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A Sparkle of Silver by Liz Johnson
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A Sparkle of Silver

by Liz Johnson

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Camilla “Millie” Sullivan is heartbroken. She’s being forced to move her beloved grandma Joy from the assisted living facility where she’s being cared for because her memory loss has worsened, necessitating more specialized care. Millie is strapped financially and can hardly afford to take care of herself. She’s out of options and feeling hopeless and dejected until her grandma mutters details about a long-held family secret that might help Millie to get the funds she needs. It involves her great grandmother, Ruth, an opulent Chateau and a diary containing a treasure map that’s hidden somewhere within the Chateau’s walls. Fortunate to get part-time employment at the Chateau, Millie sets about snooping to locate Ruth’s diary. Her efforts are thwarted when security guard, Ben Thornton, catches her and threatens to expose her. Desperate to escape dismissal, Millie recruits Ben to help her, promising to split whatever treasure she finds with him. Ben, carrying his own load and in need of money as much as Millie, agrees to help her. Together, Ben and Millie become a formidable team, uncovering more than a few secrets, and in the process, learning that love is more valuable than money.

I loved this story that required me to suspend disbelief; to accept the far-fetched plot and coincidences. In this book we find treasure hunts, thefts, homicide, scandal, romance, and lots of mystery. I enjoyed the dual narrative aspect, taking us from the present and back to 1929, just before the Great Depression when Millie’s great-grandmother, Ruth, and her friend, Jane, both bank tellers, were invited to be summer guests at the Dawkins Chateau on St. Simons Island, GA, by Mr. Dawkins’s “particular friend,” 🙄 Lucille Globe. (Mr. Dawkins’s wife and child were back in Chicago at their permanent residence.) The elusive diary describes Ruth’s activities in and around the Chateau during her visit. The juxtaposition of high-society socialites and the working class guests mingling at the Chateau was fun to observe—the common folks enamored with the lives of the uppercrust. Ruth was a poor farm girl from Central Georgia. Nineteen at the time, she resembled a fickle young girl who was confused about where she should direct her attention. I anxiously awaited which way Ruth’s heart would steer her. Would it be towards the lowly, solicitous gardener, George? Or the handsome, debonair, wealthy Claude?

This book is categorized as Christian fiction, but it was not littered with bible verses or laced with the author’s own interpretations of scripture, which I appreciated. It was not didactic at all, but simply lacked foul language, violence and immoral activity.

The narrator’s sugary, sweet southern accent took some getting used to initially, but once I acclimated myself to it I was able to relax and enjoy her performance. She did a very good job with the characters’ voices and her pace was just right.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this books. I liked the balance of unscrupulous characters and benevolent ones throughout the story, and how the romances within were convincingly developed. Recommended. ( )
  Lauigl | Nov 4, 2018 |
This is a wonderful romantic story that takes us between present day and slips back to 1929. I'm not sure sure which story make me swoon more, the present or the past. Millie is a delightful character who is barely making ends meet. She has a dear grandmother she is trying keep in a facility but the bills are piling up. It is not easy to watch a loved one slowly slip away in their mind. I wanted to go take Millie's hand and tell her everything would get better.

The details about the chateau that Millie works at is fascinating. I would love to explore every room there and perhaps stay in the library forever. Grandma Joy tells a story one day that surprises Millie. It is hard to tell if Grandma Joy is remembering something or just talking silly. If the story is true, there could be a big treasure waiting for Millie to find.

Ben enters the picture when he finds Millie sneaking around the chateau. What can she do to convince him to let her continue her search? I loved how the story bounces back and forth between time periods with seamless energy. The author has captured the true depiction of romance with a magical story. It flows with grace and I loved the added mystery of the diary. The words spoken in there are poetic, lovely and definitely a person deeply in love. The slow simmer of Millie and Ben's attraction to each other is movie worthy. They pretend they don't care, yet their eyes tell a different story. And what of the diary which holds secrets that could change lives? The race is on to discover what or if there is a treasure when others get wind of the rumor.

