"HEARTH FIRES," by Dorothy Keddington, Currawong Press, $17.99, 303 pages (f)

Mackenzie Graham has a rewarding job and seems to have no problems attracting interested suitors. However, life changes when she inadvertently sees something a very powerful man wishes she hadn’t.

When a few robberies escalate into someone’s death, a police officer realizes just how serious things are and finds a safe place for Mackenzie to go into hiding. But, while Mackenzie is physically safe, she soon feels a pull toward the unknown man who came to her rescue.

This East Coast girl also learns the drastic difference between her more materialistic parents and that of a Southern Utah couple who welcome her into their hearts.

Set mainly in Southern Utah, author Dorothy Keddington does a wonderful job describing the rugged beauty of the area and the workings of a woman’s heart. She also manages to blend the perfect amount of tension with a budding relationship.

Some of Keddington’s passages border on poetic, but they seem a bit out of place sandwiched between the romance and suspense. However, this novel is a fun read and can be difficult to put down.

While sad when one of the characters is murdered, it is nevertheless invigorating to have an author unafraid to kill off some of the inhabitants of her book.

Also, Keddington’s method of waiting to introduce the Mackenzie’s love interest is refreshing and helps readers get to know the main character as a person before the romance happens.

Comment on this story

“Hearth Fires” has many suspenseful moments and deals with violence and murder. There is mention of illegal drugs, but only in a minor way. The book contains a few mild profanities but overall and is a clean novel, with romance is limited to kissing.

“Hearth Fires” is a 2013 Whitney Award finalist for romance. Whitney Awards recognize novels by members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Keddington is a native of Salt Lake City. A writer, speaker and genealogist, she resides in Sandy, Utah.

Elizabeth Reid has bachelor degrees in economics and history. She has worked in retail, medical billing, catering, education and business fields. Her favorite occupation is that of wife and mother. She blogs at gelatoandchocolate.blogspot.com.