The Stone Arch Secret by K. D. Dowdall is my favorite of all the books I’ve read so far this year. What I love most about it is the deep rooted feeling of authenticity poured into each sentence. Dowdall has the gift of giving life and appreciation to the setting in a way that’s like no other author I’ve followed. The characters are excellent, I love Lilly and Noah both! They’re developed perfectly. It’s packed with personality, physical explanation, and the emotions felt as the reader are booming from cover to cover.
The main setting is in a place with beautiful, mysterious, and even creepy wooded areas, along with many old colonial style homes and places of business. Dowdall draws attention to the details that matter. As a rule, most colonial homes have a history, and The Stone Arch Secret brings this feature to the surface. Colonial building restorations, as well as usages are explained in a way that really give the entire book a rich authentic historical feel, and I love that!
It offers a few twists here and there that are shockingly unexpected. Enough so to keep you on the edge of your seat, yet still have a realistic feel!
Lilly, the main character, experiences a strange encounter of sorts as a teenager. She goes exploring in the woods with her cousin Dax, and something happens that changes her life forever and is shocking enough for each of their subconscious to block it. Dax winds up in a mental institution, and neither he nor Lilly can remember exactly what played out. Years later, upon hearing of the death of Dax, Lilly goes back to their childhood hometown Salmon Brook looking for answers from that life altering day.
Noah, a now grown man remembers Lilly from their childhood. He liked her then and is utterly drawn to her now, as she is him. He’s spent the last several years building a life for himself, and has also returned on a mission of his own. The two wind up weaving themselves into each other’s lives, and helping one another with each agenda. The flow is lovely, and the pieces of these two characters fit together seamlessly.
I love the unique angle of the villain (s). The community of Salmon Brook is not how it seems at first blush. There is a group of religious fanatics that are extremely shady. Their leader is a super creepy, calculated, and vindictive guy. As was his father and several others before them. The history of the group is disturbing and the current state of it is pure evil.
I love this book, and I look forward to reading even more of K. D. Dowdalls books!!
Readers who like books by Debra Burroughs and Melinda Leigh will like, The Stone Arch Secret. Twenty-eight-year-old anthropologist, Lilly Allaire, receives a phone call telling her that Dax is dead. The cause of death is unknown. At the age of fourteen, best friends, Lilly and Dax, experience a traumatic incident. After the incident, Dax is institutionalized in a psychiatric hospital in a catatonic state. For Dax, his memory loss is a subconscious act of self-preservation, a blocking out of all memories. Lilly still suffers a blocked memory of that day and has frequent nightmares. After Dax’s funeral, Lilly decides to go back to Salmon Brook, her hometown, to find out the truth about the mysterious incident that destroyed Dax’s life. While searching for clues to the incident, Lilly has a chance meeting with a former high school classmate, Noah Hawthorne. Noah remembers Lilly as his high school secret crush and offers to help her. Together, they try to unravel the mysterious incident that plagues Lilly’s dreams and turns them into nightmares. They soon realize that their hometown has a deadly secret and both their lives are now in danger. However, Noah has a secret of his own that puts Lilly in harm’s way.