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Crystal Shadows by Michele Yount Thomas
The blurb: It seemed like a godsend. Teresa Hawthorne jumped at the chance to escape her life of drudgery by accepting a post as tutor to the wealthy Curtis family. She knew that a breath of scandal surrounded the owners of New Hampshire's resplendent Crystal Hills Hotel. But that was no concern of hers...
It was very much, however, the concern of Major Drake Curtis, the uncle of Teresa's young pupil, and the rudest man Teresa had ever met. For as old scandals were resurrected, and business at the hotel suffered, it began to seem as if someone was trying to ruin the Curtises. Someone who would stop at nothing to have his way. And the more Teresa fell under the spell of her magnetic employer, the more she herself became the unwitting target of a deadly conspiracy...

I've just read two other books by this author and the third time turns out not to be a charm. She can write very well, but I think with this one she stumbled on the plot. It was a rather boring read and I thought the ending was farfetched. Perhaps it wasn't such a good idea to read three books by the same author back to back. I've totally had it with the heroine blushing all the time. In a few minutes' conversation between heroine and hero she blushed THREE times!! The hero himself was a total boor; I really disliked him. He spoke very insultingly to a hotel guest, gave the heroine a hickey and slapped his sister-in-law in the face. Nice hero... Perhaps this was intended to give the heroine a reason suspect the hero at the end of the book. Of course he was innocent. Have we ever read a gothic where the hero actually IS the murderer? As there were very few suspects left by the end, in fact I would have been surprised if either one of them was the bad guy, so yay: a surprise ending! That didn't mean I liked it, though. I almost laughed out loud reading that the murderer got an excuse because murdering ran in the family. Pullease!
I was also bothered by the paranormal aspects the author used. The heroine is warned early on by someone who reads tea leaves and apparently was dead-on, though too cryptic to be of much use. Then there's an ominous archeological site near the hotel like a miniature stonehenge, where the heroine starts hearing chanting and feels terribly scared. This is explained as her being a sensitive. The book could have done without all this.

My verdict: a 6 out of 10.

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