By Roberta L. Smith
Sometimes an author presents exactly what you want to read—the book has a beautiful, enticing cover; a little mystery; a ghost or two; strong, endearing characters, a storyline that keeps you turning pages; excellent writing; and an ending that ties up all the little issues that sometimes are left hanging! Quite simply, I found all this and loved The Secret of Lucianne Dove by first-time novelist, Roberta L. Smith!
The book opens in 1881 when Lucianne Dove is being hanged—for a murder she did not commit. Admittedly she had been a prostitute, having no other way to make money. And she had also been a lover to the man who had been killed. But that was as far as her guilt went. Even as he led her to the gallows, the sheriff felt that hanging Lucianne was wrong.
Before she was hung, she asked to speak, “Please. Please tell Janie to get in touch with her little sister.”
It was a hundred years later, more or less, when Mickey McCoy started having dreams. Mickey was still working as a news reporter, though he had passed the normal retirement age years ago. His career had been his life. Mickey had received awards for his writing, but he’d never felt that his work was completed. When the dreams started, he wasn’t sure what was happening, especially the one where Marjorie Main in Ma and Paw Kettle in Lake Tahoe, played for an entire night.
At about the same time but a couple hundred miles away in Lake Tahoe, a woman named Marjorie was in the midst of a quarrel with her daughter Luce. Luce had also been having dreams and her mother had refused to believe and accept anything that her daughter shared. While Marjorie wasn’t aware of it, Luce had taken to walking around in Virginia City, sometimes asking the question, “Do you know Janie or where I can find her?” The dead woman who came to Luce in dreams had told her what to do and where to go.
One of the places she was to visit was the Comstock Children’s Home. Though run down and threatened by individuals at the State Children’s Services, who supported it, there was much love and concern provided the children who still lived in this orphanage.
And so it was the spirit of Lucianne who entered into the dreams of those who would listen and see her, who worked to reveal the secret that had never been shared. Lucianne not only cleared her own reputation for murder but also provided the way through which Mickey McCoy was able to write her story and redeem his own life.
This heartwarming tale often centers on the Children’s Home and readers will soon find themselves involved in the lives of the director, staff, and the children. I have no idea whether any part of the story is based upon fact; however, if it wasn’t, it is certainly written as if it answers one of the greatest mysteries of the past.
A touch of history, a touch of romance...this is a beautiful story to curl up with on a dark and cloudy weekend! I’m hoping this writer considers a sequel! In the meantime, get a copy and enjoy The Secret of Lucianne Dove! You’ll be glad you did!
G. A. BixlerIP Book Reviewer