The Studio


Romance - Suspense
311 Pages
Reviewed on 11/15/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Judith Erwin is the author of romance, romantic suspense, and women’s fiction with a mystery series in progress. Her background includes a career in freelance journalism with numerous published articles focused on the performing arts, plus a two-decade career as a family law attorney, court-appointed, child-custody evaluator, and Florida Supreme Court certified family law mediator. Her novel, Shadow of Doubt, was a finalist for Romance Novel of 2016 in the Royal Palm Literary Awards.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

Character-driven and cleverly plotted, The Studio by Judith Erwin is a suspenseful romance that follows two rock-solid characters as they encounter each other, each of the two carrying a hidden pain. Kaci is still disturbed by the tragedy that spoiled her career and now she runs her own ballet studio. When Commander Matt Emerson comes to enroll his five daughters on an ordinary day, all that Kaci wants is to get the registration completed as she looks forward to her next class. But she soon develops a fondness for the children that pulls the single father into her orbit. Can she replace the mother and wife who disappeared from the life of this man and his children?

There is a lot to love in this novel. First, the characters are strong and real. Matthew Emerson is a naval aviator and son of a U.S. admiral and a man who can't stop blaming his wife's disappearance on himself. Being a single parent is another experience that doesn't come easily for him. Kaci has her own share of pain and running her studio is what has kept her going. The story starts simply and the emotional depth grows through each page. The elements of the setting are beautifully written in such a way that it is easy to imagine the locales and the places in which the action happens. The writing is stellar and I loved how the intelligently written dialogues deepen plot and character. Judith Erwin deftly uses suspense to keep readers engaged. This is a fast-paced, emotionally rich, and hugely entertaining read with a delightful ending.

Trudi LoPreto

The Studio by Judith Erwin has a suspenseful plot about the very sudden disappearance of a wife and mother of five girls. There is a romantic side of the story about the father and husband, Commander Matthew Emerson. He is a prime suspect in his wife’s disappearance while slowly and unwillingly falling in love with his daughters' dance teacher, Kaci Connelly. As I read, it was easy to feel the anger and hurt each of the daughters was feeling, for both their missing mother and their father. Matt worked hard at being the dad the girls needed, not becoming romantically interested, instead keeping his distance from Kaci, but most importantly in proving himself innocent of being responsible for his wife going missing and possibly being murdered.

I loved reading The Studio and even though it is marked as book number three, it stands tall by itself. I certainly plan on reading Book One and Two very soon, as well as any books that follow. The Studio kept my emotions going up and down and my involvement in the story felt very real. There was just enough of a suggestion of sex without it being too much and very light in the bad words department, which for me played an important part in my enjoyment of the book. Judith Erwin peppered this book with heart, love, romance, suspense and gave an ending I did not expect. This is a must-read for all romance and suspense genre readers. The Studio has all the ingredients to be a winner with the makings of a Hallmark TV special.

Asher Syed

The Studio by Judith Erwin is the third book in the contemporary romantic suspense series, The Shadow of Dance, preceded by book one, The Ballroom, and book two, The Ballet. This installment follows Kaci Connolly, a ballet instructor and studio owner who appears to have it all together as a dance professional now. However, her prior career and personal life have remained stagnant and stuck in past trauma and a devastating loss from which she cannot move forward. Meanwhile, Navy Commander Matthew Emerson's wife has gone missing, leaving him as a potential suspect and with five young daughters to raise on his own. As the case of Matt's wife unfolds, so too does Kaci's past, all while a relationship grows between the pair.

Judith Erwin brings an interesting and unique story forward in The Studio, written from the alternating points of view of both Matt and Kaci. The psychological turmoil of a family in crisis plays out through the eyes and minds of the children's teacher and their father. I really loved the mystery and Erwin is fantastic at sowing tension on every page. For me, it was the girls who were without their mother and the dynamic a tragedy like that brings forward that was the most compelling. I was a bit shocked by the twist ending and the proximity of the perpetrator, which is revealed quite quickly and without a lot of fanfare, but the build-up is steady and it works well. Overall, this is a great read (that absolutely works as a standalone). Recommended.

Romuald Dzemo

The Studio is the third entry in the Shadow of Dance Series by Judith Erwin, a suspenseful romance with hints of crime, featuring very strong and elaborately developed characters. Commander Matthew Emerson is a naval aviator and the son of an admiral, a man left alone to raise his five daughters after the disappearance of his wife from their home in Virginia Beach. He can’t shake the guilt and always having to look over his shoulder, not knowing what might happen next. When he comes to enroll his daughters at the studio, he has no idea that the devoted teacher and former ballerina, Kaci Connelly, who owns the studio will eventually capture his heart.

The Studio features memorable characters and I loved the fact that both Matt and Kaci are broken people. Kaci carries the effects of a tragedy that has greatly impacted her career but the connection she has with Matt’s daughters has him enamored. It is interesting to follow these characters as they navigate their inner world. The writing is gorgeous and I enjoyed the crisp, excellent dialogues. The first time that Matt and Kaci meet is awkward. Apart from the fact that Matt wants to enroll several of his children, both are pressed for time. While Matt wants Kaci to just take a deposit and allow him to leave, Kaci points out that someone else is responsible for the registrations and she’s got a class to teach. The attraction grows slowly and naturally and readers find so many reasons to like the pair. Judith Erwin knows how to open the hearts of characters to reveal their vulnerability and hidden strengths. So much to enjoy in this novel.

Rabia Tanveer

The Studio by Judith Erwin is the third book in the Shadow of Dance series. Kaci Connelly used to be a ballerina, she used to thrive on the stage and loved to perform live, but these days, she teaches young children to dance. Content with her life at the moment, she wasn’t really looking for something new or something different. But when Commander Matt Emerson arrives at her studio and asks her to enroll his daughters for dance lessons, she has no idea that her life will change forever. The handsome man is not the only one who draws her attention; his daughters are tugging at her heart and making her fall in love with them. However, the more she gets involved in their lives, the more she realizes that there are many secrets about the family, especially Matt and his missing wife. There is something fishy going on and Kaci is hesitant to put her heart on the line once again after the hurt of her past. This is a hard decision to make, but it seems like it is already out of her hands.

Oh wow, I loved this book. I loved every single second of it. Kaci is such a strong character. She has a clever mind and a very caring heart that she wears on her sleeve. Mandi and Maura have a special place in my heart and they will forever be awesome in my mind. They had resilience, determination and superheroes' hearts. I loved how they took care of the younger girls, how they opened their hearts to Kaci (not easily and they took their time) and basically made sure that everyone had a smooth life. The tension between Kaci and Matt is very apparent from the very beginning. I have to admit liking Matt was not easy. This is such a cool story that is executed wonderfully with attention paid to every single detail! Absolutely brilliant. I can't wait to read the other novels in the series!