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Meet Me in Barcelona by Mary Carter


Grace Sawyer arrives in Barcelona with her boyfriend to enjoy a few days of holiday and forget her musical career woes. But fate has other things in mind when someone from her past caught up with her in the form of her old childhood best friend and foster-sister Carrie Ann Gilbert. After the breakdown of their friendship fifteen years ago, Carrie Ann’s presence in Barcelona stirred up turbulent memories Grace had long buried.

Now secrets start to unravel and relationships get tested. Was Grace finally ready to face the haunting of the past and fight the shadows of her old self?

In this new suspense novel, the story start out slow and a little scenic under the heady magic of Barcelona before it simmers into a bizarre turmoil as things pick up around the middle. There was much psychological play involved as well as some orchestrated ploy to keep the thrill. The book seemed like a game within a game. Though I am not big on suspense, I enjoy a subtle mystery every now and then and I felt that it could have benefited with a little ‘show more, don’t tell’ element.

Nonetheless, the setting grabbed my attention enough for me not to mind the rest. Barcelona is full of life and happenings. There are glimpses of the Sagrada Familia and other art of Antoni Gaudi, costume pageantry parading on the streets, Miro and Dali museum and music festivals. It added a much needed flavor on the story.

Unwittingly, more or less Carrie Ann’s character practically carried the whole thing. She was trouble with a capital T but I could almost admire her for being a stand-out and a well fleshed-out figure while I couldn’t say the same for Grace. In Carrie Ann, Mary Carter was able to forge a complex character that blurs the line between a protagonist and antagonist. You’d both like her for her wit and funny remarks and hate her for her manipulation and dramatic flairs. She was probably the most interesting out of them all.

Grace’s character, on the other hand I feared, suffered from inconstancy as a possible result of the direction of the plot making her somewhat wishy-washy. She exuded lots of randomness in her train of thought without much value to the story or the past but perhaps merely to throw readers off the scent, so to speak. On a side note, for someone not physically there, Marsh Everett gets a lot of mention and the times he crops up border on hit and miss.

Barcelona itself made a difference, I must say. The intriguing race to the end interspersed with description of arts and street life basking under the hot sun made everything seem otherworldly and more exciting. Amidst the warmth and liveliness, friendship and love and truth are revealed in its stark nakedness.

Summary

A surprise trip to Barcelona with her boyfriend, Jake, seems like the perfect antidote to Grace Sawyer's current woes. The city is dazzling and unpredictable, but the biggest surprise for Grace is discovering who arranged and paid for the vacation.
 
Carrie Ann wasn't just Grace's foster sister. Clever, pretty, and mercurial, she was her best friend--until everything went terribly wrong. Now, as she flees an abusive marriage, Carrie Ann has turned to the one person she hopes will come through for her. Despite her initial misgivings, Grace wants to help. But then Carrie Ann and Jake both go missing. Stunned and confused, Grace begins to realize how much of herself she's kept from Jake--and how much of Carrie Ann she never understood. Soon Grace is baited into following a trail of scant clues across Spain, determined to find the truth, even if she must revisit her troubled past to do it.
 
Mary Carter's intriguing novel delves into the complexities of childhood bonds, the corrosive weight of guilt and blame, and all the ways we try--and often fail--to truly know the ones we love.
Title: Meet Me in Barcelona
Author: Mary Carter
Genre: Mystery, Travel
Published: July 2014
Publisher: Kensington
Rating: ♨♨ 1/2 (2 and half cups)

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