In 1911 in Racine, Wisconsin, Maggie Parker is the sole servant in the Hamilton household, a home that is rife with discord. Mrs Evangeline Hamilton secretly attends meetings about women's suffrage, Mr Maxwell Hamilton is having none of these modern ideas, and Richard Hamilton, the adult son, seeks to court Maggie despite the fact that they are not of the same social class and her father is in prison.. In her spare time, Maggie writes stories about her life in service—and essays about women and Christianity.
In the present day, Heather Conrad has escaped to Racine after "her boyfriend decided he'd rather be her brother-in-law" (that is such a great line I has to quote it). But what she thought would be month alone house-sitting for her ex-boss turns into a month baby-sitting the boss's seven-year-old daughter, Isabel, and it seems that everywhere she goes in Racine, there is that man with the camera. There is also Ryan Tobin, a handsome security man who she meets in a coffee shop, who helps after Isabel gets lost in the old house.
Stephanie Lansing has spent the last ten years partying, but the sudden illness of her father has brought her home with a feeling of regret for the wasted years, and with a mystery. There is a mystery message that his other daughter has been found--yet Stephanie is an only child, so she begins to search, wondering what she might find.
Today's Shadows is the third book in the Lost Sanctuary series, but each book is a stand-alone story about unrelated characters. What ties the series together is that each story is about the past and present in a single house, and involves the present inhabitants gradually finding out more about the previous occupants, just as the reader finds out more in the flashback chapters. The danger with this approach is that readers might find one story far superior to the other, but in this case I found them both equally interesting.
Each subplot had an element of mystery (with an unexpected twist), an element of romance, and an unexpected but fascinating discussion on Christianity and the rights of women. Most importantly, the end of Today's Shadows left me with a smile on my face. Very enjoyable.
Thanks to Barbour Publishing and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Becky Melby at her website.