THE SECRETS BENEATH by Kimberley Woodhouse
SERIES: Treasures of the Earth #1
GENRE: Historical Romance (Christian)
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
RELEASE DATE: September 26, 2023
Some secrets can only stay buried for so long. . . .
Anna Lakeman has spent her life working alongside her paleontologist father, drawing intricate sketches at every dig. When they find dinosaur bones near their home in Wyoming Territory, they’re given the opportunity of a lifetime and are swiftly caught up in the competitive era of the Bone Wars. But after her father becomes sick and Joshua Ziegler, an old beau, returns for the summer, Anna’s world is upended, and the practical, orderly life she has made for herself shatters.
Medical student Joshua Ziegler left his hometown to forget Anna, the one woman he truly loved and deeply hurt. But when he returns, time hasn’t erased the feelings they’ve always had for each other. After Joshua’s nephew goes missing–just like his sister did years ago–and Anna’s job is threatened, tensions mount and dangerous secrets are unearthed.
“Kim has long been a favorite author of mine, and her book The Secrets Beneath is no exception. This book is full of intrigue and adventure, twists and turns.”–TRACIE PETERSON, USA Today bestselling author
Flash floods. Dinosaur bones. Missing children. Illness. Injury. Danger. Romance. Faith. All this and so much more awaits you in The Secrets Beneath by Kimberley Woodhouse!
First of all, I found the historical elements fascinating. I didn’t realize that there was such a push to discover dinosaur fossils in North America, and I want to learn more about the Bone Wars and the race to make those big discoveries, sometimes at any cost. Having Anna so intimately involved with the dig in The Secrets Beneath also raised my awareness of female paleontologists and their fight even now to be taken seriously in this branch of scientific exploration. Woodhouse does such a good job of crafting the dig scenes to involve readers as well, so that we too are waiting with bated breath to see what they will uncover next, feeling mutually frustrated with their obstacles, and rejoicing with them at their successes as if they were our own.
I was also not expecting the killer suspense thread (the pun worked) that Woodhouse incorporated so skillfully into this story. I love a good suspense plot, and this one is all kind of twisty and well-written and layered. After reading this author’s current contemporary suspense series too, I knew how good she is at crafting disturbed killers but y’all this was on a whole other level. I want to keep gushing about it, but I don’t want to give anything away so … suffice it to say… read this for yourself first chance you get & then come talk to me about it!
I loved Anna’s dad and the role he plays not only in the overall story but also in Anna & Joshua’s relationship. These two childhood sweethearts who are going through a bit of a rough patch reminded me of me and my husband early in our relationship when we still had A LOT to learn about our own weaknesses and how to love each other sacrificially. I really appreciated that Woodhouse chose to show a relationship that isn’t all lovey-dovey and hearts and roses but instead sustains some bumps and bruises on the way to happily-ever-after.
Bottom Line: The Secrets Beneath is an intriguing glimpse at a little-studied slice of American history, and I can’t wait to meet more female paleontologists as this series continues. The snippets from real-life paleontologist Earl Douglass at the beginning of each chapter were so profound and made me want to read more about his life and writings. In many ways, his quotes set the tone for the story, as far as the personal impact of paleontology on an actual historical figure’s heart and mind, and it made me see Anna and her father – and their passion for the discoveries – in a new light. The romance is both sweet and realistic, and the suspense is tightly written and deliciously twisted. Whether you care about dinosaurs or not, The Secrets Beneath by Kimberley Woodhouse is an entertaining escape to the historical western United States with relatable characters and a few surprises along the way!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / loved it!
KissingBook Level: 3 / may forget to breathe on occasion
Kimberley Woodhouse (kimberleywoodhouse.com) is an award-winning, bestselling author of more than 30 fiction and nonfiction books. Kim and her incredible husband of 30-plus years live in Colorado, where they play golf together, spend time with their kids and grandbaby, and research all the history around them.
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