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Cover of The Image of Her by Lorna Peel
Released: May 2016
ISBN: 9781311081926
ASIN: B01DFRFEIM
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THE IMAGE OF HER
Author: Lorna Peel
Length: Novel
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Price: $4.99

Rachel Harris had been abandoned as a baby on the steps of a church-run children’s home in England, then later adopted. Who was her birth mother and what were the circumstances which led her to give up her baby?

Searching for someone who doesn’t want to be found seems a hopeless task, until Rachel meets Matthew Williams, a Church of England clergyman.

Then anonymous and increasingly frightening attempts begin and threaten to end their relationship. Are these actions connected to the mysterious events surrounding Rachel’s abandonment?

Excerpt
Hot Vicar Alert! The e-mail screamed at Rachel out of a sea of spam and she glanced at the sender. Kathy Roberts. Hmm. It could mean anything but was doubtless some rubbish joke doing the rounds or, worse still, one which Kathy in her infinite wisdom had dreamt up herself. Rachel braced herself and opened it.

Hi Rachel,
That caught your attention, didn’t it? :-) Anyway, I know HOT and VICAR don’t belong in the same sentence but trust me on this one, OK? Reverend Sykes is on holiday and this guy’s the locum, or stand in, or whatever they’re called in the Church of England, and he’s GORGEOUS. I managed to be at Gran’s when he was doing the rounds of the pensioners and he’s just WOW—tall, dark and handsome—the works. So off you pop to morning service in Upton on Sunday, have an ogle, and you can thank me profusely on Monday, OK? :-)
Kathy

Have an ogle? In church? At the vicar? Well, thank you, Kathy, subtle as ever. Rachel closed the e-mail then began to wade through the rest. It was high time she got one of those spam filter thingies. A second e-mail from Kathy caught her eye and she opened it, wary of its content.

Sorry, Rachel, I forgot to mention that I managed to arrange for said hot vicar to call around to you in the next couple of days about the weird noises you’ve been hearing at the cottage. With a little luck he won’t think you’re nuts and it’ll take your mind off your mum’s nagging for a bit. Good luck with the job interview tomorrow. Found a lodger yet? Ask hot vicar to move in. :-)

Rachel’s mouth fell open. Oh, God, Kathy had told a complete stranger about the weird noises. She rested her forehead on the laptop keyboard and groaned. She ought to be worrying about her job interview, not this. Hot vicar? She couldn’t help but laugh...complete contradiction in terms...
* * *
The job interview went well, Rachel mused the following day, as she treated herself to lunch in town. She’d just managed to clear her mind of vicars—hot or otherwise—and weird noises for the half hour duration. She collected her car from the garage, tried not to wince as she paid for the new back bumper, then drove home. She’d better get the job now, and try to remember to bring the advertisement for a lodger with her the next time she went out.

A green Volkswagen Golf was parked outside the cottage as she pulled up. Zippy, her Irish terrier, yapped at the garden gate but she shushed him before going to see who the visitor was.

The driver’s window lowered. “Rachel Harris?”

“Yes?” She shaded her eyes against the sun as a tall man dressed in black got out. “Sorry, I’ve been in town.”

“That’s okay.” His response sounded cheerful. “Your friend wasn’t sure what time your job interview was.”

“My friend?” She tried not to sound suspicious and, to her relief, he laughed kindly.

“Mrs Roberts asked if I could call. My name is Matthew Williams.”

She frowned. This wasn’t hot vicar already? If so, he was scarily eager to learn more about the weird noises. She’d better make sure.

“Sorry, I’m not with you. Are you a Jehovah’s Witness, or something?” She cringed as soon as the words were out of her mouth. Now you’ve said so, he must be. “Because, well, I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m not—”

“I’m Church of England, actually. I’m standing in for Reverend Sykes while he’s away on holiday. Here.” He fished into his jacket’s inside pocket and handed her a business card.

She squinted at it. Reverend Matthew Williams. Editor of The Message - The Magazine of the Church of England Diocese of Aldabury. He lived in Aldabury but—she noted the address—in one of the awful 1960s tower blocks on the north side of the city and not in a vicarage. This had to be hot vicar but, she raised her eyes to him again, he wasn’t wearing a dog collar either, just a plain white shirt under the black suit.

“I’m not a churchgoer, sorry.” She made an awkward shuffle from one foot to the other. “I don’t know what Kathy’s been saying. I know I’ve had a lot of bad luck lately, what with my gran dying, my job disappearing, and then pranging the car. But these things come in threes, don’t they, and I’ve just had my third so…”

“I’ve come about the house, actually.” He gave the old stone cottage, covered in Boston ivy, an appreciative glance. “Your friend was worried about you, er, hearing noises?”

Bingo. He was definitely hot vicar.

What the reviewers are saying
Fascinating and mysterious
The Image of Her is a beautifully written story about a young woman who is searching for the mother who left her on the steps of a church . . . Besides help trying to find the truth Rachel also finds the love of her life in Matthew. Rachel and Matthew are both loving and good characters. Rachel also isn't afraid to confront people when she needs to. I really liked that about her character. Matthew is a sweet and dedicated man and he is perfect for Rachel . . . Lorna Peel has written a fascinating story. She gives just the right amount of information and perfectly times when the reader is ready for something new. This kept me hooked and made me want to keep reading. Within the mystery and romance also lies the truth and the full story really shocked me. This is my first book by Lorna Peel and after reading The Image of Her I know it won't be my last. ~Anniek Snowroses, Amazon

• • •

This book is good. The character development is steady, and gives well developed characters. The story itself is set in present day England and is a combination of contemporary romance and a little bit of suspense added in. There are some adult situations in the book so I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in contemporary romances with more adult story lines. ~ Mathyaet, Amazon

• • •

Good Reading
The Image of Her was a decent mystery that kept me turning pages . . . I have to admit that the book left me breathless frequently, right from the get go . . . I love the author’s light and fun tone of voice. The first chapter was an absolute joy to read and hooked me into the rest, not necessarily because of the story, but because of the two main characters. So fun! There is a remarkable amount of British slang and words I was unfamiliar with as an American. It did pop me out of the story quite a lot, but it’s a British setting and I wouldn’t have expected otherwise. All in all, though The Image of Her was a satisfying read. More just story and mystery than romance, it still made my heart very happy. It’s unusual today to find a book that isn’t all about the sex. This isn’t, and I think it really helped the relationship to grow more deeply and believably. I don’t doubt that Rachel and Matthew will live happily every after. ~ LAS Reviews, Amazon

• • •

This was an interesting read. I feel as though it is a unique and believable story, which makes it easy to connect with. From the start, this story had a certain pull to it . . . I thought the characters were created well and made the story interesting. The had a bit of variety and their interactions made the story a lot more fun and easier to follow. It never felt burdened by the level of interaction, verbal or otherwise. I liked watching them grow and change . . . Overall this was a good read. I would recommend giving it a go. ~ Naturalbri, Goodreads

• • •

I really enjoyed this book. It had everything in it that I enjoy. The characters weren't stereotyped at all, especially the dishy minister. I wanted everything to work out for them. I also loved the faint sense of undefined menace that sometimes grabbed me. I knew something was wrong, but what was it and who was responsible? The plot had many twists and turns and was unique. I found myself reading when I should have been doing other things. I didn't guess the whole truth until the author revealed it. I don't think you would either. ~ Elaine P Cantrell, author of Fortuna

 

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