Because You’re Mine by Colleen Coble
Published By Thomas Nelson Fiction January 10, 2017
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Alanna has been plagued by tragedy. So it should come as no surprise that in the beauty that surrounds Charleston, all is not as it seems.
When her husband is killed by a car bomb while their band is on tour in Charleston, Alanna doesn’t know where to turn. Her father-in-law is threatening to take custody of the baby she carries, but the one thing she knows for sure is that she can’t lose the last piece of Liam she has left.
Their manager offers her a marriage of convenience to gain her U.S. citizenship and allow her to escape her father-in-law’s control. It seems like the perfect solution . . . but her doubts begin almost as soon as she arrives at Barry’s family home, a decaying mansion surrounded by swamp.
To make matters worse, Liam’s best friend survived the car bomb. She’s never really liked Jesse and now she can’t seem to get away from him. When he takes Liam’s place in their band, it’s almost more than she can bear.
But then things start happening. Things that could easily cost Alanna her life—or the life of her unborn child. Are they merely coincidences? Or is there something much more sinister at work?
Colleen Coble’s latest romantic mystery is a thrilling journey through deep grief, forgiveness and unexpectedly returned love.
Finding this story from one of my favorite mystery/romance authors available for review was like receiving a “just because” gift from a best friend. It has been a while since I have been offered a mystery to review and this story provided a fairly good one. Ms. Coble drops her readers right in the middle of the story of a Celtic music band on tour – with hopes of becoming as well known as Celtic Woman. Alanna and Liam are the band’s leaders and expecting their first child. They are still as in love as they were on the day of their wedding and are looking forward to a tour break, allowing them some much needed rest and time together. But when Liam goes with his best friend Jesse for ride in Jesse’s new car, tragedy of the worst kind explodes, literally, into Alanna’s life. Coupling this terrible tragedy with Alanna’s in-laws demanding custody of her unborn child, her anger at Jesse for Liam’s death, and her marriage of convenience/protection to her band manager Barry and Ms. Coble has the makings of a good mystery. Ms. Coble’s main character was fairly well developed within the pages of the story and I, for one, connected well with Alanna in her deep grief over Liam’s death. Having lost several close family members unexpectedly I understood the shock and pain that Ms. Coble sought to share with readers. And Alanna’s quick marriage to Barry, although not well advised, resonates with readers who will understand her attempt to provide herself with a refuge from a world of uncertainty and problems. Ms. Coble wrote a strong and deep-faith-based character in Alanna, developing her faith further throughout the story. Her willingness to put aside her own comfort for her child’s provision, her unflinching focus on solving the mystery of Liam’s death, not to mention finding her sister, will place Alanna in great danger multiple times – and each time she refuses to back down. She finds her comfort in God- ironically while still being angry and bitter at Him for Liam’s death. And although she is still suspicious of Jesse’s roll in her husband’s death she is willing to offer an olive branch of peace in an effort to ensure the band’s success in the music industry. I did find the story slightly predictable in its plot but the fleshing out of the story was good in spite of this. Barry’s actions would have put me on my guard sooner than I think Alanna did but as I’m an outsider to the story this might not be true if it had been a person I had known and trusted for a long while. And I did find it annoying that Alanna took Barry’s side against her best friends but I believe Ms. Coble had this happen as a result of Alanna’s anger and bitterness towards God that also drove a wedge between her other relationships. I was often reminded of the story Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier as I read this story but was pleased to see it was not a re-telling of that great work. And I loved how everyone received exactly what was due them by their actions – always a good ending for a story. Additionally, for Ms. Coble to have Liam brought back to Alanna at the end because of mis-identification and amnesia was the perfect way to help Alanna heal and let go of her anger and bitterness. I didn’t love this book 100% though. While I feel Ms. Coble did a good job developing Alanna, the other characters felt a little loose and less solid in their development. It was pretty obvious to me that Barry was the culprit in both murders early in this story and I would have liked him and others to have had better reasons for their actions. Ms. Coble needed to develop his obsession in more detail so that readers could see without a doubt the reasons for why he did what he did. I felt he was a rather weak, simple character. Jesse/Liam was fairly well developed but I would have liked to have had more of his thoughts and actions included in the story so I could connect better with him. I definitely was cheering for him to triumph at the end of the story but Ms. Coble only alluded to his faith and excellent personality; development of this character would have made the story much better in my opinion. As a fan of Celtic Woman and Scots-Irish Music, I was glad to see a story that was based in that field of entertainment. But I would have preferred to have seen more in the story about their actual music and touring to allow me to better understand the drive and personalities of the band members. I will share this story with others I know if they have an interest in this type of book but it might not be one I recommend first. I will be looking for more from this author but would hope that future stories will be back to the character development I have seen her use in previous stories. This book felt rushed and lacked the quality of writing I have come to expect from Ms. Coble. Hopefully her next story will be a vast improvement.
I received this E-book from Thomas Nelson Fiction via NetGalley free of charge in exchange for a fair and honest review. I will receive no fiscal compensation from either company for this review.