Spouse Trap (The Madeline Dawkins Series) Paperback – February 8, 2013
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During one such ceremony, Madeline spends time dancing with a handsome stranger. This catches the attention of her husband, who angrily leaves her at the ballroom. Upset over her husband's strange behavior, she remains at the ceremony she put together to ensure guests are well-treated. This decision changes her life forever.
When Madeline awakens next morning in the hotel room associated with the ballroom, she is disoriented, drowsy even, disheveled----and naked! Finding her clothes, she dresses and leaves the strange room wondering what happened. She returns home and is confronted by her husband, Steve, who hands her an envelope with pictures of her having sex with the handsome stranger from the ball.
Madeline denies knowledge of the scenes in the photos, but the evidence is clear and Steve wants her out of their posh home, lock-stock-and barrel. He quickly pushes for a divorce, and Madeline has no idea what is going on, and what to do. After swearing her love to her husband, she follows him through Santa Barbara's streets by pure chance and witnesses a scene that rocks her to her core.
As Madeline digs into what may have happened that fateful night, she realizes who may have been behind this terrible treachery. With nerves of steel, she swears to get to the bottom of things and find out why her life has been turned upside down. But she needs help, and knows it. When she hires Burt Latham, private investigator, things seem to start falling in place. Burt knows what he is doing and soon pieces to the puzzle fall in place. But time is not on Madeline's side. In her marital prenuptial there is a clause stating that adultery will cost her everything, and those pictures are irrefutable evidence for her husband to use against her.
As Madeline and Burt come closer to finding out who planned this treacherous act, and why, Madeline realizes getting to the truth may cost her life!
This is my first book by Cynthia Hamilton I've had the pleasure of reading. I mention pleasure because it's not the typical thriller I read, which is why I enjoyed it all the more. It's the kind of book which makes readers of specific genres learn there are plenty of other good stories out there. One only needs to open the cover of a new, different genre book. The author's description of Santa Barbara makes the reader feel like you're right there. Her details of Madeline losing her mind over what happens are vivid, and one cannot help wonder if this sort of thing has happened before. I love reading books where the author has done the required research, and this book indicates Ms. Hamilton has done precisely that. It's full of mind-numbing suspense, and a real page-turner. I'm glad to see this character, Madeline 'Mad Dog' Dawkins is in a series written by Cynthia Hamilton. I look forward to learning more about her.
I stuck with it to the end but won't be recommending to my friends. Sorry.
Here was a woman who had life by the tail. She and her husband had lots of money and were well respected in Santa Barbara. Her life was perfect...until it wasn't. When her husband threw photos at her of her having sex with another man and demanding a divorce, her life went down the drain.
What an incredible story. I've never read anything like it. Following Madeline along while she at first tries to make her husband believe she was innocent and later when she investigates who set her up and why kept me fully absorbed in the story. At first I though I wouldn't be interested in this story because of the setting in such wealth but I loved Madeline. She's smart, competent and determined to find the truth.
I enjoyed this book and I can't wait to read more of her adventures.
I found the end extremely disappointing: she didn't get her revenge on the horrid husband but she and her old friend (I was never sure whether she liked him or not, really - she never seemed very pleased to hear from him!) decided to set up in business together as Private Investigators. I'm sorry to say I thought the ending was a complete cop-out!
But still, I did enjoy most of this book, in spite of its few disappointments.
Top international reviews
Cynthia Hamilton writes with panache and skilfully builds a story without the seams showing.
I was on Team Madeline from the outset; she was clearly an innocent victim of a despicable violation but her husband refuses to believe her side of the story. It dawns on Madeline that the scene might even be one of entrapment - but at whose hands, and for what gain? Our defiled heroine proves to have a steely determination and turns amateur sleuth while I cheered her on from the sidelines. Whoever has picked on this seemingly easy target has totally underestimated her resolve!
Themes of treachery and subterfuge thicken the plot and Hamilton kept me binge-reading into the early hours.
As paranoia sets in, Madeline's long-term friend, Mike, proves to be a man to depend upon in a crisis and the scenes on the beautiful island of Guam had me wishing I was on the next flight!
This was a tightly-plotted thriller by an author who knows her craft. Cynthia Hamilton has created a stylish page-turner that grabbed me from the first intriguing paragraph to the last.
‘Spouse Trap’ opens thrillingly, and once it has you in its grip it never eases off. Author Cynthia Hamilton has crafted an addictive narrative - psychologically credible and cunningly constructed. Much more than a cozy mystery tale, the first book in Ms. Hamilton’s Madeline Dawkins series is a thoughtful study of the disintegration of a marriage and its chilling aftermath. The novel has plenty of pace and twists (but no spoilers here),and the author’s prose is smooth and engaging. You will almost certainly want to read more of Ms. Dawkins’ adventures. Highly recommended for lovers of good ‘I-wonder-how-she-gets-out-of-this’ stories.
I had to Google NHDF and I'm not convinced the Normal Human Dermal Fibroblasts is right but that is listed right up there. So I'm none the wiser. This sentence is wrong-"...she was instantly filled a white-hot hatred." I reached a page where "The thought that he was even capable of such acts of cruelty and abuse made her start crying again" was written referring to hubby's reaction to photos of her having it off with someone else. He hadn't bashed her or anything, just told her she was a slut, which I'd think was to be expected under the circumstances. If she couldn't see that, then she was stupid as well.
I prefer my leading ladies to be a bit more ballsy, I'm afraid.
The author shows a great character development from insipid RHO[enter place] to ballsy gumshoe - or gumstiletto
In this book the protagonist has to totally come to the end of herself to find out who she is and then re-invent herself as the ballsy character that she is.
Love the writing - it is an easy style to read!
Can't wait for book 5!
Spouse Trap is the first book in the Madeline Dawkins series by Cynthia Hamilton. I really enjoyed reading this exciting mystery- Ms. Hamilton’s cleverly crafted story had me avidly reading alone trying to piece everything together- whilst rooting for Madeline to find the justice she deserved and win out in the end.
I loved all the tension, drama, intrigue, and suspense that Ms. Hamilton was able to instil in her story- it definitely made for an exciting read. I love when a story captivates me like this- where I lose all sense of time and place because I am so invested in the story, desperately wanting to know how things turn out in the end but also not wanting the story to end because I am enjoying it so much.
This first book certainly sets the whole series off to a fantastic start- leaving me with an addiction and needing my next ‘fix’. So, I have already been on a hunting mission and snapped up the other three books in the series just so I can see what else Madeline gets up to.
Cleverly woven with lots of interconnected elements and complex layers that made this story all the more enthralling. Highly recommended reading!!
Thank you, Cynthia Hamilton!