Title: If You See Her
Series: The Ash Trilogy #2
Author: Shiloh Walker
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Hope Carson may not look like a survivor, but she has escaped an abusive ex-husband and recovered from a vicious assault. Now she endures the painful memories and suspicious rumors surrounding her involvement in the attack. Her ex is a cop, so the last people she trusts are law enforcement officials—and she certainly doesn’t trust how the local DA makes her feel inside.
Remy Jennings should know better. He has no business falling for a woman who he suspects may have a deeply troubled mind. And even if he did make a move, she’d bolt like a frightened rabbit. But how can he deny a burning desire that threatens to consume him? As Hope’s past catches up with her in the worst way, Remy is determined to break through her defenses, earn her trust, and keep her safe in his arms—before it’s too late.
Confession: This is the first romantic suspense I’ve ever read. Yes, it’s true. 🙂 With that being said, my feelings about this book may have been different if I’d been reading romantic suspense for a while (I’d have more to compare it to), but as a new reader to the romantic suspense sub-genre, I really enjoyed IF YOU SEE HER.
First off, if you intend to read this series, I would greatly encourage you to read the books in order. In many historical and contemporary romances you can skip around, but with this book I found that it’s important both for previous events that take place and for clues about the villain to start reading from the first book in the series. Because of this, I didn’t immediately feel that I was truly “in” the book; for a while, I felt like I was an outsider still trying to get acquainted with the story background and the characters.
When IF YOU SEE HER first begins, the hero (Remy Jennings) is a lawyer seeking out the truth of what happened to Hope Carson. In the first book of the series, IF YOU HEAR HER, Hope and her friend Law were attacked and left for dead (while another woman was murdered near his house), and Remy has to figure out whether to press charges against Hope for that murder or not. Speculation might lead others to believe that she murdered the other woman, tried to kill Law, and then attempted suicide–and her past stays in a hospital to help her cope with a mental illness and a past suicide attempt might help with this argument–but as soon as he sees her, Remy’s gut tells him that she’s a woman to be protected, that she couldn’t possibly be the murderer.
Although this is a romantic suspense and I thought Shiloh Walker did a terrific job of keeping me on the edge of my seat, I felt–and appreciated–that this was just as much if not more of a character-driven romance. I’ve never read a romance that features an abused heroine like Hope before–where it’s clear how much her ex-husband truly scarred her both emotionally and mentally–and she was the highlight of this book for me. I enjoyed seeing inside her head and going along with her as she re-discovers her inner strength and independence. Remy is a great complement to her character–very protective and willing to do everything he can to make her feel safe and strong.
As for the suspense plot itself, I’m wary of giving away too much, but let’s just say that I found it very interesting that there were actually two villains in this story, and interesting also to see how they played against one another.
However, this book wasn’t perfect. Although I realize that the author was setting up the romance for the third book, I wish less time had been devoted to the hero and heroine of that book’s POV and instead to the hero and heroine of this book. Also–and I’m sure this won’t bother everyone the same as it bothered me–but parts of the writing voice became irritating in places. (For most of the book I liked the voice and thought it helped the book feel real and gritty.)
IF YOU SEE HER was a great introduction into the romantic suspense sub-genre for me, and although I would recommend it to other romance readers who have never read romantic suspense before, I would also recommend you start out with the first book in this series to have a better grasp of the background and characters before you get to this one.