Read with sharon - July 2022
The Unknown Beloved - Amy Harmon
For the past several weeks, I have been knee-deep in final edits of my upcoming release while, at the same time, in the midst of writing my third novel. Both are “historical suspense/ mystery/thriller” stories, a genre quite different than my first book. So when I learned that Amy Harmon had a new release in this “historical suspense” genre, I felt compelled to check it out. And she did not disappoint!
Typically, historical fiction does not grab you from the first page; it’s a slow build as the author introduces us to the time, place and characters. Not true with this story…there’s murder and mystery from the first chapter!
I found this book hard to put down. And I fell in love with both Dani and Michael, the heroes of our journey to the 1930s and the streets of Cleveland. And I guarantee you will love them, too! This month, author Amy Harmon will join our discussion on Thursday, July 28 at 7 pm EDT.
Until then, I hope you enjoy The Unknown Beloved. I can’t wait to hear what you think!
Buy the Book
I have read and enjoyed Amy Harmon’s book ever since I came across MAKING FACES in 2014 – one of the most beautiful YA books to date. Since then I watched her grow into an amazing author. Her books are often based on true events, or actual people and because of it they are vibrant beyond words.
One of her most recent books WHERE THE LOST WANDER is one of my five star reads, and THE SONGBOOK OF BENNY LAMENT was absolutely riveting. Her standalone novels need to be on everyone’s reading list, even if historical fiction might not be your genre – I can assure you, you won’t regret giving her books a chance.
So, THE UNKNOWN BELOVED is a book I read in one sitting – no surprise there. Without break because I couldn’t put it down. It was captivating beyond words, and features one of the most understated heroes.
Michael Malone is the MAN!!!! He was swoon worthy above all else, and a man to fall in love wiht so easily, it was ridiculous. Michael is everything I love about a great hero, like Dallas from WAIT FOR IT!! He snuck up on me and made my heart sing – THANK YOU Amy Harmon for writing such an incredible character.
Absorbing, intense, and evocative!
The Unknown Beloved is a gripping, suspenseful tale predominantly set in Cleveland in the late 1930s when the city was still feeling the devastating effects of the depression, poverty was still rampant, mobsters were finally getting their comeuppance, and a serial killer, appropriately named “The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run” had Michael Malone pounding the pavement undercover, and using intuition, intelligence, instincts, and the help of the lovely Dani Kos and her special ability to see through touch to try and stop his reign of terror.
The prose is rich and expressive. The characters are complex, flawed, and tenacious. And the plot, including all the subplots, seamlessly intertwine and unravel into an immersive tale of life, loss, duty, deception, manipulation, depravity, violence, murder, magical realism, and the intricacies of policing in the early twentieth century.
I have yet to read a novel by Harmon that I didn’t really enjoy, and The Unknown Beloved is no exception. It’s a tense, taut, riveting tale loosely based on a real-life crime that reminds us that taking down the evil that loves to hide amongst normality has always been a painstakingly dangerous job performed by selfless, often humble, unknown heroes.
The Unknown Beloved - Amy Harmon
Book Club Questions
THE HEROINE’S JOURNEY
What did you think about Dani?
- Do you think it is possible that people have Dani’s “gift”?
THE STORY PLOT
- What did you think about Dani and Malone’s relationship?
- Did you enjoy how the author used historical events in the fictional story?
- What did you think about the POV changes and timeline changes?
- Did any part of the story make you uncomfortable?
- Did it work for you?
- What do you think is the author’s message to readers of The Unknown Beloved?
- What did you take away from the book?
- Are you left with any questions?
SYMBOLISM AND FORESHADOWING
- What is symbolic about Dani caring for the bodies of the indigent?
- What foreshadowing did you notice? Coat-closet scene comes to mind. Others?
- Use one adjective to describe the writing itself.
- What would you change if you could rewrite The Unknown Beloved?
- What did you love most about the book?
- Did the book change any views/opinions that you have?