Cassidy's Courtship

His Tender Touch

A Sacred Trust

Too Close for Comfort
by Sharon Mignerey
(Silh. Int. Mom. #1098 , $4.50, PG) ISBN 0-373-27168-9
Too Close for Comfort is Sharon Mignerey's fourth book. It's been my good fortune to read all four, and all of them are high-quality, a characteristic we're coming to expect from her. Here we're treated to realism mixed with charm and charisma.

Set in Alaska, Too Close for Comfort opens with Rosie Jensen receiving a disturbing early morning phone call, one that sends her on a search and rescue mission for a missing child. She and her dog discover a wounded man, but things turn decidedly sinister when she discovers that the man has brought Rosie's young niece to Alaska for safekeeping.

We soon learn that there's treachery and terror ahead. Rosie's sister, living in California, is a witness in a murder case. Suddenly those close to her are in jeopardy. The ruthless murderer will try whatever lever he can use to keep her from testifying. Right now his lever is her daughter, Annmarie, Rosie's young niece.

Rosie's sister has asked a good friend and trusted neighbor, Ian Stearne, to bring her daughter to Rosie, thinking that the girl will be safer in Alaska. It's a good idea, but they've underestimated the power of the bad guy. He already knows that Annmarie and Ian are on their way to Alaska and has men waiting for them, men intent on kidnapping Annmarie. Or worse.

Rosie, Ian and Annmarie begin a covert trip, knowing that their lives are at stake. Sharon Mignerey's compelling and convincing narrative keeps the story moving at a good clip, balancing the ever-present danger with the burgeoning relationship between Ian and Rosie. These two are complex characters, ones with deep fears, past disappointments and honest longings.

Never having been to Alaska, I can't vouch for the authenticity of the actual locales, but the descriptions felt right. What also felt right was Ian's affection and concern for Rosie, a woman with secrets and hidden fears. Rosie is a sympathetic character whose inner strength comes to her rescue time and again.

Ian is a fascinating mixture of vulnerability and strength, balanced with high standards and strong ethics, traits highlighted by Sharon Mignerey's seeming genuine affection for him, as well as for Rosie. Annmarie is a charmer, an intelligent child who knows that their journey is a serious one, but she adds a much needed touch of lightness.

The action scenes are handled with exciting emphasis, and the romantic scenes are seductive and tender. This is a first-class, seamless blend of plot and characters, a mix that's refreshingly honest and open.

Too Close for Comfort is an exciting, powerful story handled with great skill and assurance. If you've never read any of Sharon Mignerey's stories, it's not too late to go on a hunt for them. And if you have sampled her magic, then you know what a great adventure is yours for the buying.

--Linda Mowery

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