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The Best Classic Romance Since Bogie Met Bacall...

Necessary Evil - Killarney Traynor

... And it's wrapped around a sweeping, intense family saga that dates back to the Civil War. In NECESSARY EVIL, multitudes of trespassers create senseless tragedies as they invade a multi-generational family farm in search of its legendary buried treasure.

Caught in the middle is Madeleine Warwick, struggling heroically to hold family and farm together - and failing. Her life gets even more complicated when two competing historians arrive on the scene, vying for two prizes: the bragging rights of finding the treasure, and the chance to win Madeleine's heart - which is locked away inside the grief and mistrust she feels after too many losses and betrayals.

Yeah, there's a lot going on here, all of it beautifully connected, and that's part of the magic of this story.

But for this reader - constantly lamenting the absence of classic romance in cinema and literature - the real magic is in the chemistry between Madeleine and her competing historians. Joe Tremonti was Madeleine's first puppy-love crush, and she much prefers him to the arrogant, sometimes condescending, always overconfident Professor Gregory Randall.

Heck, I preferred Joe, too. At first. But as Madeleine and Greg work together to decipher the clues that will finally resolve the mystery of the long-lost treasure, their relationship evolves from reciprocal dislike and disapproval (some of the verbal sparring is laugh-out-loud entertaining) to a deep mutual respect, to a friendship that could lead to something eternal. I was so hoping that Madeleine would choose Greg that I actually found myself silently cussing at Joe a few times.

But Killarney Traynor has a knack for throwing curveballs at her readers, and Necessary Evil is no exception to that talent.

This book is a five-star read on so many levels. For me, the pleasure of savoring a beautifully written classic romance - complete with mystery, intrigue, love, loss, and redemption - was an unexpected treat, and puts this novel at Number One on my "Best Reads of 2015" list. I can't recommend it highly enough.