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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars strong suspense thriller
After losing her marketing executive job due to some sort of US Attorney General investigation of her, Sienna Collins considers moving onto the property she inherited from her late grandfather in Harmony Grove, Pennsylvania. Based on the advice of her then boyfriend Troy Griffin, Sienna and her dad converted the place into a successful Lancaster County Bed and Breakfast...
Published on October 22, 2010 by Harriet Klausner

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars
Readers familiar with Mindy Starns Clark know that she is an incredible writer that can weave an intricate story together in a phenomenal way. Her plots are always complex and her characters believable. It is also very difficult to put down one of her novels because the action is always non-stop.

That said, Secrets of Harmony Grove was a rather complicated...
Published on April 18, 2011 by Christy


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars strong suspense thriller, October 22, 2010
After losing her marketing executive job due to some sort of US Attorney General investigation of her, Sienna Collins considers moving onto the property she inherited from her late grandfather in Harmony Grove, Pennsylvania. Based on the advice of her then boyfriend Troy Griffin, Sienna and her dad converted the place into a successful Lancaster County Bed and Breakfast though she has not been there in a couple of years.

Still in Boston, Sienna tries to figure out what just happened to her when Troy calls. Sienna heads to the B&B only to find Troy dead and already in legal trouble, she is only suspect. As she investigates, she finds ties to the Holocaust and increased suspicion by the cops that she is dangerous while someone watches her every move.

The key to this strong suspense thriller is a romantic subplot remains mostly in the background supporting the prime theme of a woman in trouble. The story line is fast-paced from the moment that Sienna is suspended from her job and never slows down as she and the readers try to figure out what is going on in this complicated mystery. Although the climax seems too simple for such a complex plot, fans will relish learning the Secrets of Harmony Cove.

Harriet Klausner
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars 3.5 Stars, April 18, 2011
Readers familiar with Mindy Starns Clark know that she is an incredible writer that can weave an intricate story together in a phenomenal way. Her plots are always complex and her characters believable. It is also very difficult to put down one of her novels because the action is always non-stop.

That said, Secrets of Harmony Grove was a rather complicated story. The plot, while interesting from the word "go," had way too many twists and turns. It was a mystery within a mystery, with a few other mysteries served on the side. With all of the subplots, it was not a surprising experience to find several lagging portions in the book.

Knowing that Clark has written another Amish/mystery story, it was a given that the two books were easy to compare against each other. While neither book was overtly Amish, each book featured parts of the Amish lifestyle that are not commonly mentioned in strictly Amish novels. For example, this novel dealt with mental illness and Amish ancestry, while her other novel explained the intricacies of DNA research and diseases among the Amish.

Readers who enjoy lighthearted stories may wish to bypass this particular novel. Clark is a very talented mystery author, but this novel, in particular, had a few scenes that were darker than her usual fare. It will be interesting to see how she has used this novel, as well as her previous Amish/mystery novel, as she branches out with co-writing Amish novels.

3.5 Stars
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Christian suspense, October 30, 2010
I have read all Mindy Starns Clark's books and have never been disappointed. I wasn't with this one, either. Clark weaves a doggone good mystery. She keeps you guessing until the end, that's for sure, although I did guess correctly where the diamonds were early in the story.

She certainly keeps a wonderful spiritual vein running throughout, which I deeply appreciate. This one was not as good as the last one, but it will not deter me from buying her next offering. I really enjoyed the book, though.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, Unique, Different, Thought-Provoking, March 18, 2011
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Secrets of Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark

Secrets of Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark was the March group read for the Fans of Amish Fiction group on GoodReads. (A group which excitingly now has over 100 members!!)

I finished it in the first couple days of the month, but I held off posting my review so that I wouldn't ruin anything about the book for our other group members who hadn't gotten through it yet.

Let me start off by saying I *REALLY* liked Secrets of Harmony Grove.

Secrets of Harmony Grove follows the story of Sienna Collins who is working a high profile job as a marketing executive. However, she gets called into the office by her bosses as she returns from a business trip to the news that she is going to be going on unpaid leave due to the federal investigation which has began looking into some crime she may have committed. Her bosses refuse to give her any more details, and Sienna is left to pack up her office and has one week to clear or name or risk being fired.

