Lillian’s Love – Laura Marie Henion

I reviewed this book for REALMS ON OUR BOOKSHELVES at the author’s request

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LILLIAN’S LOVE, located in the small town of Stony Point, is a concrete symbol of Lillian Baxter’s new life and new hope. Physical proof that life goes on despite her nearly fatal past.
Until two New Jersey detectives show up. They are on the hunt for a man responsible for two separate murders and Lillian knows their suspect well.

Detective Michael Fields works for the Sheriff’s Department and their BCI Unit. Michael understands and accepts Lillian’s reservations and he vows to protect her, make her see that she is not alone this time despite Lillian’s refusal of help. Her persistence to handle things on her own may cause the destruction and death of those around her, Lillian’s own life as well as LILLIAN’S LOVE a symbol of hope, freedom and one woman’s enduring sacrifice.

Lillian Baxter, bookstore-owner, has a past of domestic violence and her trust in men is damaged severely because of it. She has made a new life for herself, picking up the pieces one by one and she’s done well. When she’s attracted to her best friend’s brother, Michael Fields, she doesn’t want to act on it because of her past and because frankly their first encounter didn’t go to well. Besides, Michael is too dominant and too bossy.

Michael, detective for the sheriff’s department, is non-commitment kind of guy until Lillian. In his own charming way he woes Lillian into a relationship. He does this slowly and gently and determinedly, despite his own insecurities about commitment.
Michael’s relationship with Lillian and his transfer, after being shot, to the BCI Unit (Bureau of Criminal Investigative Unit) as a homicide investigator, puts him in the middle of it all when a serial killing stalker gets closer and closer to Lillian.
The way Henion describes these blossoming feelings and relationship is a great counterpart to the imminent suspense surrounding the serial killer stalking Lillian.

Just the prologue was enough to send shivers down my spine. It was the perfect introduction to this novel of romance and suspense.
Henion’s style is accessible, easy and fast-paced. You can tell by the story that she has extensive knowledge of law-enforcement and this book gives the reader a good taste of how police-departments and murder-investigations work.
It was very descriptive in the beginning which had it’s influence on the pace of the story but this was just in the very beginning, as soon as the story got going it read very smoothly. In some parts I was even reminded of the CSI television series I love to watch.

The people surrounding Lillian and Michael, friends, co-workers, family, formed a nice secondary cast. Complementary to both the main couple and the plot they all played their respective parts to make it a well-rounded story. Even the killer/stalker had his own point of view without betraying his identity. This made the suspense that bit more exciting, knowing his thoughts and motivations but having to guess who he was.

The plot was set up in a great way, leading the reader into a certain direction and then totally unexpectedly giving it a believable conclusion.
After reading numerous romance novels where the couple does the dive-in-head-first thing with their attraction and relationship I thought this was a refreshing and endearing love story of two every-day and easy-to-relate to people, complete with a first date and really getting to know each other, all embedded within the span of the 200 something pages. It was a traditional and original romantic suspense with the perfect mix of heartfelt romance and nail biting suspense.
It was the perfect combination of the love story and the terrific suspense that makes me want to read more by Laura Marie Henion.

Michael and his uncle Phil about Lillian:
“You think she’s out of my league?”
“You said that, not me!”
“But you were thinking it. I have had a few serious relationships in my life. I know about commitment.”
“Long weekends shacked up with some coed is not a commitment.”

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