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Publisher's Summary

Deepest winter.
An isolated island off the coast of Maine.
A man.
A woman.
Puppets. (Yes, puppets…)
A mysterious house looming over the sea…
He's a reclusive writer whose imagination creates chilling horror novels. She's a down-on-her-luck actress reduced to staging kids' puppet shows. He knows a dozen ways to kill his characters with his bare hands. She knows a dozen ways to kill an audience with laughs. But she's not laughing now.
Annie Hewitt has arrived on Peregrine Island in the middle of a snowstorm and at the end of her resources. She's broke, dispirited, but not quite ready to give up. Her red suitcases hold the puppets she uses to make her living: sensible Dilly, spunky Scamp, and Leo, the baddest of bad guys. Her puppets, the romantic novels she loves, and a little bit of courage are all she has left.
Annie couldn't be more ill prepared for what she finds when she reaches Moonraker Cottage or for the man who dwells in Harp House, the mysterious mansion that hovers above the cottage from a windblown cliff. When she was a teenager, he betrayed her in a way she can never forget or forgive. Now they're trapped together on a frozen island along with a lonely widow, a mute little girl, and townspeople who don't know how to mind their own business.
Is he the villain she remembers or has he changed? Her head says no. Her heart says yes.
It's going to be a long, hot winter.
©2014 Susan Elizabeth Phillips (P)2014 HarperCollinsPublishers
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By C. Macduff on 09-19-14

Not SEP's best work

Is there anything you would change about this book?

Find some way to down play the puppets. For the most part I really didn't like them. I understand the role they play, but I think they could have been written in without being such an integeral part of Annie's life that she constantly heard their voices in her head and she talked to them as if they were real? I found it annoying and it creeped me out a bit and made me question her sanity.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

I enjoyed the flash backs to Annie's youth so that you understood the history, as she knew it, between her and Theo (her love interest). I also enjoyed slowly uncovering the truth about Theo and his life. The mystery of who was trying to get her to leave the island was interesting as well.

Did Erin Bennett do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

Yes. Very distinct voices. Would happily listen to another of her narrations.

What would have made this romance irresistible?

Lack of puppets. Did I mention I really didn't like them?

Any additional comments?

This book is a little over 12 hrs long. If you can force yourself to get through the first 4 hrs or so, then it starts to change and gets better. I have to say that I really haven't enjoyed the last two books SEP has written. I found that I was forcing myself to continue on and finish them. If this trend continues I will drop her from my "must read" authors list.

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17 of 18 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Darlene on 08-29-14


As a rule Susan Elizabeth Phillips writes humorous stories. This one is somewhat of a mystery with not as much humor in it. Actually I found it took me awhile to really get into the story. But was very glad I stayed with it. There were twists and turns in who the real villain was going to end up being. Along with the little mute girl and the hand puppet's. Will I listen to this book again? You bet I will. Erin Bennett did a great job narrating as well. If you are looking for another laugh out loud story? Do not buy this one. If however you would like to read a good light mystery? This Book is the one to buy.

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14 of 15 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By kendra_thomas on 09-14-15

I like that voice

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Rather not, but only - as a non-native listener - I hardly would find anybody to understand the story at all...

Would you be willing to try another book from Susan Elizabeth Phillips? Why or why not?

I've read a few of SEP's books in English and German, so yes. As a diversion from my usual reading habits.

What does Erin Bennett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

Don't know exactly. I like her voice and the slightly recognizable amercan accent.

If you made a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

I would never make a film out of this - sorry - thin story. This is a book for leisure-time and a stormy weekend. But no more.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Marina Semina on 02-26-17

quirky romance

not for the first time SEP starts off somewhere far removed from anywhere readily loveable and you struggle to believe you will ever come to care for the main characters or their, in the first few chapters, highly unlikely, romance but with expert hand SEP weaves a story which is both compelling, entertaining and beautiful. i laughed, i cried and I felt privileged to witness things finally falling into place. it was entertaining but the book also left me inspired.

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