Bostonian Kathryn Stinson is on a deeply personal quest to solve a family mystery: the identity of a nameless beauty in an old photograph an ancestor brought with him to California over a century ago. But, as Kathryn quickly discovers, the hills possess a host of dark secrets – both ancient and new – that can only be revealed at the price of danger and even death.
Her suspicious neighbors on Rattlesnake Hill, named for the timber rattlers that haunt its rocky slopes, become openly hostile when Kathryn starts seeking answers to a more recent mystery: the murder of Diana Farley, who once occupied the house Kathryn is now renting. Was it Diana’s husband, who killed her to keep her from divorcing him, or her lover, Earl Barker, a backwoods charmer and leading member of a wild clan known for their violent tempers?
When Kathryn plunges into a passionate affair with Earl, she puts herself on a collision course with past and present. She must find out if Earl killed Diana, or risk becoming a victim herself. (Summary via Goodreads)
Imagine me taking my hands and placing them on the sides of my head and making the mind blowing impression..... That is how you are going to feel when you finish reading Rattlesnake Hill by Leslie Wheeler.
In Rattlesnake Hill Kathryn moves to a little town in the Berkshires on a quest to find out some answers to her family history but she ends up getting a whole lot more !! Not only does she try to solve a love story regarding a picture of a beautiful woman her relative Jared Cutter had carried with him for years and years until his death but she finds herself trying to get answers to a murder that happened in the woods behind the house she is renting. Both of these situations involve love triangles between 2 men and the woman they loved and both of these stories had tragic endings.
While Kathryn gets to know the town and its residents, she is drawn to the history behind the stories and tries to find out everything she can especially when she develops feelings for a local, Earl Barker. And if that doesn't complicate things, Earl happens to be one of the men involved in the more recent love triangle murder.......
Wheeler does an amazing job of telling you a story inside of a story. Not only are you trying to get to the bottom of the identity of the woman in the photograph from many, many years prior but she also has you examining the events of the double death surrounding the woman that Earl loved before Kathryn. Not only are you reading about small town dynamics and the relationships of the residents in the town but you are witness to love stories that are so intense, people are willing to die for each other.
I am always amazed by a author's talent when I read one of their books and Wheeler does so much more !! Even after finishing the book and putting it aside, I am still sitting on the balcony looking out at the lake.....reflecting on everything that I read in the book and savoring the time I spent on Rattlesnake Hill.....I highly recommend you take the trip yourself, you won't be disappointed.
Review by Missi S.