I am a busy man. And as a medical professional, I have a lot of books, journals, and periodicals I must read. So why did I put ALL my other books aside when I got Billie Johnson’s latest book, Once Upon a Southern Night? It was because I had read her first two books, Lost Gold of the Shenandoah and Bleak Woods, and I knew I was in for a real treat. Fortunately, for my profession’s sake, I didn’t have to put my other reading away for very long. Once I started her book, I couldn’t put it down. That made it a quick read. Oh, she gave me plenty of opportunities to put it down: There are thirty-one chapters in only 247 pages. That means there are lots of “stopping-places” where I could have inserted a bookmark and quit. The only problem was that when I finished a chapter, I would tell myself, “Okay, I’ll read just one more chapter and then I’ll stop.” Then I would do it again... and then again... and then again. Billie Johnson knows how to pull her readers into her stories. Once again, she seamlessly weaves 150 year-old history with the events of today in such a way that you quickly become ensnared in her story-telling web of delight. I love Apple Grove. I love the romance, the greed, the arrogance, the rivalries, the shenanigans, and yes, even the murders. I love the people of Apple Grove the most. They have become my friends and family. In fact, I almost feel like I’ve become a character in her story.
The sad part was that the story came to an end. Oh, it was a good ending; the ending I expected, except it had a bit of a twist that made it even better. All I can do now is go back and read this trilogy again... and wait for some greedy (but smart) Hollywood producer to make it into a movie. There would be more money made on that venture than all the Civil War gold hidden in Apple Grove. But how much that would be is a secret!
If you love good stories, you will love this book.
In this third book of the Lost Gold trilogy, three strangers arrive in Apple Grove just days before tourist season begins. The first is a Hungarian immigrant, a photographer that is lured to town by Mayor Lee on the pretext of creating a new brochure for Apple Grove’s Reenactors season. The second is a young woman searching for a missing brother who was a crew member of the reality TV production company whose star died under mysterious circumstances while filming in Apple Grove. The third is a famous Confederate Civil War historian who is in town to hock his latest book. Coinciding with the arrival of these strangers, several stores in Apple Grove are broken into under mysterious circumstances. In the process of investigating the strange occurrences, and while trying to find a way to pay for their honeymoon cruise to the Greek islands, Sheriff Tom Everett and his fiancé, Lauren Reynolds, become entangled in the unraveling of yet another of the town’s dark Civil War secrets, the legendary Mystic Brotherhood of the Golden Knights.