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Her Deadly Inheritance by Beth Ann Ziarnik
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Her Deadly Inheritance

by Beth Ann Ziarnik

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Jill Shepherd is a Chicago genealogist who has been hiding from Leonore Bradwell, her vindictive aunt by marriage. Jill thinks Leonore despises her. I think 'rancor' and 'loathing' would be better words. Leonore is obsessed with Windtop, a beautiful Victorian mansion situated on Grand Island, Lake Superior, Michigan. Now that Jill's mother is dead, Jill's life is all that stands between Leonore and Windtop.

Her Uncle Drew, who never wanted to deceive his wife about his sister's daughter, persuades her to show up and claim her inheritance. He believes it's important even if it costs him his wife. Could it cost his niece her life? Did Leonore's obsession cost Susannah Bradshaw Shepherd her life? If you're a longtime mystery fan, as I am, there's a clause in the Bradshaw grandparents' will that should make you shake your head.

Leonore's reaction to Jill's return is just as bad as as Jill feared. Jill changed her mind about her deception because she became a practicing Christian six months before the book opens, but Leonore has no intention of forgiving her. (Although the novel uses the phrase 'became a Christian,' I prefer 'practicing Christian' for someone who actually tries to practice what Jesus preached. I'm sure that Jill and all of the other Bradshaws were baptized in infancy if only because that would have been the normal thing to do in their community.) It's pretty obvious that Aunt Leonore worships only Windtop and her son, Carver. Uncle Drew and cousin Tia don't even rate.

Uncle Drew is kindly, but he's let his work at the mill absorb too much of his time. Carver is an arrogant jerk. There's a past incident involving Carver, a kitten, and his mother's reaction that got my alarm bells ringing. Tia merely shows the lack of sufficient love and attention from her parents. Can Jill's sincere attempt to live as a true Christian rescue the girl like a brand from the burning?

Of course any romantic suspense novel needs a love interest. Will Clay Merrick, the restoration contractor who has been working on Windtop, provide one? He obviously has a secret agenda. I didn't guess it.

Jill has never known her father. Her mother's suicide while Jill was trying to track him down still weighs heavily on the young woman's spirit. To her horror, Jill finds reason to suspect that it was no suicide.
There's an incident involving Aunt Leonore and a party. ( )
  JalenV | Dec 9, 2016 |
Title: Her Deadly Inheritance
Author: Beth Ann Ziarnik
Pages: 266
Year: 2016
Publisher: Lighthouse of the Carolinas Publishing
My rating is 5+ stars.
This is a debut novel that surely is attention-grabbing from the first word till the very last one! Beth delivers to us a tale of family strife, heartbreak and surprises. On top of that, the main female character, Jill Shepherd, would rather stay in hiding and let the courts declare her legally dead than take possession of a house. Why? One reason is that Jill is very afraid of what she might find should she return and make herself known to an aunt who despises her and had despised her mother as well. Another reason is that Jill isn’t sure she can find the courage to walk into the very house where her mother was said to have taken her own life.
Jill is now a Christian and she turns to her Bible with a heart wanting to do what God wants her to do. She knows she doesn’t have the courage unless God provides it. She is also burdened with a load of guilt and needs the Lord to tell her what to do in order to face the past squarely. From the moment Jill lands on the island to show herself to the court as being alive, life will take many twists and turns for her. There is something she hadn’t counted on though and that is falling in love with Clay Merrick; however, he has something in his past that he doesn’t want uncovered.
The moment I started reading this suspense-filled story I was hooked! I couldn’t put the book down as the tension in the story was building, and while some mocked Jill’s faith there were surprises for those who came to know Christ as their Savior. I loved how Beth showed a reflection of reality in the heart of her main character, Jill, when she wanted to know if her mother knew Jesus before her death.
I enjoyed the constant uncertainty as to who the real antagonist of the story was because there were some times I thought it was one character only to think it another a bit later in the story. I thought the faith theme very strongly presented was so important in the novel as the characters faced their own mortality or just dealing with their life. The ending was brilliant and a nice touch to include the kitten named Buttons. I can only wonder if the author has a sequel in mind for this story or something brand new for readers to enjoy! Either way, I plan on watching for whatever Beth offers to us in the future!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255. “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” ( )
  lcjohnson1988 | Jul 24, 2016 |
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To my beloved husband
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5:00 a.m. Twelve hours before a judge would declare her legally dead.
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