A mystery set in wine country pitting financial exec Brynn Bancroft against a
determined stalker, a troubled love interest, and career clashes.
Brynn Bancroft learns that a former employee who beat her nearly to death
has returned to stalk her and her friend, Jillian Hillcrest, also a former victim.
Recently divorced, Brynn turns to a new love interest only to encounter additional unwelcome issues. Meanwhile, short-timer Brynn, who has resigned from her Silicon Valley company, becomes bored fulfilling her remaining responsibilities there. She begins to prefer supporting the launch of her ex-husband’s new hilltop winery while waiting to move to her next position. Between her stalker and her new love interest, Brynn faces a series of life-changing events.
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About Brynn Bancroft
Brynn Bancroft evolved from the Jillian Hillcrest mysteries where she served as Jillian’s manager while Chief Financial Officer of Harmonia Therapeutics in Silicon Valley. A shapely blonde with a MENSA IQ, she had an affair with the CEO of the company. Unfortunately for Brynn, the CEO’s wife figured out that the two were involved and asked Brynn to leave the company, which she agreed to do. In the meantime, her husband, Liam—not unfamiliar with extramarital affairs himself but also understanding that Brynn grew up in an abusive household- grew tired of waiting for Brynn to commit to their relationship and asked for a divorce. At the same time, he solicited her assistance in developing his new winery in Sonoma County, Calif. Much like Jillian–who does appear in the Brynn Bancroft mysteries–Brynn, too, attracts mystery and murders as she grows to enjoy life at her ex-husband’s Hilltop Sunset Winery.
This is the second book of Joyce T. Strand’s that I’ve read. She writes a good mystery with a lot of suspense and a few twists.
It was difficult for me to engage with the main character, Brynn. At first I thought it was because both she and Liam had multiple affairs during their marriage and it didn’t seem to bother her. I eventually realized, though, that it was because Brynn didn’t feel any emotions as was pointed out by Liam. As time went on, she was finally starting to “feel” and as she did, it was easier to empathize with her.
I found the relationship between Brynn and her ex, Liam, interesting. It was obvious that they loved each other but had had marital problems mainly because of Brynn’s inability to express her emotions. Since she’s getting better at that, maybe they’ll get back together in a future book like her friend, Jillian and her ex, Chad.
Hilltop Sunset is a good novel and anyone who likes suspense will enjoy it. If you like series, I suggest reading the Jillian Hillcrest first, which Brynn appears in.
Title: Changes (Family Portrait Vol. 1)
Author: Gillian Felix
Genre: New Adult
Publication Date: July 25, 2013
Adriana Banovic’s 15th birthday sucked! She got fired after eight years of playing Shayanne Montgomery on the #1 soap in the country, found out that her family was on the verge of bankruptcy and worst of all, forced to return to Westwood Academy. Her only saving grace was a chance glance at dreamy mystery boy Haze Lyndon. Armed with only his picture and a determination to find him—even if it means turning Los Angeles over on its ass.
In this new adult novel you’ll meet Robin Banovic, Adriana’s father; financially challenged, dealing with the death of a family member and his brother’s disappearance. You’ll meet Savannah DaCosta aka Savi, mother/manager; Savi enjoys the life her rock star daughter Leighann has provided. When Leighann makes a choice to end her career, Savi sees it as a personal attack. You’ll meet college boy Haze Lyndon; New to Los Angeles, Haze soon realizes how quickly money changes hands in the City of Angels. Will he return to questionable ways to survive or go back to the safety of his family in Wisconsin?
This novel is NOT for children, it contains strong language, reference to drug use and sexual situations, this novel is meant for mature teens and adults.
Changes is a good book as far as it goes. There are a lot of characters whose paths eventually cross and it’s a little difficult keeping them all straight at first, but by the middle of the book I was able to keep track.
I like Gillian Felix’s writing style. It’s easy to read and it flows well.
I recommend Changes but I would wait until Vol. 2 is out before reading this one. It’s basically an introduction to a series, as noted by the author below, and it ends just as things begin to happen.
You can purchase it on Amazon.