Peony Red – Review

img_8676J. Lynn Bailey made me realize I need more Romantic Suspense in my life…or in my books, at least. I’d forgotten how much I love mixing two of my favorite genres into one. The pacing of this story was expertly done – every moment the story seemed to slow, there was another crumb of mystery added to the plot to keep me turning the pages as fast as possible. I didn’t really care about trying to figure “it” out as much as I simply enjoyed being along for the ride. Truly the best kind of book!


Three years ago, Alex Fisher lost her husband and since then, she hasn’t been able to find her stride. She’s out of a job, out of time, and running on fumes. When she receives a personal invitation to visit the picturesque town of Granite Harbor, Maine, she jumps at the chance to start fresh. 

For game warden Eli Young, life is simpler when he’s exploring the back roads of Maine. In the north woods, he doesn’t have to deal with town politics or his soon-to-be ex-wife. But a chance meeting with a brokenhearted newcomer leaves him tangled. He should walk away—except, now that he’s met her, he can’t turn back. 

When a young woman goes missing in town, tensions rise, and everyone becomes a suspect. Eli doesn’t think things can get any more complicated…until a picture of Alex is discovered at a gruesome crime scene. 

In a town where trust is hard to come by and ghosts from the past haunt its citizens in the broad light of day, the question isn’t whether Eli and Alex can save what’s left of their hearts…but whether they’ll live to see tomorrow.

“If we allow our experiences to define us, then I believe we get stuck—emotionally, mentally, spiritually. But, if we begin to embrace who we are fully, not allowing any label to capture us, then we become whole. We can take our life experiences and help someone else find their own.”

My favorite thing about J. Lynn Bailey’s books is not the albeit, amazing, stories but instead I find myself completely immersed in her writing style. Each book has perfect nuggets of wisdom, life reminders, and moments that make me want to be a better person. I find myself wishing I was friends with J. Lynn in real-life – her writing has a positive energy I want to latch onto. Only someone with a heart of gold could write some of the things she easily crafts into every chapter.

This was a seemingly simple story, set in fictional Granite Harbor, Maine, a picturesque town I wish I could visit in person. I imagined quaint towns I have visited in Colorado, with lots of touristy shops and restaurants, only set near the brisk waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Ironically, Maine has been on my brain lately, thanks to a wonderful package I received from a Christmas gift exchange in one of my Facebook book groups. The box was filled with Maple syrup, hiking goodies, a magazine showcasing the state, and more! I so badly want to visit, I wish I could teleport there now! Thankfully, the unexpected surprise of mentally checking into Granite Harbor was just the vacation I needed.

My only complaint about this story was the repetitive events told from dual perspectives. I’m grateful this wasn’t something done in every other chapter, and only during key moments when the author hoped to show the thoughts and emotions of each character. These redundant scenes in books are something I usually skim, considering I just read the exact same scene minutes before. Luckily, this was not done very often and was easy to move past and get back into the story.

I absolutely loved the characters in Peony Red, and not only the main characters, but every single person in this book. I think authors oftentimes feel as if they need to make at least one character every reader loathes, but it wasn’t necessary for this story. There was still an antagonist that caused conflict, but they were not the main focus of the story or a fuel for hate. In fact, the reader may even feel empathetic towards them when all is said and done.

Nearly everything about this book was so endearing, I couldn’t wait a moment to start the next book in the series, Violet Ugly. I wanted to hop on here quickly to review Peony Red before the two stories jumbled in my mind, but now it’s back to reading!

Make sure to pick this one up and get started now if you, too, need a taste of Romantic Suspense! The third book in the Granite Harbor Series, Magnolia Road, will be releasing soon!

Purchase on Amazon


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