By Her Side by Lizzy Chandler #Review

By Her Side by Lizzy Chandler #ReviewBy Her Side by Lizzy Chandler

Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Escape on December 8, 2015
Pages: 200
Format: eARC
Source: Publisher
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four-stars      three-flames

I read another book by this author and loved it so when I had the chance to pick up this one, I did.  I love that the author is an Australian setting her romantic suspense in Australia.  The story was a nice balance of both romance and suspense with a fair amount of character development tossed in for good measure.

The story opens with Rory Sutton Whitfield returning home from her travels to figure out her future.  She grew up with wealth, but this brought it own problems.  Rory wants to make her own way, but before she barely gets home from the airport trouble comes.  She and her grandfather are almost victims of a hit and run, her grandfather has a heart attack, her half brother is missing along with some company money, and Rory is confronted by a brooding cop, Vince Maroney, who is ready to nail her brother for the crime.  Her grandfather smoozes Vince into being her bodyguard and this is bad because she is attracted to him and he isn’t in a place for a relationship.

Vince is not in a good place.  He has been slowly losing his soul a piece at a time.  His best friend and his only child both died on his watch, he and his wife grew apart over it all and now she has died too in a car accident, and for years Vince has been deep undercover in the drug world.  He just wants to be left alone, but saving the lives of Rory and her grandfather now involves him in their troubles especially when he thinks his wife’s death was no accident and Rory’s brother is Vince’s prime suspect.  Vince doesn’t think he has anything left to give so he does his best to hold Rory at arm’s length while working together to get the truth about his wife’s death and her brother’s disappearance.

The story was engaging from the beginning.  The author did well making me second guess along the way and feel the surprise behind the twist in the end.  The story is balanced with easy going and tense moments. It focuses on the story and not a lot on the setting, but I loved the local flavoring I did get with a blend of city and rural recreational.

The mystery seemed to morph as the reveals came so that the reader isn’t sure if there really is something sinister or if there is just a bunch of coincidences.  Did the death of Vince’s wife really point to murder or was it a sad tragedy?  Was Rory’s brother missing for real or was he just away and didn’t tell anyone?  I liked that feeling.  And the big twist at the end was a good one.

Rory and Vince were a nice pair as a detecting team and as a couple though they started out mostly as wary opposites and prejudiced against each other.  I liked how there was more to both of them than met the eye.

Vince was rough around the edges and tended to get snarly when Rory poked at his wounds.  He might not have grown up with her money and he led a rough life even as a cop because of his undercover work, but he was rich in family.

Rory was touchy about proving that she wasn’t just a rich princess and that she was healing from a guy cheating on her and only with her for her money so she was as wary as Vince in her own way.  They both brought good things to the table.

All in all, it was an engaging romantic suspense that had some tension and mystery as well as passion.  I would definitely recommend it particularly to those who might enjoy some suspense and romance set in Australia.

My thanks to Escape Publishing for the opportunity to read this story in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #150 RS
Mt. TBR #65

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • I love romantic suspense and “accidents” and “coincidences” are great teasers as long as there’s good follow through and not just some bogus conspiracy theories

    • Exactly, I get skeptical of it all fitting together easily. This one has enough other stuff going on that one is never sure even if you have a pet theory of the solution.

  • God, Vince has had it rough. This book may make me cry. I think the romance would have to reel me in because I can’t stand it when characters have had hard lives but don’t get a HEA. I’m counting on the HEA! LOL

    • He did have it tough and that’s why when he holds her away I didn’t get too upset. In fact, though what she was doing needed to be done when she pushed him to talk, I felt so bad for him that I wanted her to leave him be. It ends well. 🙂

  • An Australian setting! That is awesome. I feel bad for Vince, though. He definitely sounds like he’s in a very bad place.

    • He was, but she was one who helped him heal and the answers to the suspense half really helped him find closure.

  • I heard inkers are the new it thing

    • Do you mean tattoo artists? I certainly have seen a ton of those in books so I’d believe it. 🙂

  • Wow, Vince has had a hard time.

    • Yeah, he did. He’s broody, but he’s not a downer. He runs more toward the determined, angry sort who wants to get the truth so it kept the book from being depressing.

  • Debbie Haupt

    Thanks for the great review, this is a new to me author!

    • Thanks, Debbie!

      Her first book had ‘Snowy River’ in the title and I adore the ‘Man From Snowy River’ movie so I snagged it. Then I saw this one. It was set mostly in the city, but still good.

  • I don’t think I’ve read a romantic suspense set in Australia before. I’d read this for that alone. 🙂 Lovely review!

    • You sound like me. Haha! I’ve read a couple and the Australian setting was the main draw at first.

  • Oh fun with the setting in Australia. That’s always a nice mix up. Holy cow on all the trouble coming their way. Goodness. Sounds like a pretty entertaining one. I’d not seen it before so thanks for the heads up!

    • Fortunately, most of his troubles were in the past so it was getting it in retrospect, but yeah this pair was entertaining. He was rough and growly and she was sophisticated and needing to prove herself.

  • Oh an Australian setting that sounds fun! I have two more books in a series set in Australia and I hope the later two books will put more focus on the setting as it would be fun to read about that. And some romance and suspense thrown in as well, this sounds like a fun one. Both fo these characters sounds like they have some baggage and it makes me curious how they open up and get into a relationship eventually. And I love a big twist at the end, it’s nice when a book can take you by surprise. Great review!

    • Rory is the one who gets him to talk and see things with better perspective. I liked that. They both healed a bit in the story.

      I did want more Australia in this one, but I also liked that she was telling the story like to people who already lived there so it wasn’t explained about things; just assumed. If that makes sense.

      Which books are you reading about Australia?

      • It’s neat when the setting is fit in naturally like that. I like it when the setting isn’t over explained, but you still get a good feel for it.

        It’s the A Dollar for a Dream series I mentioned, I read the first book only so far: https://www.goodreads.com/series/172163-a-dollar-for-a-dream

        • That’s right! I remember those now. I think Jennie Jones did a post for Great Pick Up Line, too. I’ll have to try them.

  • oh yippee…I love a engaging story and another brownie point for romantic suspense. And I haven’t read enough books that are set in Australia. It can be such a great setting for a romance no matter what era it is. 🙂

    • Definite brownie points for the rom susp. I’ve read a few historicals, but the moderns are fun in an Australian setting, too. I’m always curious about other places since I’ve not been able to travel very far beyond the US boundaries.

  • I’ve never heard of this one! Is it weird that the cover model reminds me of Pierce Brown? Not complaining there… 😉 I need more romantic suspense in my life!

    Great review, Sophia. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • Nah, not weird. I can see it. 🙂

      I’ve enjoyed being introduced to new authors and books through Harlequin’s Australia Escape line.