They called themselves “the lucky ones.” They were seven children either orphaned or abandoned by their parents and chosen by legendary philanthropist and brain surgeon Dr. Vincent Capello to live in The Dragon, his almost magical beach house on the Oregon Coast. Allison was the youngest of the lucky ones living an idyllic life with her newfound family…until the night she almost died, and was then whisked away from the house and her adopted family forever.
Now, thirteen years later, Allison receives a letter from Roland, Dr. Capello’s oldest son, warning her that their father is ill and in his final days. Allison determines she must go home again and confront the ghosts of her past. She’s determined to find out what really happened that fateful night–was it an accident or, as she’s always suspected, did one of her beloved family members try to kill her?
But digging into the past can reveal horrific truths, and when Allison pieces together the story of her life, she’ll learns the terrible secret at the heart of the family she once loved but never really knew.
A vivid and suspenseful tale of family, grief, love—and the dark secrets that bind everything together—Tiffany Reisz’s latest is enthralling to the final page.
I received this book as an ARC a few years ago and I read it way back when. However, I was busy with my first year of teaching and it was one of several books that were left without a review. As I tried to return to reviewing, I found that while I had a pretty good idea of the plot and how things turned out, I just didn’t feel comfortable leaving a review without rereading the book.
Which is why I reread it last week.
First off, can I just say that I really like having some variety from Tiffany Reisz? These standalone novels offer an experience that is still intriguing but not as focused on the erotica as her series is. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of all of her books, but I’m really digging her ability to have range in her writing. It helps me to recommend her as an author to a wider audience.
Allison is struggling to figure out her next steps in life. For the past six years, she’s been a “kept woman” (her words, not mine) to a wealthy business man, and now it’s all over. She has a degree in English, but a six year unemployment gap is something hard to explain to potential employers. Besides, can you really decide what to do for the rest of your life in five minutes?
As it so happens… you can. A package arrives the same day from a former foster brother and Allison finds herself wandering down a path of self-discovery. However, the path is tainted by the mystery of what truly happened to her on that fateful day when she fell down the stairs, and was then retrieved by her biological aunt.
If I had to choose one thing that I enjoyed the most about this novel, it would have to be the author’s ability to weave together past memories into present events. While I was intrigued to discover what happened to uncover what happened to Allison, I was still invested in her reconnecting with her former foster siblings and trying to find her own way to the truth. I also thoroughly enjoyed the overall context of the “secret” of the Dragon House. I think the author chose a very interesting topic to use as a plot device and I found it to be interesting.
If you already love Tiffany Reisz’s books, you’ll love this novel. Just beware that it’s a lot tamer than her erotica series. However, if you’ve never had the pleasure of reading one of her books, I think this is a wonderful introductory novel for you to try. It has a mystery, intrigue, romance, and humor. The characters are realistic and relatable, and the plot moves along quickly. This is definitely one of my must reads. I’ve enjoyed it every time I’ve read it.
Reader’s Note: I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a review. All opinions of the book are my own.