Title: Heroes Are My Weakness by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Publisher: William Morrow
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Mystery
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss
New York Times bestselling author Susan Elizabeth Phillips is back with a delightful novel filled with her sassy wit and dazzling charm
An isolated island off the coast of Maine.
A man. A woman.
Puppets. (Yes, puppets . . .)
And . . .
A mysterious house looming over the sea . . .
He’s a reclusive writer whose imagination creates chilling horror novels. She’s a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids’ puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill his characters with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill an audience with laughs. But she’s not laughing now.
Annie Hewitt has arrived on Peregrine Island in the middle of a snowstorm and at the end of her resources. She’s broke, dispirited, but not quite ready to give up. Her red suitcases hold the puppets she uses to make her living: sensible Dilly, spunky Scamp, and Leo, the baddest of bad guys. Her puppets, the romantic novels she loves, and a little bit of courage are all she has left.
Annie couldn’t be more ill prepared for what she finds when she reaches Moonraker Cottage or for the man who dwells in Harp House, the mysterious mansion that hovers above the cottage. When she was a teenager, he betrayed her in a way she can never forget or forgive. Now they’re trapped together on a frozen island along with a lonely widow, a mute little girl, and townspeople who don’t know how to mind their own business.
Is he the villain she remembers, or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.
It’s going to be a long, hot winter.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips puts a unique contemporary spin on the gothic horror genre in her latest release, Heroes Are My Weakness. Part mystery, part romance, this enthralling novel opens with Annie Hewitt’s return to Peregrine Island, where she immediately crosses paths with her teenage crush, Theo Harp. Unsettled by the memories of a long ago summer when their romance abruptly ended with an attempt on her life, Annie tries to keep her distance Theo. However the two join forces to uncover the identity of the person responsible for trying to force Annie off the island.
Annie is a plucky and down on her luck heroine who is very conflicted about her return to Peregrine Island. Although she is haunted by memories of that fateful summer, she has little choice but to stay in the cottage near Theo’s estate while she searches for the valuable legacy bequeathed to her by her late mother. She quickly becomes entangled in the lives of Theo’s housekeeper, Jaycie and her troubled four year old daughter Livia. As she falls victim to malicious acts that have taken a decidedly dangerous turn, Annie’s suspicions come very close to costing her a treasured friendship.
Theo has a dark and brooding presence with a seemingly sinister past. With those long ago memories of their time on the island still fresh in Annie’s mind, she finds it impossible to trust him. As she learns more information about a recent tragedy in his life, she is sympathetic but wary when he strikes a deal with her that puts them in closer contact than either is comfortable with. Annie is soon confused when the disturbed boy she remembers is nothing like the kind, considerate man he has become. Once they put aside their differences, their smoldering attraction flames out of control, but is there any chance of a future for this mismatched couple?
The isolated island location gives the novel an eerie feel that only intensifies once it becomes apparent someone is trying to force Annie into leaving. However as Theo and Annie’s relationship becomes less antagonistic, the overall story gradually lightens up. As their encounters become less hostile, the two exchange witty banter and their discussions gradually become more personal. Their growing closeness is enhanced by their passionate lovemaking, but Annie continues to keep an emotional distance from Theo.
Heroes Are My Weakness is an absolutely riveting novel. The characters are multi-faceted with interesting quirks and insecurities. The storyline is well-developed, fascinating and brilliantly executed. With plenty of secrets to uncover and intriguing mysteries to solve, Heroes Are My Weakness is not the typical Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ novel but that is what makes it such a wonderful reading experience. Warm and witty with a dash of suspense and romance, it is a lovely story that old and new fans are sure to love.