~ About the Book ~
Ninety years ago, Millie Sullivan’s great-grandmother was a guest at oil tycoon Howard Dawkins’ palatial estate on the shore of St. Simons Island, Georgia. Now, Millie plays a 1920s-era guest during tours of the same manor. But when her grandmother suggests that there is a lost diary containing the location of a hidden treasure on the estate, along with the true identity of Millie’s great-grandfather, Millie sets out to find the truth of her heritage–and the fortune that might be hers. When security guard Ben Thornton discovers her snooping in the estate’s private library, he threatens to have her fired. But her story seems almost too ludicrous to be fiction, and her offer to split the treasure is too tempting to pass up . . .
Get ready for a romantic escapade through dark halls and dusty corners that will have you holding your breath and sighing with delight as two charming characters get caught up in the adventure of uncovering the past and finding their way to an unexpected future.
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: #1 Georgia Coast Romance
Release date: 16 October 2018
~ Excerpt ~
“You are your father’s daughter. But I’m not.”
Millie’s eyebrows rose, and she met Grandma Joy’s gaze. “You’re not what? Not your father’s daughter?” That couldn’t be. Grandma Joy’s dad, Henry, was a good man. There had been pictures of him all over the farmhouse where Millie had grown up.
Grandma Joy’s lips twitched, a sparkle in her eyes promising a good secret.
“You’re joking, right?” Millie couldn’t hold it back.
“My mother, Ruth, was a guest at the Chateau. Before she married Henry.”
Grandma Joy chuckled. “Is there another one?”
A picture of the grand estate on the coast, built by Howard Dawkins, flashed across her mind. Three stories of gleaming white glory reached by curving white staircases and rich archways, surrounded by lush lawns and waving palms. They said at night the lights could be seen half a mile across the ocean, glowing like a beacon, brighter than the island’s famous lighthouse. The Chateau adorned postcards in every St. Simons Island gift shop, and the library carried a whole shelf of books about the mansion and its short-lived golden era.
“I just . . .” Millie shook her head, trying to find her words. “You never said.”
“Oh, Mama mentioned it a time or two. I think she fell in love there.”
Her stomach lurched as Grandma Joy’s ramblings suddenly began to make sense. Ruth—Great-Grandma Ruth—had stayed at the wealthiest estate in Georgia during the late 1920s and fell in love there. And Grandma Joy wasn’t her father’s daughter, which meant . . .
Millie gasped and dropped to her grandma’s bed, perching on the edge.
Grandma Joy was the illegitimate child of one of the wealthy guests. Oil and newspapers, real estate and coal—Dawkins had been connected to millionaires of every ilk.
And even an illegitimate heir deserved something from the estate of her father. Right?
“Who was it?” Millie clapped a hand over her mouth. “I’m sorry,” she whispered between her fingers. “That was crass. I just meant . . . do you know who your father is?”
That twinkle in Grandma Joy’s eyes returned, mischief personified. “She would never say. She didn’t put his name on my birth certificate. After all, she was married to Henry before I was born. She said it was between her and her diary. And she hid that away at the estate. After all, she didn’t want the treasure map in it to get into the wrong hands.”
~ Review ~
Calling all treasure hunters—especially those who enjoy a sweet and slightly whimsical romance thrown into the mix! This story was a good mix of light-hearted and heartfelt as Ben and Millie sought to find a treasure that would not only relieve them of some heavy financial burdens, but also unravel the mystery of who Millie’s great-grandfather was.
Millie, in particular, was a likeable heroine, with her penchant for reading romance novels and carrying on conversations with herself. Her grandmother has dementia and Millie needs to find a home that can care for her properly, but that’s going to take a bucket load of money that she just doesn’t have. When, in one of her lucid moments, Millie’s grandmother tells her of a lost diary that holds the key to finding hidden treasure, Millie decides it’s her best—and possibly only—chance of finding the money she needs to make sure her grandmother is properly cared for. She’ll do anything she can to find that treasure—even promise half of it to the security guard who finds her snooping in the estate library…
Ben was a charming and very hardworking hero, holding down three jobs so that he could begin to make restitution for his mother’s crimes. Despite their initial wariness of each other, Ben and Millie made a fun team, and I found myself getting caught up in the hunt, the building romantic tension, and even in finding out what exactly DID happen during that summer Millie’s great-grandmother stayed at the estate. And the tension only increased as I began to realise there were more connections in this story than I originally thought.
But beneath all the fun and mystery, there were some serious lessons for Millie and Ben to learn as well—about forgiveness and grace, and who or what we look to as our provider. There were a few times when the plot felt a little weak—things that seemed a little too convenient or ‘arranged’—but on the whole, this was a fun way to spend a few hours.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher. This has not influenced the content of my review, which is my honest and unbiased opinion.
~ About the Author ~
By day Liz Johnson is the marketing director for a radio network. She finds time to write late at night and is a two-time ACFW Carol Award finalist. Liz makes her home in Tucson, AZ, where she enjoys theater, exploring local history, and doting on her nieces and nephews. She loves stories of true love with happy endings.