Book Review: Where the Light Enters by Sara Donati @akaSaraDonati @penguinrandom

Where the Light Enters
The Waverly Place Series #2
Sara Donati
Berkley, September 2019
ISBN 978-0-425-27182-7

Where the Light Enters is a massive 672 page book that starts off in an epistolary fashion as Dr. Sophie Savard waits for her husband, Cap Verhoeven, who is afflicted with tuberculosis, to die. They are in Switzerland in an attempt to prolong his life, but when that proves to be in vain, Sophie, and Pip, her little dog, return home to New York. The year is 1884 and, although I believe Sophie’s history with Cap is detailed in a previous novel, that Cap was part of the wealthy New York society clique and married to a mulatto physician is an integral part of the plot.

Sophie tries to make her way both as a physician, a wealthy widow in high society, and a part of a large integrated family from all sorts of backgrounds. She also becomes, with her cousin Anna, another physician, involved in a horrific act of crime. Anna is married to a police detective who is charged with finding a murderer who’s method of killing is especially cruel. It seems the killer is an abortionist who uses expertise in surgery to murder the victims. Who better to help identify such a person than a couple of women doctors?

But don’t read this story as a mystery. It really isn’t. Very soon we can make a good guess at the killer. Even that seems almost incidental as the book could also be identified as a psychological morality story. Or simply a historical detailing not only the prevailing attitude toward women doctors, especially one of color, but of the fashions and mores of the time. And possibly, given the familial aspects, a feel good tale of love and acceptance.

Something for every reader, melded together in the best possible way. The details are wonderfully compelling and you may just find yourself immersed in the historical period.

If I had a problem with the story, it’s that a great many characters were introduced from the first and, although maybe it was just me, I did have a bit of trouble keeping them separate.

Reviewed by Carol Crigger, September 2019.
Author of The Woman Who Built A Bridge (Spur Award Winner), Yester’s Ride
and Five Days, Five Dead: A China Bohannon Novel

Book Review: Alpine for You by Maddy Hunter

Alpine for You
Maddy Hunter
Pocket Books, February 2003
ISBN 0743458117
Mass Market Paperback

Emily Andrew, currently unemployed, agrees to go along with her grandmother on a seniors’ tour to Switzerland. After all, what can go wrong when you’re surrounded by a bunch of, well, old people? And she can fend off the advances of the smarmy tour escort without too much trouble.

She should have known better. First, the hotel has no reservation for her and her grandmother. The food is less than appetizing and she’s been stuck permanently at a table full of people she’d just as soon avoid. Then, she discovers that apparently at least one person can’t handle smarmy tour escorts and the man is found dead in the middle of their first night in Lucerne.

Since he died under questionable circumstances, the police are called in and Emily meets the detective, Etienne Miceli, the man of her dreams, the man whose children she wants to have, the man who can make her toes curl just looking at her. This may turn out to be a great trip, especially as she’s been asked to take over as tour escort and all her trip expenses will be paid. There’s a real tour guide with them so being an escort couldn’t be but so tough, could it?

Then again, anyone who thinks a classroom full of kindergartners must be horrendous has never had to deal with 30 senior citizens—cranky, eccentric, lascivious, demanding. The only bright spot is that Etienne seems to return her interest despite the fact that she always looks like something the cat dragged in, thanks to lost luggage, endless rain and fog, and a few dives into rivers and lakes to retrieve an errant toupee, among other things. And then more bodies start to appear and this is, after all, her problem since she’s the group’s escort, solver of all dilemmas.

This first in a new series is delightfully fresh, with a great deal of humor, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Decidedly a cozy, it does have a little bit of a sexual edge but it’s all talk, mostly very funny. I’m really looking forward to more from author Maddy Hunter and am happy to note that the wait won’t be too long as the second in the series is due out in September 2003.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2002.
Review first published on in 2002.

Addendum: after too long a wait (no fault of the author’s), the 7th in the series, Dutch Me Deadly, was released in February 2012 by Midnight Ink. It’s on my Nook now and I can hardly wait to read this next in a series I’ve really missed.