Finding Harmony

The Romantic Adventures of an Accidental Detective

Romance - Suspense
277 Pages
Reviewed on 10/02/2015
Buy on Amazon

Author Biography

Susan Hart Snyder is a fifth-generation Californian living the in the oak-studded foothills of the Sierra Nevada gold country with her husband. She holds a BA in English, an MA in creative writing, elementary and secondary teaching credentials, and has taught composition and literature, journalism, and creative writing. Having published personal essays in newspapers and magazines over the years, Snyder released her first collection of essays, Hell is Not a Place – It's a Time, in 2012 and a second edition in 2015, and is now delving into the world of fiction writing with Finding Harmony and Caught in Traffic, the first two books in her Sydney Roberts series.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Franz Sidney for Readers' Favorite

In Susan Hart Snyder’s Finding Harmony, Sydney Roberts finds herself stranded when her vehicle breaks down in the arid area near Harmony, Utah. While she would dearly like to resume her journey to New York as soon as possible, the repair takes a long time in the remote village garage and she ends up spending a week in the picturesque area. A restless adventurer, Sydney grows to love the villagers, to the point of embarking on an intense relationship with a handsome man, while helping a group of women rescue the young victims of a polygamist cult. The feisty young woman also fights the local bullies and helps deliver a calf. Could this new way of life be what she needs, a huge contrast to a life surrounded by a crowd of smart suited, cell phone glued New Yorkers?

The characters come alive through well chosen, colourful first names and rich dialogue, while the beauty of the rugged desert makes you want to visit Utah and bask in the sun, enjoying its striking scenery. Susan Hart Snyder knows how to tickle all your senses with evocative descriptions, including that of famous local meals such as buffalo Bolognese. With flowing prose and enough wit to make you page through the novel with an amused smile on your face, the author keeps you focused on Sydney's thoughts as she ponders her choices and makes her decisions. Superbly written and well plotted, Finding Harmony is a good novel for an escapist read, although if you are a super romantic type who expects a typical happy ending, you might need to brace yourself for an adventurous change of direction.

Lisa McCombs

Anxious to flee the predictability of her life in LA, Sydney bargains with her New York cousin to deliver his inherited motor home in exchange for a new life in the Big Apple. What initially promises to be the adventure of a lifetime comes abruptly to halt only hours from her starting point. She is forced to evacuate the motor home in search of road assistance that results in an introduction into a world of backwoods Utah life and the insult of polygamy. As she awaits the delivery of parts to repair her broken down vehicle, Sydney is thrust into (honestly, she actually dives in head first) the rather big drama of small town affairs.

In what she originally thought would be an interruption of a day or two, Sydney’s week in Harmony introduces her to the reality of polygamy, unlike that she had previously equated with reality television. Add to that juvenile delinquent twins, Lloyd and Floyd, who play by the rules of a self-important mother who flaunts her wealth and Mae West appearance for self-gain; V.A., the local dentist who also doubles as the town doctor/veterinarian; Dori, a strong young woman responsible for her brother Luke, who yearns for a bigger life; and Marlboro Man look-alike Noah ... Sydney’s one week in Harmony amounts to a lifetime of adventure.

In her debut novel Finding Harmony, author Susan Hart Snyder brings to life an unexpected character rich in the flavor of Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone. I feel that Finding Harmony is appropriately titled, as the main character not only searches for that very element in her own life, but strives for this balance in a town by the same name. Finding Harmony is so well executed that I find it difficult to believe that it won't soon be up there on the best seller charts. I loved it!

Charity Tober

Finding Harmony by Susan Hart Snyder is a romantic adventure women’s fiction read starring a feisty and colorful protagonist named Sydney Roberts. Sydney is a thirty-three-year-old woman who longs for change, and gets plenty of it when she decides to relocate from Los Angeles to New York. Along the journey to New York, she breaks down in the small but drama-filled town of Harmony, Utah. While waiting for her vehicle to be repaired, Sydney discovers many colorful locals, an unsolved cold case, as well as unexpected romance. Small towns are rarely as peaceful and serene as they seem, which Sydney quickly realizes. Readers will enjoy following along and discovering all there is to find out alongside Sydney!

