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By Cyndia Depre

Mundania Press LLC (January 30, 2005)
ISBN: 1594260141

Reviewed by Karen Meek

Amanda Winslow has been acquitted of murdering her husband Michael and wanting to make a fresh start, moves from Minneapolis, to Carlisle, a small town in Illinois. She quickly strikes up a friendship with her neighbours and their close friends Wade and Jack. Wade and Jack have grown up together and run their own law firm. Wade and Amanda are swiftly almost inseparable, sharing the same interests and quick wit. Amanda has chosen to hide her past and recent trial but she feels uncomfortable around Jack as he seems to see through her façade and is puzzled by what he finds.

Soon Amanda’s new life is shattered when a local writer recognises her and tells Jack that she was accused of murdering her husband. Jack, afraid for Wade insists that she tell Wade the truth. Jack at first appears to believe that Amanda is a murderess but decides to get Amanda to demonstrate her innocence by asking her to relive the last day of her husband’s life and he tries to use his lawyer’s brain to discover the truth.

Their conversations take place over several months and Jack realises quickly that Wade is in love with Amanda’s sister and eventually that he is in love with Amanda. Amanda’s secrets, which preceded her murder trial by many years, are brought back to life from where Amanda had buried them. Finally, as Jack and Amanda draw closer, Amanda receives closure for her past behaviour and Jack discovers the truth about Amanda and her marriage to Michael and his death.

AMANDA’S RIB was a very gripping read with the story of Amanda’s life being drawn out from her as she read her old diaries, as well as from Jack’s questions, and the ending was impossible to predict. I can imagine this book being categorised under romantic suspense rather than mystery as the romance element is quite a strong feature. There is a lot of witty banter between Amanda, Wade and Jack, which made me smile. I also thought what a good play this would make with just the characters of Amanda and Jack as, each time a further part of the mystery was revealed, my opinion of what happened would change.

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