Book Review: The Fourth Descendant by Allison Maruska

The Fourth Descendant tells the story of four people (a former nursing student and now stay at home mom, a musician, an engineer and a retiree) whose destinies collide when they receive a call from a Richmond historian asking them to retrieve four keys that were a part of their family history and to bring these keys to unlock a safe in the courthouse. The uniqueness of the request whet their curiosity and soon they travel to Richmond. What they don’t expect is to become engrossed in a tangled mystery that finds the past, present (and possibly the future) spinning out of their control.

Maruska’s four protagonists (Michelle, Damian, Jonah and Sharon) are well-written people with flaws and strengths. Despite the choices you see them making, each character is more than a plot contrivance, instead individually and collectively, each character is someone that shares real and powerful human emotions and attributes.

Maruska’s writing style honors the beauty of language. There is something poetic as she describes the characters’ emotions and the physical locations of which they become a part. You find yourself enchanted with her descriptions; she uses words as a colorful palette as she “paints” her story.

For fans of fine writing, mystery and history, The Fourth Descendant  is a first rate piece of fiction that will remain in your mind and your heart for a long time to come.

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