Finding Harmony is an entertaining read. The main character, Sydney Roberts, was plucky, likeable and realistic. I enjoyed following along with her on her cross-country adventure and seeing if she would eventually find all the change and excitement that she longed for. The romance was well done and the dialogue felt realistic and natural. The author does a good job keeping the story moving forward and most of the side characters were fully developed and interesting. The cover really fits the story in my opinion. I would recommend this book to fans of women’s fiction, adventure and drama genres. I can see this character and storyline easily turned into a series and look forward to reading more from Susan Hart Snyder!

Anne-Marie Reynolds

Finding Harmony: The Romantic Adventures of an Accidental Detective by Susan Hart Snyder is a romantic mystery. Sydney Roberts has had enough – she has lived and worked in LA all her life and she wants to break away. So she takes the big step of breaking off her relationship, selling everything, picking up her dog and cat, and driving to New York in an old motorhome that she inherited from her uncle. Not long into the journey, the motorhome breaks down in the middle of nowhere. Rescued by a mechanic from the town of Harmony, she finds that she has no choice but to stay there while her motorhome is repaired. Sydney soon discovers that the small town in the middle of nowhere has more than its fair share of drama, with teenage thugs, vandalism, and polygamy, not to mention a cold case that involves two missing girls from years before. Sydney has some tough decisions to make with the help of a sexy rancher and a dentist who doubles as a vet and a doctor.

Finding Harmony: The Romantic Adventures of an Accidental Detective by Susan Hart Snyder is a truly unique tale. As well as being full of mystery, romance, and a lot of laugh out loud moments as sassy Sydney makes her mark on a tiny town. The story was very cleverly written, with lots of small stories being woven together into one big one. The details are drip-fed to the reader in a way that makes it just about impossible to put the book down. The character development was excellent and each was written to match the story perfectly. It isn’t perhaps quite the ending you'd expect, but if Ms. Snyder’s intention was to make a reader want the next book in the series, she has succeeded admirably. I will be looking for book 2 and if its anything like this one, it will be another winner.

Janelle Fila

Finding Harmony: The Romantic Adventures of an Accidental Detective by Susan Hart Snyder is a story about the courage to face change. When Sydney ends a relationship with her boyfriend and packs her vehicle to the brim on a life altering journey, she never expects not to make it all the way to New York City. Breaking down in Harmony, Utah, isn't as innocent as it first seems. While the quirky small town mechanic repairs her motorhome and gets her back on the road, Sydney discovers a cold case that involves two missing girls from a nearby polygamist compound. She also runs into a very attractive rancher and can't ignore the attraction the two have. She realizes life in Harmony isn't as easy or as beautiful as the landscape she admires. Like nature, it can be rough and surprise you in an instant. Is Harmony, Utah, the answer to Sydney's quest for life altering change? Or is there more in Harmony that even Sydney is prepared to handle?

Finding Harmony is a well written story full of love, perseverance, courage, and laughter. Readers will love the vivid characters that dot this story and how well they complement the well crafted heroine. She is courageous and intense, but also sweet and loving. Readers will also enjoy the small town setting that includes regulars at Dusty’s Diner. The story elements and plot are woven together nicely and keep the reader intrigued but not confused.

Kevin Chilvers (Author)

Susan Hart Snyder has cleverly created a novel that is both a romance and an amateur sleuth detective story all in one. I liked “Finding Harmony” from the first page. Susan tells the story in a fresh, entertaining way that is easy to read. Sydney’s gutsy character drew me into her world as she struggles to escape from Harmony and stirs things up as she pokes her nose into the polygamy issue. I was soon routing for her as she becomes more involved and meets the vividly painted characters Susan has created. The drama builds naturally and the romance develops with emotion but without graphic detail. A mix that works well in my view. Finding Harmony is funny in places, moving in others and is a thoroughly entertaining read.