Keywords: First person, puzzles, games, tunnels, almost reverse harem, family, Rebecca
Avery lived pay-check to pay-check, running illegal poker games and waitressing. She receives word that a billionaire in Texas included her in his will. At the will reading in his vast mansion filled with secret doors and hidden passages, she meets the family including the four grandsons. The will declares that Avery will inherit everything if she lives 1 year in the mansion.
The mansion is a labyrinth of tunnels and clues. As Avery tries to navigate family rivals, prep school, and solve the mystery of why she is there, she learns of the last girl who spent time with the family- Emily- who died.
Emily's death tore apart the two middle grandsons. Avery was chosen by a chance encounter when she was 6-her name is an anagram. She was made an heiress to force the grandsons to work together. This is the first book in a series, but it does wrap up the story arc introduced in this novel.
The greatest part of this book is that the chapters are very short, like 2 or 3 pages short. This helped the pace clip along. The puzzles used in the plot are an even balance of uniqueness and tradition, which is why it earned so many stars. That said, I didn't really like the overall story.
I went into the book with the impression it would be more like Mr. Lemoncello's Library. Instead, I got a mix of Knives out and Rebecca, the latter being most of the tension used to move the plot.
On top of that, and I know the author was just following the trend, there were two boys interested in one girl. I just did not find that believable. It seemed forced in some parts, and it honestly bordered on the "reverse harem" kick going around the adult fiction world. There was no real reason for Avery to be swinging between the two grandsons. Not enough of their personality was shown and most of the pinning was because of their looks.
Looks are great, yes, but any relationship built solely on appearances will not grow, which is what the author tried to do.
This is the first in a trilogy, but I honestly do not see myself reading the other two books. I also know that there are rumors, or confirmation, of it being a movie. It will be one that I rent for a dollar or wait until it streams if I even watch it at all.