The story is one that slowly grabs at your emotions and takes you on a journey of discovering the inner workings of a lost love, the hope of a better future, secrets long thought to be buried and a love story that only a very gifted author can write. The kiss that I have been waiting to read about just about knocked me off my feet. It was soft, sweet, electrical between two people, and "suddenly our hearts were beating at the same tempo, racing faster than mine ever had before. " I won't say who the kiss was from, but for me I waited patiently for that moment in the story that would be worthy of "the kiss felt round the world." The book is everything you want in a story with romance, mystery and an ending that will satisfy all romantics. The author has surpassed my expectations and now has a huge fan. The ending is spectacular with intense drama and sadness that overwhelms me. The lesson in forgiveness and trust told by the characters will be one I will always remember.

" You have made me see a love I could not have imagined possible.”

I received a copy of this book from the author. The review is my own opinion. ( )
  Harley0326 | Nov 2, 2018 |
I’ve always been interested in the history of old homes or estates, wondering what would be told if walls could talk. In A Sparkle of Silver, journal entries from Millie’s great-grandmother do the talking. Millie learns about her families past by reading the journal entries and the mysteries that line the pages. While her grandmother is struggling with dementia, she still has glimpses of the past and offers Millie tidbits of information that fill in gaps from the journal. Millie begins searching for answers to questions that are unveiled of her ancestors by taking a job at the Dawkins’ Estate mentioned in the diary. Ben Thornton works at the estate as a security guard and through a twist of events begins helping Millie with her search for answers. He is hiding secrets of his own past that have landed his mother in prison. Even though he was only a child when his mother deceived others, he is haunted by her mistakes and is on a mission to bring restoration. Together, Millie and Ben, set out on a treasure hunt of sorts to find answers to many mysteries. What they uncover is painful and shocking, bringing a sudden halt to their blooming relationship. But with the wise words of Millie’s forgetful grandmother and Ben’s boss at his second job, they wade through the deep waters to find peace. A Sparkle of Silver is a fun, engaging and wisdom filled novel. It’s an easy and enjoyable read with a few twists and turns along the way!

*Thank you to NetGalley & Revell for my e-copy in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.* ( )
  coastandanchor | Oct 30, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I always enjoy a good mystery. I love trying to figure out the puzzle as the author gives clues along the way. The author did a great job weaving this treasure-hunting mystery together. The story was fast-paced and intriguing. I definitely read this one quick. This book is not overly spiritual in it's content. God is mentioned in a few of the chapters, but isn't woven into the story as much as other authors I've read. The overall theme of perseverance through trial is clearly seen as the characters struggle with past mistakes, and life trials that are out of their control. Overall, I enjoyed the mystery part of the story, but it's not a book I would read over and over again.

***I received this complimentary book from Library Thing Early Reviewers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own. ( )
  MandaT | Oct 30, 2018 |
A Sparkle of Silver is a great story of present and past colliding in the most unexpected ways. It is the story of family, broken pasts, forgiveness, love, and new beginnings. The first 1/3 of the book was rather slow for me. I had a hard time staying engaged for some reason. I had some questions that I felt weren't being answered and that was frustrating. I felt unsure about why the great-grandmother was at the Chateau. I don't know if I just missed it somehow but I was left confused about it either way. I was still left unsure at the end but it didn't really matter anymore the farther I got into the story. Someone mentioned that this book has one of the best clean first kiss scenes... I was a bit curious what they meant by that. At first this is what kept me reading when I was feeling disengaged. When would it come? What was so great about it? But as I kept reading I got reengaged and fell in love with the story. Then the scene came and it was spectacular. The last 2/3 of the story flew by and I found myself wanting to know more about the characters after the story ended. I loved the ending. It was unexpected and well written. I gave this book 4 stars out of 5.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. This has in no way influenced my review. All thoughts are my own. ( )
  kkireinaa | Oct 24, 2018 |
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Epigraph
The greedy stir up conflict but those who trust in the Lord will prosper. Proverbs 28:25
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For Aunt Chris, who invited me to fall in love with books when I was a child and to visit her on St. Simons Island when I was an adult. You are a brilliant cheerleader and an incredible woman. I'm so thankful you're my aunt.
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There were some things Millie Sullivan would rather forget.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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