About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Evergreen Falls by Kimberley Freeman

33. – 830.) Evergreen Falls by Kimberley Freeman – The Blue Mountains of Australia near Sydney are a fine location for romantic suspense. In the book Evergreen Falls is the location of a grand hotel on the edge of the escarpment. 

In 1926 the Evergreen Spa Hotel is a beautiful place for the wealthy to spend leisurely vacations. Guests come not for a weekend but for weeks to months. By 2014 the hotel has sadly deterioriated and has not been open for decades.

Young women are the dominant characters in Evergreen Falls.

In 1926 pretty Violet Armstrong, having lost her job in Sydney, manages to find employment as a waitress at the hotel.

Flora Honey-Church Black, the daughter in a wealthy New South Wales farm family, is there with her younger brother, Sam, and her fiancĂ©, Tony, and several of Tony’s friends.

Flora, though committed to her fiancé, meets Dr. Will Dalloway:

Flora looked towards the hotel, then back at Will. A beam of orange sun shot low through the trees and hit him in the eyes, and he raised his hand to shield them. In the sunlight, his eyes looked very green. Then the wind shifted the branches, and the beam of sun was gone. But the image stayed with her, the amber light on his face, his shining eyes.

In 2014 Lauren Beck arrives in Evergreen Falls to work as a waitress. She has left a difficult family situation in Tasmania. Lauren's character is established in the opening sentence introducing her:

If I’d had any experience with men, if I wasn’t a thirty-year-old virgin working in my first job, I might have known how to speak to Tomas Lindegaard without sounding like a babbling fool.

Tomas is a Danish architect working on returning the hotel to past glory.

Back in 1926 Flora is struggling with Sam. He is caught up in an addiction to opium. He spends much of his time smoking pipes of the drug. If Flora cannot find a way to get Sam to stop their father is likely to cut them off from financial support.

Violet, needing to support her mother, is grateful to have a job. She has lost too many jobs by not being serious about her work.

In present day, having spent 15 years in a family crisis Lauren is finally reaching out for independence. Having dared nothing in her life every action is tentative. When Tomas leaves behind at the restaurant a key to a closed wing of the hotel she is tempted to explore but hesitates having never taken a risk.

She uses the key. After accidentally knocking over some old furnishings Lauren lifts an early gramophone whose box has cracked and finds some hidden letters. She is startled and intrigued that the letters are steamy love letters from SHB.

Motivated by the letters Lauren undertakes a modern day search to identify the lovers.

Returning to 1926 we gradually learn the details of the passionate relationship that inspired the letters. With the book having opened in 1926 with a body being hidden near the Falls readers know there is tragedy as well as love to come in the story.

Writing about romantic suspense is not my strength. Last year I even wrote about my prejudices with the sub-genre. 2015 is the 3rd year in a row I have read a work of romantic suspense. I have decided, in a change from last year's opinion, that I will read a work of romantic suspense once in awhile and do my best to appreciate them.

I found the women in Evergreen Falls interesting. Each of the trio is trying to find their way in life and love. They want a committed loving relationship yet they neither want to be calculating nor reckless in love.

I was surprised late in the book. I thought I knew how the story would unfold and I was wrong.

I was even more startled when a winter storm had an important role. I do not associate major snowstorms with Australia.

I enjoyed Lauren’s story more because it was the unraveling of a mystery. What happened with Violet and Flora involved doomed love affairs. I am confident readers who enjoy romantic suspense will enjoy Evergreen Falls. (Oct. 4/15)


  1. The setting for this novel really appeals to me, Bill. Like you, I don't typically read romantic suspense, so I am not the best judge of it. Still, the context for this one is interesting. And I do like the past/present connection. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Margot: Thanks for the comment. I would be interested to see you spotlight a work of romantic suspense.

  3. I admire your perseverance Bill - I'm not much of a one for this sub-genre either though I do try to give them a go sometimes - I would like the setting for this one as I lived in the Blue Mountains for a couple of years though nowhere near as grand-sounding as the setting here - it's a gorgeous part of the country and yes it can be subject to fierce winters/snow storms (it's a much shorter season than in your neck of the woods though and you can go for several winters without seeing snow at all)

    1. Bernadette: Thanks for the encouragement. I visited the Blue Mountains when we were in Australia in 2010. It is beautiful country.