Review: Crushed by Barbara Ellen Brink

Crushed: A Fredrickson Winery Novel (Volume 2)Reviewer: Judy Nickles

Crushed by Barbara Brink
Series: sequel to Entangled (2010)
Release Date: March 10th, 2011
Publisher: Smashwords, 2011
Page Count: 265

Source: ebook provided by author for review

Blurb: When Adam Fredrickson shows up at his sister’s California winery, footloose and carefree, looking for a temporary job and a chance to play his music, he doesn’t expect to meet the girl of his dreams. But the best things in life are usually unexpected.

Margaret Parker, a single mom, newly hired as Chief winemaker at Fredrickson’s, finds her simple world put to the test when her father is allowed an early release from prison, and the man who got her pregnant when she was fifteen, shows up from Italy wanting to play daddy nine years too late.

It’s crush time at Fredrickson Winery and everyone is working feverously to get the grapes in and ensure a great vintage. No one expects murder and kidnapping to be part of the joyous harvest season.

Review:  Ms Brink sets up the suspense immediately and continues to up the ante throughout Crushed. Two parallel love stories add unexpected twists. The characters are well-drawn and believable, and the setting in the lush California Napa Valley is described with enough detail to bring the reader into it, but not over-written. The author weaves the details of wine making through the story narrative, providing bonus information to readers unfamiliar with industry.

Her villains are villainous enough for the most discriminating suspense reader—a father convicted of child molestation but released too soon from prison; an ex-lover who took advantaged of a rebellious teen struggling to get past her early years in a dysfunctional family. Her heroes and heroines are heroic enough for the most discriminating romance reader—a loyal brother and first-class attorney; a woman who has moved from victim to victor; a free-spirited young man searching for his place in life; a young woman who, as a single mother, has had to grow up too soon.

This novel is one of those stories that you enjoy most— short enough to promise a quick resolution, long enough to provide all the action (romantic and suspenseful) that satisfies the reader’s soul.

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