Sienna, obviously upset, goes to see her parents, but does not want to burden her family with the news due to her mother being very ill with M.S. As she is at her parents trying to figure out what has happened to her, she gets a strange phone call from her ex-boyfriend, who is out at the inn she owns in Harmony Grove, Pennsylvania. He is confused, asking her strange questions about a "fishing tree" and seems to be falling terribly ill during the conversation.

Totally baffled, Sienna cannot get a hold of her ex after he hangs up on her, and so she decides to drive out to Harmony Grove to figure out what is going on at her inn. When she arrives, she finds his dead body in the yard along with the manager of the inn.

Immediately Sienna's life is turned upside down. She is facing losing her job and now has two dead bodies on her property casting further suspicion on her. Not to mention, as she digs deeper she finds out some mysterious things about how her inn has been run; secrets that may only be answered by going deep into the grove Sienna's grandfather had built...

Read Secrets of Harmony Grove to find out if Sienna is able to clear her good name or if the secrets are so complex that when uncovered threaten to destroy her reputation and relationships even more...

I really loved Secrets of Harmony Grove. It was a mystery (which I adore) set in Amish country. While the main characters were not Amish, many of the characters in the story were.

I don't want to give away too much, but this book was a lot more complex and detailed that I expected. The story took us places I never imagined. It is not a dark read in the sense it is depressing and morbid, but it is not a light-hearted comedy either. It definitely is more dark than a lot of murder mysteries, and it touched on subjects unexpected that are themselves very dark (I would explain more but it would give away too much).

I definitely think this is a fantastic book, well-worth the read because it forces the reader to think deeply about important things. While some do not enjoy this type of thinking, I personally find it vitally important to continue to do so, so our society does not make the same mistakes repeatedly.

5 out of 5 stars!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, December 1, 2010
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This was a great read. I kept turning pages and reading one more page trying to figure out "who done it". I was surprised at the end to find out the actual killer. Wow!! Great book with lots of twists and turns that take you in one direction only to cause you to wind up somewhere else. I think Ms Clark did an excellent job of weaving history into this book, and showing how relationships can be affected by the circumstances that we go through.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some Secrets are Worth Revealing, December 25, 2010
I first met Mindy Starns Clark with A Penny for Your Thoughts (which looks like it's being released in April 2011). Mindy's writing cemented my love for Christian Fiction. I loved Callie Webber and the story line through this amazing series. Mindy followed the Million Dollar series by introducing us to Jo Tulip in the Smart Chick trilogy. I didn't relate as deeply with Jo as I had with Callie, but again a great series of books.

Secrets of Harmony Grove is now the fourth standalone novel and her second trip to Amish country. I've not felt drawn to the Amish fiction that seems to be so popular these days. But I am drawn to Mindy's writing so here we are with Sienna Collins.

Sienna to say the least is an adrenaline junkie. She begins the story on top of the world a great new job, fancy new car and an expensive new car. She quickly finds it all crashing down around her. It's kind of a 0 to 60 mph to brick wall effect. At times I wanted to shake her or slap her to tell her to get a grip. Yet, much of who Sienna is in this story is a product of past events.

The supporting cast in this story include three men who add a new dimension to the story, everything from recklessness to strong stability. The interactions with them ultimately lead Sienna to the person she is at the end of the story. Being based in Amish Country there are, of course, who Amish extended family. They not only add wisdom to Sienna's life but there are a few things that you won't expect if you've read other Amish stories.

There is much more I could say about the characters but won't, it will be more fun for you to discover them yourself. This is a good story. Although, I didn't find myself relating with Sienna I enjoyed watching her struggle through the miry clay of her situation. There were a couple of times early on when I thought I had it all figured out only to find out I was totally wrong. So I gave up and enjoyed the story.

This book is suspenseful, but not like a Brandilyn Collins or Steven James. (Sorry only one dead body in this one!)

I would like to thank the publisher for providing this book for my review, however, the views are strictly my own.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mystery in Amish Country..that's not really about the Amish, October 22, 2010
First I must start off by saying that even though this book is set in Amish country, it is NOT an Amish book. There are some Amish characters but this is not a book about the Amish nor does it even really focus on any type of Amish culture at all. Therefore this book should not really be classified as an Amish fiction book. That being said, this book features all the aspects I do enjoy about Amish country without it being an actual Amish book.

