Monday, August 15, 2016

Repressed by Elisabeth Naughton

Hidden Falls is exactly as Samantha Parker left it—small, insular, and prone to gossip. Eighteen years have passed since she witnessed her brother’s murder, but she’s still the talk of the town. Until a handsome child psychologist with haunting memories of his own arrives.

Dr. Ethan McClane isn’t exactly a newcomer. If it weren’t for his latest case, he’d never set foot back in Hidden Falls. Thankfully, no one seems to recognize him as the troubled teen from years past. Not even Sam, the delightfully sharp and sexy high school chemistry teacher he can’t stop thinking about.

When Sam and Ethan work together to help one of her students, sparks ignite. But Sam’s hazy memories of a long-ago night concern Ethan, and unlocking the repressed images reveals a dark connection between them. As the horrors of the past finally come to light, their relationship isn’t the only thing in danger. A killer will strike again to keep an ugly secret hidden. This time no one will be safe.

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 stars

Repressed memories and a small town full of secrets make for an exciting romantic suspense story. Eighteen years ago, something awful happened in Hidden Falls and when the only witness returns to the town, she is made to feel less than welcome.

For a suspense, I felt that the pace of this story dragged in places and my attention wandered. I enjoyed the whodunit element to this story, though I felt the identity of at least one baddie was revealed far too soon. Parts of the story were too easy to piece together, but there was a welcome (and essential) uncertainty until the very end.

Samantha is a likeable, sympathetic lead, but like too many fictional heroines, she is sometimes too stupid to live, hanging out in her dark school after hours, trusting obvious suspects, returning to the scene of a crime… For a chemistry teacher, she doesn’t have a whole lot of common sense when looking out for herself.

Ethan and Will compete for the role of romantic lead and the secrets and uncertainty surrounding both men added suspense to the story. Even when romance develops, both Samantha and readers are spooked and cautious. While this added to the tension and suspense in this story, it made it difficult to invest in the romance.

While I enjoyed this overall, I felt some revelations needed more consideration and I would have liked to have seen Samantha’s character developed to the point that I really cared about her.

I was delighted to get the opportunity to review this novel, as I loved Wait for Me also by Ms. Naughton. This is in a similar vein, in the sense that there is an underlying mystery, which is a lead character's memory has hidden away – in this case due to childhood trauma, and which has a very significant bearing on the plot.

The romance is well done, and there is no denying the chemistry between Ethan and Sam. I liked how their roles meant that they naturally met up, and had to deal with each other on a professional and personal level. Thomas was a very interesting addition to the story, with a great twist at the end too.

All in all, I think it did a great job of giving the reader the feel of the community, the people in power and authority, and the way that a secret can remain buried. I totally bought into it being a real possibility, and enjoyed how it unfolded. I loved Ethan's family and even though they did not take a leading role, together they made everything seem more real, as well as providing some much needed sanity!

Really good, involved storyline and enjoyable romance.

Before topping multiple bestseller lists—including those of the New York Times, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal—Elisabeth Naughton taught middle school science. A voracious reader, she soon discovered she had a knack for creating stories with a chemistry of their own. The spark turned into a flame, and Naughton now writes full-time. Besides topping bestseller lists, her books have been nominated for some of the industry’s most prestigious awards, such as the RITA® and Golden Heart Awards from Romance Writers of America, the Australian Romance Reader Awards, and the Golden Leaf Award. When not dreaming up new stories, Naughton can be found spending time with her husband and three children in their western Oregon home.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Repressed (Deadly Secrets #1) by Elisabeth Naughton to read and review.

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