Thursday, July 21, 2011

Quick Review: The Lightkeeper's Ball by Colleen Coble

The Lightkeeper's Ball (A Mercy Falls Novel)From the Back Cover:

It is the dawn of a new century and Olivia Stewart is heiress to an empire. Her family numbers among the Four Hundred--those considered the wealthiest and most distinguished in America. Unfortunately their wealth has nearly disappeared, and now their security rests upon the Stewart daughters' marrying well.

Olivia's sister, Eleanor, was engaged to Harrison Bennett, one of the nation's wealthiest men, but has since died. Now the pressure is on Olivia to take her place, despite her suspicions about Eleanor's fiancee. Using her family's long-forgotten English title, Olivia travels to Mercy Falls, California, as Lady Devonworth, hoping to learn more before committing to marriage. There she finds that Eleanor's death was no accident. And Harrison is not the man she thought he would be.

When Mercy Falls holds a charity masquerade ball to raise funds for the new lighthouse, secrets--and truths long hidden--will be revealed. But can Harrison really love Olivia when he finds out her true identity? Can she live with the repercussions of failing her family, or will she finally realize that nothing--not money, family, or romance--will ever compare to God's unconditional love?

My Thoughts:

Though this is the third book in Coble's Mercy Falls series, it stands on its own just fine. Characters from the first two books play supporting roles as Olivia Stewart arrives in Mercy Falls seeking answers in her sister's mysterious death. By the time she meets her sister's fiancee, Harrison Bennett, she's already tried and convicted him in her mind. Keeping her identity secret, she strikes up a friendship with him in hopes of uncovering evidence against him, but he ends up capturing her heart instead, and opening her eyes to a different way to live life on her own terms. But the road to happily ever after is stalked by her sister's real killer, and as Olivia gets closer to the truth, damaging family secrets and hidden motivations are revealed, putting her own life in danger.

This was my first experience reading Coble, a bestselling inspirational fiction author. She does a good job of blending mystery, romance, and period detail. The pacing is great, the story takes some unexpected twists, and I had a hard time putting it down, but in the end I thought it was rather on the fluffy side with some improbable scenarios and cliched characterizations, and I felt like the Christian aspect was superficial. Kind of like little references to trusting in God were just thrown in here and there with no real substance. I didn't feel like Olivia made a real connection with God, and her minimal spiritual journey didn't have any real impact on the story. This is pretty much a purely escapist read--(and there's nothing wrong with that!)--but if you're looking for more meaningful inspirational historical fiction, stick with the likes of Francine Rivers, Laura Frantz, and Liz Curtis Higgs.

My Rating:  3.5 Stars out of 5

*Please note: This review references a review copy received through the Amazon Vine program. Though I received this book from the publisher, these are my honest and unbiased thoughts, and I was not compensated in any other way for reviewing this book.


  1. Nice shortie. Though for a shortie it was very good and covered most :D

  2. I read her Rock Harbor series several years ago and really enjoyed it. Also 'Abomination' is excellent. This series sounds quite different from the Rock Harbor. It is set in the upper peninsula of Michigan and is a mystery too with a search and rescue dog handler as the key character, there is a romance too! Her characters are well written. I will have to get this series too!


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