Book Beat - Mistaken, by Karen Barnett

This is a blog post I've been waiting to write for several years. I met Karen Barnett on this blog four years ago - she was one of my first followers. We became online friends, then met in person at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. I've watched her work hard as a writer - really hard. So I was delighted when she signed with my agent, Rachel Kent at Books & Such Literary Agency, and then signed a contract with Abingdon Books. Now I've had the joy of reading her debut novel, Mistaken. And it's a winner!

Karen Barnett and I at the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, 2013
In 1926, the Twenties are roaring in the coastal border town of Port Angeles, Washington. Switchboard operator Laurie Burke is fed up with her alcoholic father and rumrunning brother, yet fiercely protective of them, and she longs for one good man in her life, a man she can trust. Then she meets handsome pharmacist Daniel Shepherd, who fills her father's prescriptions for medicinal alcohol and seems connected to her brother's gang - and has a secret of his own. Federal agent Samuel Brown seems a more likely man to trust...but she can't shake her connection to the mild-mannered pharmacist.

As a pharmacist myself, married to a pharmacist, of course I have an inherent interest in this story! Karen's research into pharmacy practice in the 1920s is phenomenal.

Mistaken is a thrilling read, full of mystery and danger and romance. The characters have depth and strength and just the right amount of flaws. Best of all, the story makes you think. It makes you think about first impressions and secrets and jumping to conclusions. It makes you think about whether it's best to protect a loved one - or to let them fall. It makes you think about temptation and forgiveness and the consequences of past sins. Do not miss this novel! I can't wait for Karen's upcoming three-book series centered around the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.

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