23rd March 2011 on The One Hundred Romances Project ~ Laura's Review
"...Even though this was only her third book, Sherry Gloag has come a long way from her first novel. The improvement in clarity, character development, and plot development was outstanding. And I truly did love these characters. Even the secondary ones were vibrant and relatable. This was a story about the importance of family and love, and it was beautifully done. I really enjoyed reading this one, and certainly wouldn’t hesitate to read another of Ms. Gloag’s novels. "
You can read the full review HERE
18th March 2011 on Examiner.com ~ Laura McQuillen's Review
"...This is a great read that you are sure to enjoy. Hopefully there will be a follow up book for a couple of the other guys in the book too. They could definitely carry a book on their own.
You can read the full review HERE
[ Review Posted: Sep 27, 2011 ] -
|DUTY CALLS is an appealing novel about unconditional love and what happens when you keep secrets. And family secrets abound in this novel revolving around birth parents, half siblings, siblings, amnesia, and mistaken identities. If that isn't enough to keep your attention, there's a little mystery thrown in for good measure. |
What makes this novel really memorable is the way that Sherry Gloag skillfully crafts her characters. The relationship between the main characters, Rafe Kinsale Hawk and Trudi Delaney, forms the core of the novel. Eleven years ago, Denny Cadmore, Rafe's half-brother, attempts to kill him to ensure he will become the sole heir to their father's inheritance. Rafe escapes from Denny's clutches along with a woman he has been introduced to as Denny's sister. Rafe and Denny's "sister" end up having life affirming sex after living through a terrifying escape. The next morning, Rafe awakens alone in his bed. He searches in vain for Denny's "sister" but is unable to find her.
The supporting cast of characters really enhances the storyline and produces a well-rounded novel that is truly a pleasure to read. I especially like the way the author makes connections between the characters. For instance, Trudi's brother Arthur is Rafe's friend, Arthur works for Vince, Vince is Bella's brother, and Bella is Trudi's best friend.
The novel begins with Martha (Rafe's mother) meeting Daniel and it's love at first sight. Martha begins an affair with Daniel knowing that he is married and will never leave his wife. Martha becomes pregnant and gives birth to Daniel's illegitimate son, Rafe. At the same time, Daniel has too much to drink the night his father dies and has a one-night stand, resulting in another pregnancy. Ten days after Rafe's birth, Daniel has another illegitimate son, Denny Cadmore.
Rafe grows up with his birth father's monetary support, but not his love or attention. Because of this inattention, Rafe is extremely resentful and wants nothing to do with his birth father or Kinsale Hall. Even more upsetting to Rafe is the fact that his mother marries Jess Hawk, after professing her undying love for Daniel. One of the many secrets that we as readers are privy to is that none of Rafe's siblings know that he is adopted. If Rafe accepts Kinsale Hall and title, then his secret will be out. Denny, on the other hand, is the exact opposite of Rafe. He craves his father's inheritance to validate his existence. Denny will do anything to achieve his goal of becoming master of Kinsale Hall.
Trudi Delaney meets and falls in love with Denny Cadmore, who begins abusing her from the minute they marry. For the entire five years of their marriage, Trudi is held a prisoner by this sadistic madman locked away in her bedroom with bars on the windows. One evening, Denny holds a high stakes poker game, which Trudi is forced to attend. Denny runs out of money and places Trudi's "services" in the pot. He loses the hand and the winner, Rafe, who is appalled by Denny's action, aids Trudi in a terrifying escape during which Denny tries to kill them both. Because of the torture inflicted on Trudi by Denny, she develops amnesia regarding the escape and can only remember rushing water, barking dogs, and an incredible sexual experience resulting in the birth of her daughter, Rachel. Only those closest to Trudi know that she is unable to remember the traumatic event.
After Trudi's escape, Denny learns of his father's death. He is ecstatic and wastes no time in claiming Kinsale Hall as his inheritance. When he is killed in a drug related turf war, Trudi inherits Kinsale Hall because they never divorced and there is no other heir. Trudi is hopeful that an heir will be found and she can turn over Kinsale Hall to them.
Rafe returns to England after eleven years at the request of his friend, Arthur. Rafe has become an an architect and Arthur persuades him to build retirement condos for retired National Security agents. Of course, one of Arthur's secrets that he keeps from Rafe is that the condos are going to be on the grounds of Kinsale Hall. Arthur hopes that Rafe will reconsider and accept the title and remain in England to oversee affairs at Kinsale Hall. Talk about pushing a major hot button!
When he arrives at Kinsale Hall, Rafe finds that he is drawn to Trudi from the moment he is introduced to her. It's as if he has known her before, but how can that be? In the ensuing years, Trudi's appearance has changed dramatically. To top it off, Trudi's familiarity towards Arthur truly appalls Rafe. How can she run into Arthur's arms and kiss him when she knows he's a married man? In spite of this, the attraction between Rafe and Trudi grows each time they are together. Rafe fights against his attraction, because he doesn't want to become involved with a hussy! Trudi is baffled by Rafe's odd behavior towards her. Just as the relationship warms up, it cools back down.
Rafe has never come to terms with either the attempt on his life eleven years earlier or the disappearance of Denny's "sister". While it was a horrific experience, there is no denying that the sexual relationship between them was incredible. Denny is now dead and there's still no heir for Kinsale Hall because Rafe will not accept his inheritance. Will Rafe and Trudi rekindle the sparks from eleven years ago? Will Trudi ever regain her memories?
The most poignant character in the novel is Trudi's best friend, Bella. Bella has terminal cancer and must live with the fact that she will never see her ten-year-old daughter, Lizzy, grow up. Trudi and Bella met when they were pregnant and delivered their daughters on the same day. Trudi has always been a second mother to Lizzy and formally adopts her. This is a comfort to Bella and allows her to treasure the time she has left without worries for her daughter's future. However, Bella is keeping a secret regarding her husband and Lizzy's father. He's that shadowy character in the background who may or may not emerge at any time.
The character that elicits the most sympathy is Jess, Rafe Hawk's adopted father. Not only did he know Martha was pregnant before he married her, but he also knew that he was not her soul mate. Jess stepped up to the plate, adopting Rafe and never treating him differently from Jess's biological children. Also, he's one of the few characters without a secret!
Spoiler secrets abound in the rest of the novel and I'm not about to disclose any more because I think everyone should relish them by reading the novel! Congrats to fellow TRR reviewer and author extraordinaire, Sherry, for this amazing book. I can't wait to read your next novel.
Comments from readers of Page 99 Test
Rachel: Very well written and intrigued to see what is going to happen. I would definitely turn the page.
VF: Solid writing... But I do want to know what's going on in the closed part of the house, so I'd read on.
Lisa: interesting indeed!
Brian: Some good bits, some not so good
t f-d: Rather good :)
K: I want to know more...
wo2011: This is very good writing. Sincere writing. Intelligently done. So I'd turn the page and read more. This lady interests me.