The Secrets of the Montebellis by Cheryl Colwell

Lisa Richards is far more than she seems.  Despite her unfaithful husband's opinion of her, Lisa has dreams, goals and many secrets.  With opposition meeting her at every turn, Lisa is determined to see her plans come to fruition no matter the cost.  Unfortunately, she has no idea just how high the cost will be.  In a story riddled with greed and mystery, treasure and history, The Secrets of the Montebellis tells the story of one woman's determination to be faithful to herself and her family while struggling to find out who she truly is.  It is a tale of intrigue that will leave you reading long into the night.

When I first read the description of Cheryl's book, I knew it sounded right up my alley.  Treasure hunts, abandoned mines, historical artifacts that point the way to solving the mysteries at hand.  Definitely the kind of book I like to read, and I was not disappointed.  From the very first chapter, I was drawn in to the story, feeling like another character immersed in the mystery.

I would have to say that the thing I loved most about the book was the character development.  Cheryl did a fantastic job of portraying characters that you love and those that you love to hate.  Not only were the characters realistic, but each had their own unique personality that set them apart in the story.  At times, I found myself hurting so much for Lisa (the main character) that I just wanted to be able to reach out and give her a hug.  As for her husband, well, let's just say a well-deserved slap would have certainly made me feel better.

Cheryl also did a fabulous job of weaving a complete history of Lisa's family into the story.  Not only is the history fascinating, but each new fact that is revealed presents another piece of the puzzle in the grand mystery.  I enjoyed keeping track of each tidbit and trying to solve the mystery before the characters did.  While the reading process was a little more exhausting this way, it was still truly enjoyable.

The Secrets of the Montebellis is a wonderful blend of intrigue, romance, adventure, scandal and forgiveness, with Christian aspects and influences thrown in.  Also, being a Christian book, it is free of foul language and other negative features, making this a refreshing read for me.  If you're into mystery, then you'll love this book.  But be warned, once you start, you won't want to put it down!