There’s a deadly secret in them thar hills—and gold, or so they say.
Deeply in debt to a wealthy local, Charles Sinclair, Dorothy Hodges’ father finally promises she’ll pay and in gold, no less. If only Dorothy could take to take the promises he spins out of thin air and turn them into that gold, all would be well.
With the help of a strange, rumpled man, Dorothy does manage to bring payment to one of Sinclair’s sons only to discover it won’t pay off the debt. Will the next payment be enough? The next?
When Charles Sinclair ends up dead, Dorothy is the obvious prime suspect, but Sinclair’s son isn’t so certain. Together they work to clear her name and find the real murderer of the Superstitions, but will they find the answers buried in those hills?
Find out in this next book in the Ever After Mysteries, combining beloved fairy tales and mysteries. The Lost Dutchman’s Secret offers a retelling of “Rumplestilskin” that requires more digging than a miner searching for The Lost Dutchman Mine.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Celebrate Lit Publishing. A positive review was not required.
The Lost Dutchman’s Secret by Rebekah Morris, the fifth installment in the Ever After Mysteries series, centers around a lonely girl living in a shack in the mountains with her neglectful father, and the adventure that comes her way after her father lays on her the burden of his debt. While the story deals with death, depression, and evil, it didn’t feel like a bleak narrative, because there was an undercurrent of hope running through it. The faith of the main characters and the way they chose not to wallow in misery or self-pity elevated the tone of the book in so many ways.
The interactions between the characters were perhaps my favorite parts, and I loved how the author brought in Kat, the self-proclaimed cousin who took the shy protagonist into her circle. Kat’s buoyant and outgoing personality contrasted so well with Dorothy’s reticence, and her efforts toward a certain amusing goal brought a delightful bit of levity to the darker parts of the narrative.
The romance aspect here is understated, which makes it perfect for the story, as it leaves room for the character growth and the mystery. There’s also a subplot that deals with Theo, who is the brother of the main character Artie, and what he struggles through over the course of the book, including his relations with his little sister Hazel. It was interesting to see how it all came together, and how the author brought light into the darkness and loss.
I will mention, though, that while I was intrigued by the characters from the early pages, there didn’t seem to be much progress within the first half or so, and it made some scenes feel repetitive, as though Dorothy was approaching the same problems the same ways, without really changing much. She came off as a timid character, but as the story went along, I got a better idea of the hidden strength that she had through her faith, and how she hadn’t yet implemented it in her interactions with people and situations that scared her. The author wrote the protagonist’s fear and uncertainty in realistic ways and really gets the reader to care about her journey and the transformation and growth the characters experience.
Recommended for those who enjoy historical retellings, solid character growth, and self-proclaimed cousin characters.