Title: Searching for Irene
Author: Marlene Bateman
Genre/Audience: Historical fiction, mystery, adult
Publication: Covenant Communications, 2017
Source: For review
Searching for Irene is a historical mystery set in a beautiful mansion in Virginia.
It’s the 1920’s and Anna Coughlin has just been hired by the wealthy Richardson family to set their finances in order after the mysterious disappearance of their former employee, Irene. While working for the elderly Lawrence, Irene is also forced to deal with his adult sons and their families who also reside at the vast estate. Tyler is not pleased about Anna’s help, but over time, a relationship begins to emerge as he starts to soften. Tyler doesn’t know that Anna is hiding a dark secret though that involves her uncovering the truth behind Irene’s disappearance.
I loved the dark feeling behind this novel, and the setting was absolutely breathtaking. I could totally envision this glorious estate and loved being transported to that time and place. I also enjoyed all the relationships that Anna begins to form with the various family members, many of whom were quite difficult to deal with. Behind all of those relationships though is a secret motive that Anna must hide. I was on the edge of my seat waiting to find out if and when her lies would be uncovered and what the repercussions would be.
I thought the mystery aspect was really intriguing as well. There were a lot of possible suspects, and it was fun trying to figure it all out. Though this isn’t what I would classify as a cozy mystery, it had a lighter aspect to it without a ton of twists and turns. It was a relatively quick and satisfying read, and I really enjoyed the character, Anna. I admired her for a number of reasons and felt she was a strong character.
All in all, this was an enjoyable mystery to read with a stand out setting. While it took place in the 20’s, it wasn’t overly “historical,” as the mystery and family dynamics were the main points of the story. Also noted is that it has some religious aspects, but not overly done. Recommended for fans of lighter mysteries.