Less spooky but scarier

A Gift of Time (Tassamara) - Sarah Wynde

A solid, thought-provoking book, this novel is #3 in the Tassamara series, but unlike the first two, this one is at once less funny and much, much deeper. The story revolves around two adult protagonists and former sweethearts: Natalya, a doctor, and Colin, the sheriff of Tassamara. I’ve met both before, on the periphery of the first two books in the series. Here they play the leads.

Like many in Tassamara, Natalya has a psychic gift – precognition. Ten years ago, she envisioned Colin’s death, which was the cause of a bitter breakup between them. Colin, oh-so-noble man, dumped Natalia after he learned of his impending death – for her own good, of course. Now, Natalya stumbles upon the scene she had foreseen ten years ago, only her vision doesn’t exactly come true. Colin is alive. Obviously, Natalya’s precognition malfunctioned this one time.

Furthermore, there is a mysterious girl on the scene, a seven-year-old child who doesn’t speak. Natalya takes the girl into her home and names her Kenzi – just for something to call her. As Natalya and Colin try to find out who Kenzi is and where she is from, the story unfolds around them, rolling into an unexpected direction. There are no quirky paranormal secrets there, like in the other two books, but the reality is much more frightening, even tragic. And much more plausible, alas.

I won’t go into specifics of what Natalya discovered about Kenzi’s past – don’t want to spoil the surprise for the readers, but I must say that the author handled this shocking twist in the story with surgical precision. The narrative vibrates with tension, as almost every page poses more questions. Who? What? Why? And no answers, until about 60% into the tale – neither for the readers, nor for the heroes. Then Natalya plunges into a perilous, volatile situation, and the answers are all there, staring her in the face, mocking her, while the tension escalates even faster and the stakes rise. After I passed the 60% mark on my Kindle, I couldn’t stop reading until I finished the novel.

The villain is terrifying despite his lack of paranormal abilities. He is as mundane as your neighbor and as dangerous as a suicide bomber. And both Natalya and Kenzi are trapped with him, while Colin is searching frantically for the woman he’s never stopped loving. Would she forgive him? Take him back? But first, he must find her and the child alive.

Many secondary characters play important roles in this story, as does the landscape, the lakes and forests of Florida.

Overall, a great book. I only gave it 4 stars instead of 5 for personal reasons: I like lighter reading material better. This book is a bit too dark for me, but for those who don’t mind a little darkness in their books, this might be the best in the series.