Book Reviews ~ The Shadow of Your Smile & Stillwatch

Hey, everyone. Summer is officially here. Weather-wise it arrived in Texas sometime in May. With many of our days reaching triple-digits, it’s a perfect time to stay indoors and read.

Those of you who have followed me for a while know Mary Higgins Clark was one of my favorite authors. Now that her books are on Kindle Unlimited, I decided to catch up on some of her titles I haven’t read and also reread some older ones. Today I’m sharing two reviews.

The Shadow of Your Smile

My Review

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Not her best…

I’ve been a fan of Mary Higgins Clark since reading Where Are the Children, and eagerly awaited each new release. I lost touch with the books in the early 2000s, but now that they’re available through Kindle Unlimited, I decided to catch up on a few I’d missed.

The Shadow of Your Smile is not her best work. I found several issues with the story.

There is too much telling with too many characters “thinking” about things, resulting in a ton of back story in almost every single chapter. There are countless uses of the words, “she thought,” or “he thought.” Those internal thoughts—going from third person to first person were distracting.

This happens throughout the book. I tend to read with a more critical eye these days, but if Higgins-Clark did this in her earlier works, I don’t recall. How in the world did editors from one of the largest publishing companies in the world allow this to happen? Was it because they believed a bestselling author could get away with anything and still sell books? Apparently, they were right.

There were also many instances of switching character points of view within a single scene. Was the author going after omniscient POV? It takes skill to pull that off, and Higgins-Clark didn’t come through. The scenes seemed like head-hopping.

To end on a positive note, there is a large cast of characters. That didn’t bother me as I’m accustomed to that in her books. When she wrote this one, she hadn’t lost her skill at weaving a suspenseful story. No matter how small a reader might think of an incident is, there is a reason, and everything ultimately ties together.

Writing style, I rate The Shadow of Your Smile a two, storywise a four, rounded to three for review purposes.


My Review

Rating: 4 out of 5.

After reading and being disappointed in one of Mary Higgins Clark’s later books, I decided to revisit Stillwatch. I first read it back in the 1980s and recall it being one of my favorites. Reading it again validated my thoughts and made me realize why she was one of my favorite authors.

Pat Traymore is a successful reporter who has just landed a job with a major cable news network. Her first assignment is to do a story on Senator Abigail Jenkins who is a leading candidate to replace the ailing Vice-President.

Pat, whose birth name was Kerry, had a tragic past. Both her parents died, and it’s long been believed her father, a U S Congressman, murdered her mother before turning the gun on himself. Not only that, Pat, (Kerry) was severely injured, was in a coma for months, and suffered memory loss. To publicity hounding her for the rest of her life, Pat’s grandmother put out the word that Kerry died. In reality, her aunt and uncle adopted her and changed her name.

Pat moves into the Georgetown home where she lived as a young child. She has begun to have memories of that tragic night and hopes to learn the truth of what happened. As Pat uncovers more about the senator’s past, she discovers a link to her own family.

But returning to Washington has placed her in danger. Someone doesn’t want her to do the Jennings story and she begins receiving threatening notes. Will she be able to uncover the truth before it’s too late?

The book is well-paced, the characters well-developed, and the suspense is true Higgins Clark. I also enjoyed reading a book that was written and set in a simpler time.

16 thoughts on “Book Reviews ~ The Shadow of Your Smile & Stillwatch

    1. If I had to pick a favorite, it would be her first book, “Where Are The Children?” I also enjoyed “Moonlight Becomes You,” and “Remember Me.” Thanks for stopping by, Rae.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I sometimes think a famous author “makes” it, and then the publisher puts a lot of pressure on her to come out with the next book. And it’s rushed. I wonder if that happened to Mary Higgins Clark. But then, every once in a while, an author tries something new that doesn’t quite work. It’s going to happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good point, Judi. Also, by the time MHC wrote “The Shadow of Your Smile,” she was 83 years old. I would only hope that I can still remember how to type when I’m that age. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t remember the first book at all, although I know I didn’t miss any of her books. I do remember Stillwatch, it was a good one.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. It is funny how books read differently when going back to them years later. And you are right. As authors, we do read with a more critical eye than the average reader. Thanks for sharing these!

    Liked by 1 person

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