- Karen Rose Smith
- Release Date
- February 2013
- Book 7 of Search For Love
Chick-lit, Romantic Suspense/Mystery
When Clare Thaddeus' sister was abducted, she was five and her family fell apart. Now, twenty-seven years later, there's a chance Lynnie could still be alive! Divorced parents, a rebellious daughter, and a devoted sister find their lives in turmoil once again. This time, will crisis tear them apart or will forgotten love knit them together once more?
Book Review by Rho (reviewer)
Apr 02, 2013 [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
188 people found the following review helpful
HER SISTER is quite the departure from the Karen Rose Smith books I'm used to. Heavy with the suspense and drama with some romance mixed in, HER SISTER takes an in depth look at a family that tries to keep it together after faced with unspeakable tragedy. And even though it wasn't the type of romance I'm used to, there's no denying that it's a Karen Rose Smith story because underneath all the turmoil is the feeling that love can make good things happen. In my opinion, that's a Karen Rose Smith hallmark.
Clare has never recovered from the disappearance of her younger sister twenty-seven years ago when Clare was five years old, and neither have her parents. Now an adult, Clare has a family of her own that consists of her sixteen-year-old daughter and her now divorced parents. She's made a life for herself and her daughter but when Clare's daughter, Shara, starts acting out and finds herself in trouble, Shara decides to run away instead of telling her mother what's going on.
Faced with another loved one disappearing on her, Clare tries desperately to find her daughter. But she also finds solace in her neighbor Joe who would like to be more than just neighbors.
While everyone is frantically trying to find Shara, Clare and her parents discover that the past they've tried to move on from may be what holds them all together.
I wasn't sure what to expect from HER SISTER since I had advanced warning that it wasn't a straight romance novel. But I will say that this book, which is the seventh installment of the Search for Love series, was a pleasant surprise. It was filled with suspense and a little mystery with a little smattering of romance mixed it. But what kept me reading was the investment that I made in the Thaddeus family—Clare, her mother and father, and her daughter. They were all affected in different ways by the tragic events surrounding Clare's sister's kidnapping. It was amazing how a twenty-seven-year old event shaped the events in the present.
I was happy to see that everyone had the potential to have a happy ever after even though all of the events in the story weren't completely tied up in a bow for us by the end. I certainly wouldn't be averse to visiting with this family again if Karen Rose Smith would like to write more about them. (*hint, hint*)
Overall, I thought that HER SISTER was one of those stories that would warm the heart and make you want to give a tight hug to those you love.
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BOOK INTERVIEW on April 2013
Interview by Rho
Hi Karen, welcome back! I'm so excited to be talking to you about your newest release, HER SISTER. It was so fascinating I can't wait to get your insights into the story.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for HER SISTER?
Family relationships are usually a theme in my books. I thought about everything that can disrupt a family. Losing a child has to be the worst kind of trauma. Beyond that, the not knowing if a child is alive or dead has to be soul tearing. I wanted the book to be different from suspense so I played "what if" and came up with the idea of spotlighting a family over twenty years later and delving into the repercussions of the tragedy of abduction.
Q: This book is quite a departure from your other books, as it was more of mystery/suspense with romance added in. Why did you want this book to be different than the other in the Search for Love series?
I love romance and always will. It's part of all the stories I write. But I've been branching out. I sold a mystery series last year and I've loved the challenge of writing them. I wished to continue the Search For Love series but I wanted to incorporate Gillian and her gift for finding missing persons. I intended this book to bring my readers a different kind of enjoyment they hadn't read from me before. To keep my writing fresh, I need to try different types of plots.
Q: What kind of research went into making the Thaddeus family's struggles and triumphs more believable?
I researched childhood abduction and profiling of pedophiles. But as a mom, I imagined the grief and loss that I'd feel if this happened to me as a parent. I imagined how the loss would feel as a sister who felt responsible for a younger sister. I just had to delve deeply into those emotions, stay there a while, and really feel them.
Q: How did Clare's sister being abducted affect Clare and the woman she's grown into?
After Clare's little sister Lynnie was abducted (Clare was 5 and Lynnie 3), she got pushed aside because of the crisis. But she stayed pushed aside because of the grief. Her parents were dealing with the situation any way they could and Clare got lost in the tragedy. She felt she should have watched over her sister better and she blamed herself. Her bonds with her parents became tenuous until the present day hope arises that Lynnie could still be alive after 27 years. This family is forced to face each other and reconnect.
Q: Tell us more about Clare's neighbor, Joe. What makes him a worthy addition into Clare's life?
Joe is everything Clare never expected to find. From acting out as a teenager, finding herself pregnant and raising a daughter who is now doing the rebellious routine herself, Clare has foregone serious relationships. After all, her parents were once crazy in love and they got divorced. Joe has been Clare's friendly neighbor, always there, never pushing in. But now, although she doesn't want to admit it, she needs someone sturdy to lean on. An army national guard veteran who has seen tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, Joe is accepting and compassionate toward her and the family complications. He wants Clare to put her fears aside and trust him.
Q: In the midst of all the suspense and mystery, what was the most romantic moment that Clare experienced with Joe?
Clare tries to put up walls and send Joe away. But he doesn't go.
