laugh loud enough to be heard in the next room. You'll know them when you read them. If you're in the mood to end your summer on a highly suspenseful, romantic and funny note, this is your Labor Day gem. Highly highly recommend.

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