Authors Showcase: Romance & a Mystery
March 28, 2013
The Book: Sarah Darlin’
The Author: Shirley Skufca Hickman
The Story: English aristocrat, Richard Moresby, travels to the California gold fields hoping to make a fortune to reclaim his ancestral estate. But when he meets spirited Sarah O’Malley, an actress at the Jenny Lind Theater, his thoughts of England begin to fade.
Accustomed to rebuffing male attentions in 1850s San Francisco, Sarah is surprised to find Richard as he both intrigues and excites her. But she knows Moresby’s rakish reputation and fears damaging hers, so she rebuffs him.
Moresby persists and continues to pursue her, but before they can declare their love, they must deal with prejudice, a murder trial, a lynching party, a fire at the Jenny Lind, and a terrible secret from Sarah’s past.
About the Author: Shirley Skufca Hickman was brought up in a Colorado coal mining town and wrote about those early years in her first book. She graduated with a B.A. from Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado and later earned two Master of Arts Degrees. Hickman founded the Porterville Writer’s Workshop, and has published poetry and prize-winning short stories. She makes her home in Central California.
The Story: Night Watch, set in Trinidad, developed from some of the adventures author Mary Montague Sikes and her husband experienced when they traveled to the big island located off the coast of Venezuela. They expected a vacation but instead found themselves caught up in a variety of exciting escapades. As always in her writing journey, Sikes used her imagination and asked the question, “what if?” She also thought about the old movie, Casablanca, featuring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman that became a classic. She imagined that Trinidad might be like Casablanca, and she found that in some ways it was.A network of dark caves with stalactites and stalagmites, located on that island, created lots of “what ifs” for Sikes, especially when she learned of the island’s colonial history and found the caves were once frequented by pirates who hid their treasures there. Crossing the gulf and passing ocean-going vessels made her wonder, what if Lily, her heroine, journeyed by small boat over these waters late at night with her life in danger? What if she looked like a woman murdered in the waters of the English Channel and mistaken identity put her in danger? What if she were caught up in a gun running mystery and later kidnapped? What if, to add to the intrigue, a series of art thefts might also be part of the mystery? And what about the memories Lily starts to have? Are they hers, or is something unusual happening in this story?Sikes’ publisher, Oak Tree Books, has created the Passenger to Paradise series for her books. “Be swept away to distant lands, exotic locales,” is the slogan designed for the books along with a special logo.
Other books in the series are: Hearts Across Forever, set in Jamaica and featuring the white witch of Rose Hall, past lives, and present day voodoo; Eagle Rising, with Sedona’s powerful vortexes and burnished landscapes; Secrets by the Sea, with a sprawling mansion overlooking the shores of Antigua. In that book, the reader gets to tour every room—exquisite ones, charming ones, and the secret ones. Jungle Jeopardy, set among the Maya ruins of Central America, is a sequel to Secrets by the Sea and the latest in the Passenger to Paradise series.
Review by Jennie DeGenero:
“If you want to read an exciting, fast-moving mystery-romance, read Mary Montague Sikes, Night Watch. It is the kind of book you can’t put down. When finding yourself reading just one more chapter, you’ll find you’ve read three or more and still can’t put it down. The characters are well drawn, the plot is new and unusual with the locale described in such a way, you feel you have been there with the characters. We will wait impatiently for the next book in the “Passenger to Paradise” series.
Review by Darlene Lee:
Night Watch introduced me to a concept that I had not really thought about. We’ve all heard about people who believe they have lived before, but I’ve never heard of anyone “receiving” memories from past lives.” Quite interesting and, as in all of Mary Sikes novels. leads you through a maze of intrique. Quite interesting.