Come Fill Up My Cup
by Jean Murray Munden
BookVenture Publishing LLC

"'You’ve been lonely?' he asked, with a half smile, and gazing again at her through those curly eyelashes."

In the mid-1990s, a Canadian woman named Robin Lindsay is traveling through Scotland on a pilgrimage of sorts. Years after the commercial flight her husband was piloting disappeared without a trace, she revisits his homeland to honor his memories and remember some places that they shared. While there, a nasty storm hits, knocking trees into the road and placing her car firmly in a ditch. After the mishap, Robin is fortunate to find herself not far from a quaint property with flickering lights inside. The building turns out to be a local bed and breakfast with stables and is occupied by a kind older woman and her nephew, James Maclachlan. Appreciative of their hospitality, Robin spends the night drying off and then a peaceful morning waiting for the electricity and the phone lines to be repaired.

Quickly, Robin and James start to hit it off, and each learns a bit of the similar tragedy in their respective pasts. Robin also learns about James’s family history and the revelation that James is an earl’s son. A relationship begins to bloom between the two, but one shrouded in James’s depression, withdrawing from his children, and marred by the mysterious death of a friend of Robin’s husband who tries to force himself on her. With Robin as the prime suspect, the police come by to ask questions and, in so doing, stir up unbidden memories of the past, causing James’s daughter to uncover the memories of her mother’s death. A growing family brought together by happenstance must lean on each other in times of great emotional duress and revelation.

What appears at first to be a simple story of romance in a faraway land manages to cram in a twist after every turn and leaves readers hungry to find out what happens next. Each chapter of this book is structured in a way that focuses on either the events or perspective of one of the many characters or the interaction between two characters, whether it’s the young relationship between Robin and James or events in the past that transpired between Eleanor and Claire or James’s parents. This form allows for questions to be answered directly shortly after they’ve been raised, although at times it can leave the reader on a cliffhanger just as a major development or reveal is about to take place.

Combining romance and drama with suspense and mystery creates a narrative that is positively spellbinding. It leaves the audience gasping with each untangled thread, yet it resolves itself neatly and cleanly by the end. Robin’s optimism is not long for the story, but her emotions ring true as she is caught both in the middle of her own troubles and those of the Maclachlan clan. Interestingly, Robin and James can be taken largely at face value from the moment we meet them and are portrayed as very honest and open, yet the supporting cast creates so much tension and action that the reader will hardly notice—other than to root for them to both find happiness. Pleasantly surprising and a thoroughly captivating read, the author has created in this book a profound drama that will hook the attention of its readers early and keep them on their toes all the way to the end.

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