Signet, Nov 2003, 6.99, 320 pp.
Isabella Hutchinson takes a leave of absence from her job in Manhattan's oldest antiquarian bookstore Belvedere Books to bury her beloved mother Matilde. In Ipswich by the Sea, Massachusetts, Isabella reads a letter from her mother that leads her to a hidden box containing a family secret. Inside are a crystal and a B&W photo of a man with the phrase Worth Village, Scotland.
Unable to resist, Isabella travels to the remote village in search of her roots, but she becomes lost. A person in the road holding a gun yells at her to go back, which she does, finally finding her B&B. Though friendly towards her, the townsfolk deny knowledge of Isabella, but she manages to locate a birth record with a different last name. Isabella meets that crazy guy (who had the gun) again. He turns out to be wealthy Graeme Mackenzie, new owner of Worth Castle. He does not trust her as he hides since every single woman in the country wants to marry him due to his loot, title, and looks. Still Graeme and Isabella fall in love.
Readers will take immense pleasure from the delightful THE SECRET GIFT. The mystery of Matilde hooks the audience as much as it grips Isabella as readers will want know what is going on past and present in Worth. Graeme is an intriguing protagonist who finds fame and fortune is not worth the price of his freedom. Fans of a contemporary village romance with a touch of intrigue will find this novel is just the gift for them.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner