Empty Heart by Elizabeth Rose #Review

Empty Heart by Elizabeth Rose #ReviewEmpty Heart by Elizabeth Rose

Genres: Romantic Suspense
Published by Escape on February 1, 2015
Pages: 209
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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four-stars  

On her honeymoon, she goes for a swim, returns to the beach, and finds her husband has vanished and later learns that no one by his name ever existed. Now doesn’t that pull you in? It did me. I was excited to read this standalone romantic suspense set in Australia as a woman and a detective set out to learn the truth.

The story opens with Nikki Spenser enjoying her honeymoon with her handsome Spanish husband who she met in San Francisco and three whirlwind weeks later married in Vegas. It becomes a nightmare when Carlos vanishes without a trace and she is forced to return home angry and humiliated that he would leave her like that. Then she learns things aren’t quite that simple.

Detective Luke Emerson is not Nikki’s favorite person since five years ago when he forced her to upend her life because she witnessed a murder and she isn’t thrilled to see him now when he shares information he learned through his police contacts about her husband. Nikki thinks he is overreaching until a mysterious man breaks into her apartment and questions her about Carlos. Luke has secretly loved Nikki and it warms his heart that she now trusts him even if it hurts to know that he will always be regulated to friend status because she loves Carlos and Luke is a much older average guy. No matter what, he has to figure out who is behind the attacks on Nikki and why before they finally succeed in getting her.

This story took a twisting path to the end. It had me from the beginning with her husband’s disappearance and then the rest of the story unfolding to explain what’s going on. I really enjoyed the strength of the suspense plot though getting the other players beyond Luke and Nikki’s perspective did loosen up the tension because having their plotlines and scenes took away the mysterious quality too soon for me. Not that it went stale. No the attacks, chases, and other danger elements kept it strong.

The secondary plot of Luke and Nikki’s growing relationship was interesting too. I didn’t care for Nikki at first when it came to her time with Luke because she acted like a petulant, ungrateful brat who saw what she wanted to see. But she got over that and started appreciating Luke’s finer qualities so that even her hot Spanish lover of a disappearing husband lost his appeal next to a steady, trustworthy guy like Luke. Nikki might have been an adult by her age, but yet this suspenseful adventure was when she finally grew up.

The balance between suspense and romance teeters back and forth with much of the book focused on the suspense. The romance elements are subtle and slowly unfurl until the end. It is sweet and tender though I have no doubt that what happens beyond the final page of this book will become more. I think Nikki’s in for a pleasant surprise once she get past the suppressed nature of Luke’s emotions and actions.

All in all, this was an engaging story and I enjoyed that it was set in Sydney and included a lush description of the setting. I’ve read one other book by this author and would definitely pick up more from her. This is definitely for the romantic suspense lovers who like slower developing romance and strong suspense.

My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

Romance Roundabout #176 RS

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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.
  • Strong suspense and slower developing romance are good ! Thanks for sharing 😉

    • You’re welcome! I definitely loved the mystery part.

  • I like the fact that this is a mystery but it doesn’t sound all depressing, it has a strong romance element to it. Awesome review missy!

    • Thanks! It wasn’t depressing at all, the romance and suspense were both nicely done.

  • Lindy Gomez

    Wow, this book sounds like a real page turner. I can’t even imagine her husband disappearing without a trace, and technically he doesn’t exist. Sydney Australia would make a beautiful setting. I love sweet and tender romance! This book sounds like it would make a great movie! Excellent Review! Thanks for sharing Sophia 🙂

    Lindy@ A Bookish Escape

    • That was a great opening scene with the husband suddenly gone and then later to get hit with the fact that no one by that name existed. Like an Old Hitchcock! I loved the setting and it was written by an Australian author so it had that nice touch too.

  • Sounds good. I like a mystery sometimes.

  • Sounds great! I enjoy books set in other locations too! It’s almost like I’m reading a fresh concept even if it’s really not

    • Yes, that was the really neat part. It was set in Australia and all the characters were Australian too so I got a taste of Down Under.

  • I do love it when stories are set in those locations that aren’t “normal”, where its a bit different, and i do love any story set in Australia. Sounds like a fun read.

    • The Australian setting and culture was a huge strength for this one, Renee.

  • Oh what an interesting and creepy sounding concept! That must be so weird to go for a little while and then finding out your husband never existed. The romance sounds really well done, I love slow building romances. You definitely got me curious about what happened to her husband and how it all turns out. Great review!

    • That is exactly what hooked me in to read this one, Lola!

  • That’s a crazy set up Sophia. And yeah it would totally get me curious too. I like the sounds of the romance even though it wasn’t front and center.

    • I read another one by the author and didn’t even notice who the author was until after I was reading b/c I was so intrigued by the blurb. *blushes*