Tangled Up in You
by Rachel Gibson
(Avon, 6.99, PG-13)  ISBN  978-0061178030
****
Maddie Jones is a woman with a stigma: she's the daughter of the "other woman."  Nearly thirty years ago, her mother Alice was the mistress of a man named Loch Hennessey whose wife spazzed out and killed all three of them.  This tragedy left not only Maddie but the two Hennessey children, Meg and Mick, orphans, and went on to affect each of them in a different way.

Maddie has since gone on to become a successful true crime writer.  When she is presented with her mother's diaries, she is launched back to that year and suddenly driven to tell the torrid tale of the waitress and the local playboy. Maddie, using her pen name Dupree, purchases a second home in Truly, Idaho, and temporarily relocates in the hopes of getting a better feel for the entire story.

Maddie hadn't expected to like Mick Hennessey; actually, given the facts that he owns the bar where her mother had been so coldly murdered by his and that he has a reputation not so different from his father's, she figured she wouldn't like him one bit.  Turns out that's not the case; but Maddie's been on a sexual hiatus, so she goes with it - if a bit hesitantly at first.  Mick isn't surprised or distressed by his attraction to Maddie ... at least not until he finds out who she really is. Tangled Up in You is classic Gibson - fun, funny, and quirky, but still poignant at times and strong in plot.  I read the previous book, I'm in No Mood for Love, right before I read this one, and found the difference between the two intriguing.  Yes, the books are about two very different women, but Gibson has managed to write them in entirely different tones.  Clare's story suited her character perfectly, as I feel Maddie's does in Tangled Up in You.

Another thing to appreciate about this book is the fact that it isn't bogged down by flashbacks.  Flashbacks are to be expected in books about someone's past, and I don't begrudge them, but they are easily overdone and aren't necessarily what I want in a book toted as a romance.  Maddie's history as well as Meg's and Mick Hennessey's are made clear from their own observations and the ways in which they handle things.  A strong cast of supporting characters bring more color to a book that was a rainbow to begin with, and they are characters with struggles of their own that the author masterfully makes very real while keeping them from cluttering up the central story - Mick, Maddie, and the tragedy that essentially has drawn them together.

A must-read for Gibson fans; and although it does perfectly well as a stand-alone, the previous two books in the series are well worth the read also.  This book will also appeal to readers of romantic suspense.  The mystery has, for the most part, been solved; but the crime hangs like a pall over the town even twenty-nine years after the case was closed.

--Sarrah Knight


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