About the Author:
Victorine and her husband live in Nebraska where they manufacture rubber stamps for the craft industry. They own and operate Victorine Originals Rubber Stamps from their home, where they raise their four children. Victorine has a degree in Art from BYU Idaho, and designs many of the rubber stamps they sell. She has always loved to read and in her spare time she writes.
Since becoming an Indie author myself, I’ve had the opportunity and pleasure to meet and develop on-line friendships with several other Indie authors. Does that mean I’ll read their book? For some, yes, and for others – well, if it’s not my type of book, but the writing is good, I will recommend them to other readers in their genre. I recently did this with David Dalglish and my son, Steven. Steven downloaded the samples and loved David’s work so much he bought all four of his books.
I recently had the pleasure, and yes, I will emphasize <em>pleasure</em>, of reading “Not What She Seems” by Victorine E. Lieske. I loved the cover, which immediately caught my eye. You may not be able to judge a book by its cover, but the cover is the first thing a buyer sees, and if it’s uninteresting I’m probably going to pass over the book no matter how good it is.
My major problem was—the book was romantic suspense. Anyone who knows me and knows my writing, knows that although there may be a little romance in my novels, I’m definitely not a romance reader. Haven’t been for years. And especially after all the graphic sex seemed to permeate every page.
Being a book addict, and not having read one for several months, I was becoming a little unglued at the seams. I needed a book a to read. Quickly. Still a little skeptical I downloaded the sample of Victorine’s book. Surprise upon surprise, I found myself enjoying it. Actually relishing it, and quickly turning pages on my Kindle PC to see what happens next. And of course, I soon came to the end of my free sample. Thank you Amazon for the Buy Now button. I quickly bought the book waiting impatiently the couple of seconds it took for it to download to my computer. I can’t wait until I get my new Kindle and can actually take it with me wherever I go.
“Not What She Seems” could easily be classified a mystery, as it is one of the few books that I’ve read that kept me guessing all the way to the end. And with all the hype I’d heard about how horribly written and formatted Indie books were, I found myself in for another surprise. With the exception of perhaps “flash backs” and “memories” not being set out from the other text, Victorine’s book was beautifully formatted and as a proofreader by profession, I didn’t find a typo in it. So if they’re there, they’re totally overshadowed by the complexity of a well written plot, fast paced story, and engrossing novel. I found myself watching that little percentage read at the bottom of my screen, and saying “oh, no” as I saw it quickly speeding toward 99 percent. I wanted more.
Plot – 5 Stars
As a debut novel, Victorine gives the reader everything they could possibly want in a complex plot with sufficient twists and turns to keep you guessing all the way to the end. Mix this with sub-plots, family secrets and an end of the book surprise, and you have a novel that will keep you engrossed to the very end. Plenty of suspects, all with motive and opportunity.
Characterization – 3 Stars
If there is a weakness in Victorine’s book, it is that I felt I needed more from her characters. Things seemed to take off a little unrealistic in their relationship, although having lived in a small community growing up, this is possible. Still, I felt that Steven and Emily needed more time, more interaction and more background information.
I found myself immediately drawn to Emily, a single mother on the run from her past, and the prime suspect in her husband’s murder. It was the time span here that truly created a problem for me, as I had problems believing that no one had looked for her in five years, and that she had never tried to get free of Richard in that amount of mine.
Steven was also hard for me to believe totally in his character. He’s very likable and truly fills the Prince Charming role in a masterful way, however, there just isn’t enough information or interaction to let me “feel” his character.
Connor is adorable, and every mother’s heart will go out to him.
Richard too, left me somewhat wanting as to his basic personality and what makes him tick, as well as what makes him stick with Emily. What created his obsession? It doesn’t appear to be love, or at least not the love a man has for a woman.
The great thing about this book is it’s a debut novel, and as you read you’ll find that Victorine’s style gets better and better with every chapter. What this means to me is that in the future we can expect great things from Victorine. Every first book is a learning experience and she definitely has what every author needs to succeed—A GREAT STORY.
This was my first romantic suspense. I realize now that I’ve been a genre snob for years. As a mystery author I tend to gravitate to mystery books. However, if all romantic suspense books are as good as this one, then I will definitely add romantic suspense books to my future TBR files. For $2.99 I spent one of the most enjoyable afternoons I’ve had in months. And I will definitely be on the lookout for her next book.
Since I originally wrote this review Not What She Seems has soared to the top of the charts and is currently priced at $.99