Title: Drowning Rapunzel
Author: Annette Gisby
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Pink Petal Books
Cover Designer: Valerie Tibbs
Length: 217 pages
Recently released from a mental institution, Beth Gregory accepts a job as a live-in secretary/PA to the reclusive painter Josh Warrington. Beth’s long red hair fascinates him from the first moment he sees her and Josh wants her to be his Rapunzel for a series of fairy tale paintings he’s working on.
Beth has two major fears: that she will be sent back to the mental hospital and the visions which landed her there in the first place will return. They do; this time giving her glimpses of murders before they happen. Beth becomes the main suspect in the murder investigation and then she has the most disturbing vision of all: she will become the next victim…
Dr. Thornton appeared as soon as she was dressed and packed, almost as if he knew. He handed her a bottle of pills and a prescription. “In case you run out,” he said, patting her hand like a parent.
“I feel fine,” said Beth. “I don’t think I’ll be needing them.”
“Well, just in case,” replied the doctor, putting them both into her hand.
“Are you always that stubborn?” asked Josh with a smile.
“No,” said Beth. “I just don’t like taking medicine.” She suppressed a shudder, remembering the last time she’d been on medication at Harmony Hills. She didn’t mind the pain. Pain was real. Pain was something she could cope with, a drug-induced haze was not.
Josh hefted her overnight bag over his shoulder and after taking their leave of the doctor, made their way to his car. Once the bag was in the boot, he came back to check on her and help her into the passenger seat. The seatbelt rubbed uncomfortably against her stomach, but she put it on anyway. Josh started the engine and then turned it off again.
“Oh, I forgot. There was a letter for you this morning.”
“For me?” asked Beth, wondering who would be writing to her. “Is it from Alice?”
“Maybe,” said Josh. “It’s in the glove box.” He reached across her and pushed the button. The lid opened to reveal one white envelope inside. Beth bent over, almost strangling herself on the seatbelt; she had forgotten to loosen the tension. Her name and address were typed on the outside, but there was no stamp, no postmark. Hand delivered? Her hand trembled as she slit the envelope open. The message inside made her stomach churn even more.
“Beth? Beth, what is it?” She thrust the letter at him, the message embedded on her brain; there was no need for her to read it again. There were few words, but they stood out starkly against the white paper. Words that looked like they’d been written in dried blood. Words that caused her to shiver and shake, as if she was coming down with the ‘flu.
I know where you live.
Josh was quiet for a long time after he’d read the note. Beth saw him put the letter in the breast pocket of his shirt before he started the car again. The road he took was not the one to Holly Lodge, but it was one they’d been on before.
“The police station?” asked Beth, feeling her face lose its colour. “Why?”
“I don’t want to worry you, Beth, but hadn’t you noticed anything about Clare?”
“No, like what?”
“Like how much she looked like you.”
“No she didn’t,” protested Beth. “Clare had black hair.”
“Yes,” agreed Josh. “Long black hair. The missing girls had long hair as well.”
“So what are you saying, Josh? That because I have long hair I’m going to be the killer’s next victim?”
“I don’t know, Beth, but we should at least let the police see that note.”
As most know, I love a good romantic suspense book and Ms. Gisby didn’t disappoint on that level. What left me somewhat confused was the romance. More on that later.
The book started off a very good footing for any suspense fan. Trust me, I NEVER figured out the villain until it was revealed and I completely shocked. Oh and the last sentence in the book (before the Epilogue), I’m still shaking my head in wonderment. Never.ever.saw.that.one.coming. Outstanding job Ms. Gisby.
The suspense kept me turning the page. I just couldn’t figure out who the villain was and it was like I was obsessed to finding out who it was. The suspense writing was tight and the paranormal thread was clever. I’m still trying to figure out how that worked but trust me it did for this reader.
The secondary characters were well thought out and brought a depth to them that you don’t see often I romantic suspense. I especially liked Fiona and Sarah. Andrew, Beth’s brother, started off being a jerk but in the end, I began to understand why he was the way he was as person and brother. He didn’t make that journey for me until the end.
Josh and Beth were good characters in their own right but I never really felt the romance was there in spades. I appreciate that this is a sweet romance but I thought their romance was a bit rushed for me and in the end it never really got of the ground. I didn’t “see” the romance but I did feel the caring between them.
If you are looking for a good suspense story with an element of paranormal this book is totally for you. I can’t highly recommend it, just don’t think this is going to be highly on the romance. Its there, but very little.
Annette Gisby grew up in a small town in Northern Ireland, moving to London when she was seventeen. She writes in multiple genres and styles, anything from romance to thriller or erotica to horror, even both at the same time.
When not writing, she enjoys reading, cinema, theatre and travelling the world despite getting travel sick on most forms of transport., even a bicycle. Sometimes you might find her playing Dragon Quest or The Sims computer games and watching Japanese Anime. She lives in Hampshire with her husband, a collection of porcelain dolls, cuddly toys and enough books to fill a library. It’s diminishing gradually since the advent of ebooks, but still has a long way to go.