My goal is to eventually make my way through all of these must-read titles. These books have been around for so long and read by so many that another generic review from your average reader seems unnecessary. Instead, I thought it would be fun to take a look at what some of the experts have to say about the stories that paved the way for their own success… and how their perspective compares to my own reading experience. Today, I’m looking at Evelyn Anthony’s The Rendezvous.
At a smart New York cocktail party, Karl Amstat is introduced to Terese Bradford. And his blood runs cold. His calm appearance conceals a terror that his grisly past will be exposed. For he is really Alfred Brunnerman, ex-interrogation officer for the Gestapo. Suddenly he finds himself face to face with the French Resistance agent he delivered up to Nazi torturers twenty years before.
Sandra Brown mentions several of Evelyn Anthony’s books in her essay. “Because every work by Evelyn Anthony is noteworthy,” she writes, “it’s difficult to isolate a favorite.” But the official selection for this collection is The Rendezvous.
I’m not big on romantic suspense, as I mentioned in my post on Sandra Brown’s own The Witness. I tend to prefer stories where the suspense and excitement can build without taking time out to tell a love story. But sometimes they’re able to pull me in despite my aversion to the genre, and this one was another pleasant surprise.
The story is much more about the characters than the action, which doesn’t really pick up until the last third or so of the book. As Brown says, Anthony’s books “resonate with the humanity of the characters…. Each tells an exciting story, but leaves the reader with more to think about than simply the plot.” And while I didn’t fully connect with either main character, their story was still compulsively readable.
The biggest draw for me was the collision of past and present. I had to keep reading to see how it all resolved. I felt like I was watching the characters from a distance, not really invested in them, but I was completely drawn in by the mystery and unanswered questions.
“Evelyn Anthony made an enormous contribution to the genre of romantic suspense. Indeed, she helped create it.” While it may not be my subgenre of choice, I still quite enjoyed this early example, and it’s a fitting inclusion for a list of must-read thrillers.
Thirty-four down, sixty-six to go…
Next month I’ll be discussing Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.