Q: There are so many scenes in HER SISTER that are very memorable. I can't name them all but one in particular stands out. When Max, Clare's dad, finally lets himself feel the turmoil he's kept inside for the twenty-seven years since his youngest daughter had been kidnapped, I knew that he would finally declare his love for Amanda, Clare's mother. That scene felt like all of the pain was worth it because those two were meant to be together. Please share with us one of your favorite scenes from HER SISTER.
One of my favorite scenes is between Clare and her daughter Shara as an emotional explosion rocks their house! (Brad is 18 and Shara is 16. Both have skipped classes when Clare comes home early to booming music and...) Here's an excerpt. Enjoy!
Clare knew that for the rest of her life, as she pushed Shara's door open, the scene in front of her would be indelibly printed on her brain. Shara and Brad were naked. Her daughter's brown hair lay tousled across her pillow, while she looked up at a boy that Clare believed she didn't really know, her hands gripping his shoulders.
Rage propelled Clare forward first. She wanted to throw the kid off her daughter, knee him where it would hurt most, and shake him until he understood that Shara was too young to know what she was doing.
Reason told Clare that confrontation in anger never turned out well. But how could she be reasonable when her daughter was having sex in front of her eyes?
Shaking, holding onto her temper with both hands, biting back words before they could spill out, she finally shouted, "Get off of her. Now!" Her voice seemed to get lost in the thumping song lyrics in the background so she yelled louder. "Get off of her before I call the police."
The two kids on the bed froze. Their heads swung toward her. Then in fast forward Brad scrambled to the side of the bed.
Shara squeaked, "Mom! What are you doing home?" and pulled up the covers while Clare went to the IPod dock and switched it off.
Q: What was the most difficult scene to write in this book?
One of the difficult scenes to write was the one you mentioned above when Max faces his life with Amanda from the first stirrings of love to tragedy to what he's feeling right now.
Q: Please put me out of my misery and tell me this won't be the last we see of the Thaddeus family. I want to see what happens next!
I really never intended to write a sequel. Although I ended this book in an unusual way, I considered it finished. But I've had readers posting on my Facebook page as well as emailing me asking for a sequel. I had planned the next Search For Love book, another women's fiction. But now I'm reconsidering. The thing is, I'm not going to write a sequel simply to write a sequel. I need a plot that fits the Thaddeus family and is compelling. So... My answer is that I'm not sure yet what the next Search book will be.
Q: There's a quote from your blog: "From those first books to my most recent, I have kept the emotion of my characters as my focus. My intention is always to touch my readers' hearts and urge them to believe in happily-ever-after." I absolutely love that! What is it that inspires you to believe in happily ever after?
When I was an only child, I disappeared into books. But whether those were "horse" books or teenage romances, I wanted them to end "right." I always yearned for that special someone to love who could heal past hurts. I met my husband when I was in college and we've been married for 41 years. Happily ever after? Pretty much. That means through the messy parts of life no one can escape. That fact urges me to write about happily-ever-after even more.
Q: I hear you've got audiobooks coming out for some of your books this year. How exciting! What was that process like?
Developing novels into audiobooks has been quite an adventure. The website ACX.com has made it possible for indie authors to collaborate with narrators to produce their audiobooks. It is more time consuming than I ever imagined. I've listened to hundreds of narrator samples, auditions for each book, then audio editing each a few times before approving the final version. But it's been an exciting, wonderful experience to hear my books come alive. HER SISTER will be available in audio on Audible, iTunes and Amazon before summer.
Q: You've got a career that spans a couple of decades at least. That's amazing! What advice do you have for aspiring authors on making their careers as lasting as yours?
Funny you should ask this... :)
Because I get this question a lot, I wrote a series of blogs on the subject and then developed it into an ebook WRITING IS A BUSINESS. And that's the bottom line. To have a long lasting career, you have to protect your creative spirit yet treat writing like a business.
Q: What upcoming projects would you like for us to know about?
I'm terrifically excited about my first mystery series for Kensington. STAGED TO DEATH is my first Caprice DeLuca home stager mystery that will be released in December 2013. My sleuth comes from a big Italian family, takes in strays, tends toward retro fashion and loves to cook. She's a lot like me. I'm also writing a new series for Harlequin Special Edition—The Mommy Club. The first book, WANTED:A REAL FAMILY, is an August release.
Thanks again, Karen for being with us to talk to us about your latest novel, HER SISTER, your work, and writing in general. It's always a pleasure and we hope to see you again soon!
Award-winning author Karen Rose Smith was born in Pennsylvania. Although she was an only child, she remembers the bonds of an extended family. Since her father came from a family of ten and her mother, a family of seven, there were always aunts, uncles and cousins visiting on weekends. Family is a strong theme in her books and she suspects her childhood memories are the reason.
In college, Karen began writing poetry and also met her husband to be. They both began married life as teachers, but when their son was born, Karen decided to try her hand at a home-decorating business. She returned to teaching for a while but changes in her life led her to writing romance fiction. Now she writes romances and mysteries full time. She has sold 82 novels since 1991.
Presently, she is hard at work on a three-book series for Harlequin Special Edition as well as a three-book mystery series for Kensington.
Married to her college sweetheart since 1971, believing in the power of love and commitment, she envisions herself writing relationship novels, both romance and mystery, for a long time to come!
Karen is giving away a copy of NATHAN'S VOW(digital)! Thanks, Karen!
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