Reading the blurb of Gracier by Millisa R. Bailey, it reminded me of Ella Grace’s Wildfire series. I am a huge fan of romantic suspense and when a whole suspense series is set in the same small town, nothing will hold me back from reading it. The idea that the trusted neighbor or a waitress from the local diner could be evil is just too tempting.
Welcome to Gracier, Iowa, a well-kept community with even better kept secrets. Lives are peaceful, streets are quiet, but behind the tranquility is many a tale to be told.
Veterinarian Jessica McCabe has returned, but it is not the homecoming she had expected. Her grandfather, Jonas McCabe and Gracier's longtime vet has died, leaving behind the practice they had hoped to share.
The reading of Jonas' will sets off a series of events that bring into question Jessica's birthright, the truth surrounding her mother's untimely death and her grandfather's sanity. With her world turned upside down she is thrown into a partnership with Matthew Cassidy, the man who chose family wealth over Jessica's love.
Longtime family friends Dr. Andrew Harrison and Sheriff Chester Caughlin know the truth. A promise must be kept. But those who have kept the truth hidden are about to discover not everything has been laid to rest…
When Jessica returns to Gracier, she not only returns to her grandfather’s practice but to long buried memories, old loves and hurts and new friends. I loved how Milissa R. Bailey created this charming small town of Gracier, Iowa with an endearing community and many interesting characters. Essentially there are two small romance stories woven into the plot. The main pairing of Jessica and Matthew and Jessica’s old friend, which makes for a brief love triangle but turns into a sub-romance plot later on. A small town romance, likable characters and a strong suspense plot – those were my expectations when I started reading Gracier and, at first, they seemed to come true and I breezed through the first few chapters. I felt like I was always braced for something to happen, waiting for the big shock, the start of the action, tension and suspense….unfortunately, I was left waiting and wanting for that never happened. The big reveal lacked the big and the reveal part and was no surprise at all. It wasn’t even really necessary for the story, in my opinion. When you can cut out the suspense plot in a romantic suspense because it didn’t grab you at all, that’s not a good sign. The problem I had with Gracier was the lack of thrill and excitement. I hate to say it, but the suspense bored me and that’s not a word I use lightly because it is highly subjective and not of very much use in a review. Unfortunately, that is the only way to describe my feelings while reading this story.
The romance could have saved it - it could have but it didn’t. Both romance plots were very much underdeveloped and, continuously, scenes between the couples were glossed over to the extreme. The final moment, when Jessica and Matthew seem to find their happy ever after, something I had been waiting for since starting the book, was very superficial to a point where I didn’t even know what had happened. Did they just talk, did they kiss or did they have sex? To this day I have no idea because the scene was expressed in a very abstract way. Gracier made me feel lost at times and searching for the sense of the story; where it was taking me was sometimes very unclear.
With so many things to criticize, why did I even finish reading this book? Milissa R. Bailey has a way of telling a story that makes you want to hang in there. You know you are on the verge of something amazing and waiting for it to come; amazing characters, a thrilling and shocking reveal, an unforgettable romance. The beginnings are there in Gracier but it didn’t quite happen for me. I’m holding out hope, I am pretty sure actually, that it will happen in her next book or the one after that and I’ll be reading it because I know when it happens for me, Millisa R. Bailey might become a favorite. Despite being disappointed and not a fan of Gracier, it still ended on a good note for me as I hope it will for you.
*A copy of this book was provided by Milissa R. Bailey in exchange for an honest review*
Want to know more about Milissa R. Bailey?
Steffi ~ 2.5 stars!