4 out of 4 stars
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Severed Threads by Kaylin McFarren is the first in the Severed three-book series of romantic suspense novels.
Rachel Lyons is stuck in a pattern of isolation and avoidance after the death of her father, who died under suspicious circumstances while searching for a mythical treasure ship. Rachel blames herself and Chase Cohen, her then lover and father’s salvaging partner, for his death. She buries herself in work approving grants for a foundation. When Professor Ying, her father’s colleague and friend, reaches out to her about a grant proposal concerning the same treasure her father was trying to find, Rachel feels torn about helping him getting it approved. Adding to the complication, Chase is the captain of the salvaging crew Professor Ying wants to use. Her hand is forced into finding a way to approve the grant when she finds out her brother is kidnapped and the ransom is a piece of the salvaging loot. Will Rachel be able to forgive Chase long enough to tolerate a working relationship? Can she save her brother? Will she lose everything?
The characters are all complex, raw, and damaged, with great backstories. I found myself invested emotionally in the outcome of their individual stories. Rachel is self-reliant, annoyingly stubborn, and distrustful. She is incredibly capable, which makes it easy to forget how truly fragile she is. Chase sees Rachel as the one that got away and desperately wants to win her back. He’s charming, well-rounded, and has a lot of secrets. The book is told in third person point of view with alternating characters narrating, which is done flawlessly.
The writing is descriptive, character driven, and thoroughly edited. The story is woven in a way that leads the reader deeper into spiraling situations without questioning the twists and turns. The pacing is a fine balance between moments of pulse racing excitement and calm character developing moments. Severed Threads is edge of the seat reading.
There is obviously a lot of research that has gone into this book regarding salvaging, diving, and various other cultural information. It is refreshing that McFarren provides enough ship and diving terminology to feel authentic without alienating or boring the reader.
The only criticism is that the dream sequences start without warning, which can be difficult to determine if a scene is reality or a dream.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I enjoyed Rachel and Chase’s adventure and the side characters were well crafted. The writing was superb and the research appreciated. I recommend this book to romance and mystery lovers.
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