Roses & Thorns

Roses & Thorns

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

39 Bayshore by Donna J. Grisanti


Carolyn Reynolds’ health problems force her to sell her wildly successful company to avoid scandal if the truth comes out. Her mother’s tragic hit-and-run death plus day-to-day business pressures have overwhelmed her. Her aunts’ solution to relieve Carolyn’s maladies only make matters worse. The dilapidated fixer-upper mansion, Cass, Muriel, and Bee, gift her only comes with more stress-filled problems.

First, two scared teenaged vagrants with a baby with nowhere else to go add to meeting the other two lot owners: an ex-con contractor trying to get the job to rebuild Bayshore and a pastor trying to lessen Carolyn’s problems. Despite initial reservations, Carolyn comes to care about them all, as her own past comes back to haunt her. Her search for her mother’s killer has led someone to renew a dangerous interest in Carolyn’s life.

The two other Bayshore tenants have their own problems. Contractor Shealds Jackson hopes to prove he’s really a good man after a stint in prison tarred his name. Pastor Peter Allred aims to move on from a violent incident in his past. Both men will grow closer to Carolyn as murder and mayhem threaten to destroy, not rebuild, their lives.

About the Author:

Donna J. Grisanti made her debut as a published novelist in 2006 with Wandering Hearts. A former senior nursing administrator, she now divides her time between writing, family, and church. She lives in Tucson, Arizona.


I wanted to like 39 Bayshore, but it didn’t quite grab me that way I thought it should. The preface begins with a murder in Los Angeles, and then chapter one takes the reader to Maryland, and the murder in the preface is not addressed again for quite awhile. The book is also full of mixed tenses, misused words, and messy point-of-view changes (“head-hops”), sometimes in the middle of a paragraph. And I found the pacing very slow.

After about the fourth chapter, I was ready to just cut my losses and put it aside, but I cared about the characters enough to want to see what happened to them. So I did something I rarely do—I went to the back of the book to read the ending, and found characters who had not yet been introduced. Well, that didn’t work. Fortunately, I’d bookmarked the place where I’d left off, so I returned and read the rest, kvetching at the bad grammar and head-hops all the way through.

The copy I read was an advanced review copy, so some of the problems I found may have been fixed before publication. But I highly doubt the author fixed the fact that she started the book with a murder and then dropped it completely until much later.

Warnings:  None
Length:  342 Pages
Print:  $12.99
Digital:  $6.99

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