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Reviewed by Deborah Stone for Readers' Favorite
The Tangled Roots of Bent Pine Lodge by Jane O’Brien quickly evolves from a simple romance into a complex and interesting story with depth and surprises. Kate Lemanski returns to the log cabin that her great-grandfather built in the Michigan woods. Her family visited the grandparents here and then vacationed here when the cabin passed to Kate’s parents. After her parents' deaths, the home passed to Kate and her twin sister, Lily. Lily has her glamorous life and wants no part of living in the woods, so Kate bought her out and has taken up residence to begin life over. After a painful divorce, she is content to be alone for a while. She adopts Hoagy, a yellow Lab, and settles into her new life with ease. Conor McAuley has been taking care of the property and has everything ready for her return. While clearing out her mother’s things, Kate finds her grandma Sophie’s journal, which was left there specifically for her. Because Kate researches genealogies, her grandmother has left her with a family riddle of her own to solve. A family secret that could change everything for Kate. As she gets to know Conor better, she finds that they have met before. There is a definite attraction, but there may be a huge roadblock. As she learns more about Conor, she also begins to unravel the family secret.
Jane O’Brien delivers vivid and realistic characters that are well developed and convincing. As the story unfolds, it takes on layers of depth that reveal characters and character traits that will draw you in deeper. Personal issues, heartache, loss and betrayal - family secrets that change lives forever and revelations that take Kate on a quest for truth and eventually lead her right next door, to Conor’s house. Jane O’Brien skillfully reveals the pieces of the puzzle and allows us a peek at what may be ahead. The Tangled Roots of Bent Pine Lodge is the first book in The White Pine Trilogy and I look forward to following these characters through the next two installments. Jane O’Brien has introduced us to characters that we want to know more about. Jane’s first book is complete in itself and stands alone.