The story deals with Samantha, a marketing executive who suddenly finds herself removed from her job due to her being investigated by the US Attorney General's office. The problem is that she has no idea what she has done and no one will tell her anything. While she's left pondering this, she gets a strange phone call from an ex-boyfriend that leaves her unsettled. She then drives up to the bed and breakfast in Amish country that she owns and finds him dead on the property. This leads into more strange revolutions being revealed about Samantha's property and her own family history.

I love stories that deal with bed and breakfasts places but this book doesn't really focus on the inn keeping side of the story. Instead the business side of the operation is shown in a how NOT to run the place type of scenario. The story shows that you really can't trust everyone or at the very least, keep in contact with people who are running your property. You never know when someone could be using your name to do their dirty business especially when it's someone you've put your trust in. Samantha got a total shocker when she finds out that the men she trusted were just using her but immediately sets out to right the wrongs they have caused.

The entire situation dealing with Samantha's grandfather was totally engrossing. I would have loved to have read an entire series just dealing with what he went through in his life. It's not often you read about Amish people joining the military and going into combat, much less traveling into Europe and marrying a Jew. Seriously his entire life and that of his wives and sons was so interesting that I wanted more of that part of the story than the actual mystery. I loved reading about the garden and all the poetry and mythology that is showcased there. It brought a lyrical and haunting mood to the story that complimented the murders and suspense that was going on as well.

While I really enjoyed this book, I felt that the second half of the book wasn't as interesting as the first half. This sounds weird because the second half is where everything gets explained and resolved. However I thought the build-up to the story and the not knowing aspect of it was written a lot better. Once things start being revealed, while they were very exciting, I just didn't feel as intrigued in the story as I had been earlier.

Overall, this book was a really good mystery and suspense novel. It had great build up and lots of suspense about what was really going on at the bed and breakfast. Clark's mysteries are always well written and enjoyable to read. If you're in the mood for a good mystery, with a touch of history, this is the perfect read for a fall afternoon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable mystery with a WWII twist, November 19, 2010
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Secrets of Harmony Grove is another great read by Mindy Starns Clark. Each book gets better -- and this one doesn't have the intense suspense pacing of Under the Cajun Moon. It is set in Amish country, but like another reviewer said isn't an Amish book. Instead, the story focuses on Sienna and a murder that occurs at her B&B in the heart of Lancaster county.

There are many layers that are woven from the first chapter. At times I wondered how all the varied pieces would fit together, but by the end, they all came together. There's her job, her boyfriend, a mystery surrounding her grandfather, a World War II twist, not to mention a murder and couple assaults to be solved. As she digs, each layer twists and turns through the pages.

There's also a tightly woven layer spiritual theme that fits with the rest of the plot. It adds a layer of dimension to the main character without slowing down the reading. The characterization goes below the surface level, and the motivations for the characters works. It is a complex book that makes for a page-turning read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and the ultimate twist that comes in the final pages.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mindy delivers once again, January 7, 2011
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Mindy Starns Clarks is one terrific writer. She really pulls you into the story from the first page. In this one, a young professional women comes back from a successful business trip to find out she's suspended from her job and under investigation from the US Attorney General. She heads off to the bed and breakfast she owns in Amish country (her grandfather left the sect but she has lots of friends and relatives nearby) and finds out that although the B&B always turns a profit, it hasn't hosted any guests.... Mindy does a great job in portraying strong women in difficult circumstances.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars MSC doesn't disappoint!, January 26, 2011
Secrets of Harmony Grove was the third book of Mindy Starns Clark I've read. I've enjoyed each one and have come to anticipate her signature "a mystery within a mystery." Clark always tells a parallel story where the past and present intersect. Clark sets up shop in Amish Pennsylvania and does so well. I enjoyed her setting, her characters and the unfolding mystery AND romance. If you want a good mystery to cozy up to the fire with, Secrets of Harmony Grove will not leave you cold!
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Secrets of Harmony Grove
Secrets of Harmony Grove by Mindy Starns Clark
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