Nicole Young’s debut novel, Love Me If You Must, is a tale of personal restoration that develops in a life that has been devastated. Tish Amble finds much more adventure than she expects in the seemingly untainted town of Rawlings. As the usually withdrawn Tish develops relationships with the locals, she recognizes not only the faults and virtues behind their appearances, but she also starts to understand some of her own shortcomings and strengths. Though tragedy strikes, guilt prods, hormones soar, preconceptions press, and the past haunts, she ultimately accepts and moves on in the peace and hope of God and His love.
Tish Amble is renovating a Victorian-era home to sell before moving on to her next project. Her own basement lends much to her mental and emotional instability, first when she sees a startling but unproven vision of a body’s imprint in the cement that fills in the house’s old cistern, and then again when a body really is discovered in her basement and she becomes the primary suspect for the crime and the laughingstock of the small town. When she learns that her dream British hunk is involved in some suspicious goings-on, she finds herself in the midst of the criminal chaos, despite her innocence. She is helped greatly by her police officer neighbor, who always seems to have her back, even though she doesn’t trust him. Tish soon finds herself being pursued by the real killer in a desperate chase, but survives and is able to uncover her redeeming evidence and help put the case to rest.
The suspense and confusion of unsolved crimes and budding relationships find Tish holding back and pushing forward at the same time, trying to clear her name and be free of her past while behaving in eccentric and suspicious ways that only draw more attention to herself. Tish’s behavior often seems unrealistic and over the top, and her imagination is even more sporadic than her actions. In her mind, she eventually accuses practically everyone she meets. Her withdrawn and untrusting personality keeps her on guard against her new neighbors. However, she quickly gets caught in a misleading love triangle with two Rawlings men and becomes friends with several people she judged too harshly at first. In the midst of ever-increasing drama and chaotic events, Tish struggles to carry on with her life while her past still haunts her.
Though the story gets off to a slow start, once the action gets rolling, Love Me If You Must is able to draw the readers in just enough to keep them interested. At times, several of the characters’ actions seem unrealistic and exaggerated. A few subtle twists will catch the reader off guard, but it does not take a Sherlock Holmes to figure out where the plot is headed. I wouldn’t advise any hardcore mystery readers to indulge in this book, but if you are looking for a light novel with some romance and mystery thrown in, Love Me If You Must is a good pick. – Laura Coulter, Christian Book Previews.com
A run-down Victorian to renovate, a past to leave behind--who has time for romance . . . or murder?
Patricia Amble, Tish to her friends, has gotten her life together. She's renovating an old, rambling Victorian house in a small town outside of Detroit, and the fixer-upper should net her a big profit when she resells. Romance is right next door, with two attractive neighbors vying for her affection. But even their persistent attentions can't dispel the sense of unease Tish feels.
Voices whisper out of nowhere . . . and something odd is going on in the basement. Soon, Tish begins to question her decision to buy the old house. When a dead body turns up her own dark secrets make her a prime suspect in the current chaos. And is either of her attractive neighbors really who he says he is? What is going on just under the surface of this sleepy small town? Find out in this engaging debut of the Patricia Amble Mystery series.