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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

A Bend of Light

ISBN: 978-1542037891

Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Publication Date: 09/06/2022

Format: Other

My Rating: 4 Stars (ARC)

A quiet coastal village in post–World War II America is shaken when the secrets of the past and present collide in a riveting novel by the bestselling author of Under a Gilded Moon.

Five years after the war, Amie Stilwell, a photo interpreter for an Allied unit in England, returns to her hometown in Maine. Jobless and discouraged but stubbornly resourceful, she’s starting over in the same coastal village where her life once went so wrong. Waiting for her is Shibby Travis, the surrogate mother with whom Amie never lost touch. But the unexpected also awaits…

A silent, abandoned boy is found with a note from a stranger pleading that he be watched over. Amie and Shibby take him in, but the mysteries multiply when a Boston socialite is found dead in a nearby barn and an old friend, believed to be a casualty of war, suddenly reappears.

Trained to see what others cannot, to scan for clues, and to expose enemies, Amie uses her skills to protect a child, solve a crime, and find the motive behind a veteran’s masquerade. But through the hazy filter of a town’s secrets, Amie must also confront her own painful past.

My Review

Joy Jordan-Lake returns following Under a Gilded Moon with A BEND OF LIGHT —set in a quaint coastal Maine fishing village in the 1950s, post–World War II America, a blending of historical fiction and tantalizing mystery as the dark secrets of the past and present are unraveled.

Amie is a photo interpreter, having served as a WAC in England during WWII and is returning to her hometown in Maine five years after the war.

Shibby Travis, the surrogate mother (who raised her) with whom Amie never lost touch is there, and she looks forward to reconnecting. On her way to meet her, she spots a car (Bentley) parked on railroad tracks in the path of an approaching train. She manages to push him off the tracks, but he disappears without a word which haunts her.

As she begins her life in Pelican Cove, several disturbing events will lead to an ongoing mystery to be solved.

A six-year-old boy named Chester

abandoned with a note outside of a cafe

A dead body in a barn

A Vet with PTSD suddenly reappears

A maroon Bentley and mysterious driver

Attempted murder of a beautiful young stranger.

Aime uses her trained skills to see what others cannot as she unravels the mystery, searching for clues to expose the dark secrets. She wants to protect this child while helping to solve a crime and the motives behind the crime. While doing so, she must confront her painful secret past.

From loss, war, and despair to joy, love, and redemption.

As always, Joy is a pro with her meticulous research, historical facts, and lyrical prose. Her characters are well developed and highly relatable, and her settings are vivid and descriptive, drawing you into the world of the 1950s, which is one I grew up in and find fascinating.

I enjoyed learning more about the intriguing photo interpreters, and the author includes further reading. It is interesting to see how those skills relate to her investigative ones.

If you enjoy mysteries and historical fiction, this is for you!

"What we remember, she thought, looking out to where the lights of the shops played over the harbor, is so much like that, bouncing and refracting, leaving some things bright and glittering, some things shadowed and blurred. Even that, though, could be healing and good."

A special thank you to Lake Union and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

Pub Date: Sept 6, 2022

My Rating: 4 Stars


“This tale of betrayal, deceit, and redemption satisfies.” ―Publishers Weekly

“A marvelous novel of historical fiction full of emotion, suspense, and nuanced, evocative, and provocative writing. This is a fabulous tale that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the last page.”

―M. J. Rose, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Tiara

“Joy Jordan-Lake has written a classic murder mystery but also added her signature move: characters with deep hearts. Better buckle yourself up for all the twists and turns!”

―Bren McClain, author of One Good Mama Bone, winner of the Willie Morris Award for Southern Fiction

“A glorious mystery akin to Agatha Christie’s best.”

―Robert Dugoni, New York Times bestselling author of The World Played Chess and The Silent Sisters

“With sensory-rich language and a delightful cast of characters, A Bend of Light goes far deeper than most mysteries. This powerful story will keep readers hooked from the first page to the last as it proves, once again, that Joy Jordan-Lake is a master at her craft.”

―Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Perennials

“A moving look into 1950s America and a period we often sentimentalize. But Jordan-Lake reveals that it was full of the same love, same dreams, and same schemes that permeate throughout time. Centered around a port town in Maine, past and present come together with a cast of characters that, layer by layer, discovers the truth about old hurts and past loves, and discovers that a murder has drawn them all back together. Illuminated through compelling, realistic dialogue, readers will enjoy the escape provided.”

―Camille Di Maio, bestselling author of The Memory of Us

“Immersing readers squarely in a 1950s coastal town in Maine, Joy Jordan-Lake deftly draws out mysteries, schemes, romance, and a murder that pulls her characters back together. With gripping prose and pitch-perfect dialogue, this thoughtful story unfolds at a pace driven by her strong-willed heroine. This is a truly fine historical fiction that readers will be thinking about long after turning the last page.”

―Kimberly Brock, award-winning author of The Lost Book of Eleanor Dare

“In Joy Jordan-Lake’s latest novel, we follow Amie Stilwell, courageous and strong-willed, as she tackles a series of mysteries while confronting her past. Deftly written and meticulously researched, Joy Jordan-Lake delivers a masterful novel of secrets and time and place. With pitch-perfect prose and flawless details, A Bend of Light is a thoughtful read, solidifying Jordan-Lake’s status as a standout voice in historical fiction.”

―Rochelle B. Weinstein, bestselling author of This Is Not How It Ends

“From the evocative opening sentence to the shocking conclusion, A Bend of Light is a thrill of a ride and an engrossing read. Joy Jordan-Lake’s heartfelt and lyrical prose is paired with a mystery that won’t let you go. As layers of the truth are uncovered, the courageous Amie Stilwell navigates a small coastal town in the 1950s, and we are enthralled until the final reveal.”

―Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author of Surviving Savannah

About the Author

Joy Jordan-Lake is the #1 Amazon bestselling author of nine books, including Under A Gilded Moon; A Tangled Mercy, an Editors’ Choice recipient from the Historical Novel Society; Blue Hole Back Home, winner of the Christy Award for Best First Novel; and two children’s books. Raised in the foothills of the southern Appalachians, she lived nearly a decade of her young adult years in New England, which she still misses―and jumps at every chance to visit. She holds two master’s degrees and a PhD in English and has taught literature and writing at several universities. Now living outside Nashville, she and her husband are startled to find the kids in college and launching careers, with only the ferocious ten-pound rescue pup still living at home full-time. Joy loves to connect with readers. You can visit her at







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