Shuttered Life: Florentine Roth

Old secrets never stay buried. News of her Uncle’s heart attack brings Elisa Westphal back to Dusseldorf & her childhood home. Having left under strained circumstances, she’s apprehensive to be home. It doesn’t help that her mother disapproves of her return & the family has mixed feelings about her mother as well. The last time they were all together was for her father’s funeral. Although it was a car accident, the family blames Elisa’s mother for causing it as the driver. Harsh words & pointing fingers severed the family ties.

Elisa takes this opportunity to visit her uncle & to dig into her father’s life. Since he was taken far too soon, she’s like a better grasp of who he really was. What better place to find familial answers than in the home he lived in?

Someone in the household is none too pleased at Elisa’s homecoming. Soon after she arrives, cryptic notes begin appearing in her room. When they aren’t immediately heeded, unfortunate incidents begin occurring. Could it have something to do with her research on her father? Everyone is acting weird in Elisa’s opinion. Uncle Justus is eccentric. Cousin Kristina will barely acknowledge her presence. Aunt Helen is cold & standoffish. Her male cousins David & Lukas are friendly, but neither one seems completely on the up & up. Not to mention, there’s David’s girlfriend Valerie who is jealous of Elisa & makes it well-known.

Each occurrence makes Elisa more determined to discover exactly what is going on. But if the notes are any indication, she needs to move quickly before her adversary runs out of patience.

Florentine Roth was a new-to-me author. ‘Shuttered Life’ is translated from its original German. While not without flaws, I think the author did a good job of pulling together a dramatic mystery without excessive length. Most alert readers will pin point the answer to the mystery around the middle of the novel. Granted, I could have done without the cousin/cousin romance of David & Elisa plus, the characters are a bit underdone. Still, I enjoyed it. It’s a perfect, quick, rainy night read for Summer. Clean, non-violent, & doesn’t require any investment on the readers’ part- I give it 4 stars.

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