Review: Legacy of Secrets by Helen Starbuck

Posted July 26, 2020 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 12 Comments

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I received this book for free from Book Tour Provided in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Legacy of Secrets by Helen Starbuck
Legacy of Secrets
Narrated by Amy Deuchler

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Genres: Mystery Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published by The Audio Flow
Released on May 27, 2020
Format: Audiobook
Source: Book Tour Provided
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The Delight

A woman learns just how little she knows about her father and his past when his suicide puts her on a painful journey of discovery with a man who both repulses and attracts her.  A new to me author and narrator of a standalone romantic suspense were the perfect excuse to give this story a whirl.


Kate Earnshaw finds her father’s suicide impossible to accept.  He wasn’t suicidal and his depression was under control.  When she goes searching for answers she discovers there is a whole side of her father she knew nothing about.  There’s a decrepit old family ranch, there are enigmatic letters with his sister, and there is an attractive, kind man who knows a great deal.  Too bad, she doesn’t want to trust him and burns with bitter anger that he knows her father better than she did.

Evan is stunned when he finally meets John’s daughter, Kate, to learn his old friend has passed.  He is immediately attracted to her and wants to help, but her sharp grief and anger with him as the target makes it difficult to patiently help her find the answers and peace she is searching for.  If he can help her delve into John’s past of secrets, maybe it will help him stand a chance with her.

A death that may or may not have been suicide, old family secrets, and a setting of Colorado ranch country had me eagerly clicking on Legacy of Secrets.  I do love this sort of mystery that was more character than plot driven.  The hunt for answers and John’s past is at the heart of the story, but the romance and Kate’s healing growth are also significant parts too.  It wasn’t difficult to work out the mystery, but a matter of waiting for enough facts to surface so I could.  Even though I had it worked out earlier that did not diminish my interest in the story one iota.  There was so much else going on.

Truthfully, I nearly set this one aside early on.  Kate was a bitter, angry woman who let her grief spill out into belittling a community and way of life because it wasn’t her own and really savaging at an innocent guy with her vitriol because she was jealous that he knew a different side of her dad and shared moments with her dad that didn’t include her.  It was quite clear that neither knew more than John Earnshaw chose to share with them, but he wasn’t there so she took it all out on poor Evan even while she used him whenever she needed help or an emotional prop before pulling away and lashing out at him.  I don’t blame her for the ugly feelings- I’ve known what a suicide can do to those left behind without answers- but, I needed to see her restore what she broke before I could consider this book even remotely satisfying.  And, bless this author, she did.  Kate’s journey ended on a high note for me and she made good.

For Evan’s part it was love at first sight and he was an easy-going, content man who took up the challenge of Kate and her family secrets as his own.  His steadfastness balanced things when Kate was really struggling.  He wanted to give her what she needed, but he didn’t become her doormat, either.  I enjoyed getting to know him within his family and community circle beyond just as a love interest for Kate.

Amy Deuchler was well up to the task of portraying an emotional, hurting woman and several other characters of other ages and genders.  She didn’t over act the parts and made a well-written story shine brighter.

All in all, this was a splendid first outing with both author and narrator.  It was an emotional story without getting overwrought and I appreciated the suspense and romance that balanced well in an engaging mystery plot, characters, and spicy romance.  I can recommend this one to romantic suspense lovers.

My thanks to Caffeinated PR services for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met

New Release #95
Audio #58

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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.

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Anne - Books of My Heart

I love series but there is much to be said for these standalone mysteries. Actually, the way series work the best in the genre is a law enforcement team or PI who has cases. But I like Sandra Brown, Mary Burton to name a couple that do standalone things also.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

I agree. Now and then a standalone is just the thing when you don’t want to commit to a whole series. It’s nice having a plot rap up at the end of the book. 🙂

Mary Kirkland
1 year ago

I haven’t read this but it sounds like an interesting book.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

Yeah, it was a good one. Kimberly put me onto this one. 🙂

1 year ago

I think I’d have a hard time with Kate, too. Glad to hear the author redeemed her by the end. I hope there was some proper groveling on her part. No fair to take out your anger and bitter on someone else. The story does sound good though.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Rachel

Oh yes, once she got her head on straight, she had to work hard to get a new chance with him. I was glad to see that because she really was pretty awful to him in a user way. It was definitely a solid one. 🙂

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

I am listening to this next. Vacation was a little crazy, the Royals were here and the Mommy started a new job so we ended up having the kids every morning.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

Oh man, I’m sure you had a good time with the kids, but yeah, not conducive to book reading and listening. Now, you can relax and grab up your books again. 🙂 It’ll be fun to see what you think of it.

Carole Rae
1 year ago

What a good blend of genres here!

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

Yes, it has a good balance of both romance and suspense going on.

1 year ago

Good to see character growth in this one.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  vvb

It sure was. It was rough going at first and then I nearly cried when she started healing and working on her issues. 🙂