Book Review

Mary Carroll Moore | A Woman’s Guide to Search & Rescue

The Book:

A Woman’s Guide to Search & Rescue by Mary Carroll Moore
Published October 2023 by Riverbed Press

Torrie’s Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Plot (Bookshop.org):

Kate Fisher and Red Nelson, women pilots and estranged sisters from opposite sides of a fractured family, are thrown together in a suspenseful drama of Search & Rescue in the Adirondack mountains of New York State when Red is framed for the brutal attack on the manager of her indie rock band.

Her dying mother begs her to flee for sanctuary to the only family Red doesn’t yet know–her sister Kate. But crosswinds take her plane into a spin and she emergency lands in a remote gorge. Kate, a Search & Rescue worker, is called to the crash site of Red’s plane, following clues that lead her to a dangerous reunion with her sister. When the real attacker comes after Red and threatens Kate’s family, including her daughter, Molly, who decides to hide Red on their property, concern over Molly’s safety forces the two sisters to face past secrets and present dangers, stage a real rescue, and begin to repair the broken but longed-for family they come from.

How did A Woman’s Guide to Search & Rescue End?

Spoiler title
Book spoilers ahead–if you haven’t yet read A Woman’s Guide to Search & Rescue, I suggest you turn back now.

Kate and Red aren’t just estranged, they’ve never met. Kate’s father left her and her mother when she was younger. She knew he had left them for another woman, but was unaware he had a child with the other woman, Red is that child. Red was aware of her father’s other family growing up.

Red’s ex-boyfriend from when she was a teenager is the one who killed her manager, and ex-husband. Red had put him in jail for a fire they started together as teens, and he wanted revenge. He framed her and then tried to kill her.

Red manages to hide and survive with the help of Molly, Kate’s daughter. Ultimately, the ex-manager is caught and Kate and Red have the chance to reconcile and start a friendship. They find out that their father as yet another woman in his life with another daughter. He hasn’t seen either of them in years, but regularly sends postcards from his travels.

Torrie’s Review:

I really loved Mary Carroll Moore’s writing, it definitely makes me want to read more from her. I enjoyed the characters in this book, they all grew throughout the novel and felt well-rounded and real. Even the characters we never meet in the book, such as Red and Kate’s absent father, felt detailed and nuanced. The plot was intriguing and moved at a solid pace. Once I got a few chapters in, the book kept me engaged.

My only major critique is that calling this book a suspenseful mystery just didn’t set this book up accurately. The first chapter reveals much of the story, and while details and context are left out, there weren’t any shocking revelations. This expectation of a mystery left me confused. I’d say this book aligns with contemporary fiction instead of the mystery genre. I’d compare it to storylines by Jodi Picoult and Liane Moriarty – more of a contemporary family drama. I love that genre, but it is entirely different than a mystery. I’ve given this 4 stars with the context that my rating would have been 4 stars if I had better understood the genre of this novel from the start. I would love to read more novels by Mary Carroll Moore as her writing and characterizations were fantastic.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher through a goodreads giveaway, in exchange for an honest review. My copy was an ARC, and I have seen some changes to the summary online that may make my critique a moot point.


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