Only a simple shoebox, but full of secrets…
BIO: LB Griffin is happily married and surrounded by her family in Wiltshire UK. She has had a variety of jobs from cleaner to lecturer and has worked alongside the homeless. All of her life she has absorbed the wonders of the world and will always fight for the underdog. She absolutely loves writing fiction from those observations. Her stories touch upon social issues and are filled with gentle hints of romance. Her women don’t see themselves as courageous, strong, or survivors, but they certainly are.
Avis: Welcome back LB! Can I call you that? It’s such a pleasure to host you on the blog again! The Twenty-One-Year Contract is the sequel to your historical, mystery romance Secret’s, Shame, and a Shoebox, which I also thoroughly enjoyed!
The Twenty-One-Year Contracts continues the story, and we do meet Hattie again, but this time your protagonist is someone featured in the first book! I found it fascinating to read the story through another set of eyes as you overlapped the plot of the first book in the second! Did that make sense?! I think on that note, we should begin.
Did you have to cut any favorite scenes?
L.B. Griffin: Yes. In fact, I did a complete re-write to reduce the number of words. That was hard. I’ve held onto the information though.
Avis: Do you mean in the whole book? Oh my! That is so difficult. I’ve had to do that too, and it’s so hard to part with your “darlings!” The next question is:
What was your hardest scene to write?
L.B. Griffin: I always find the first chapter the hardest. I end up writing it numerous times and find that the story grows because of it. Great fun though because those characters are telling me exactly what to say!
Avis: I love it when the characters talk back! Sometimes that is! When they get sassy, it’s annoying, but we have to listen to them, right? LOL! Speaking of characters, that’s a perfect segue to the next question:
How do you select the names of your characters?
L.B. Griffin: I desperately try not to use names of people (first or second) I know because if I like a person, it influences the character as it develops. So, I have looked at gravestones, newspapers, trailers of films…
Avis: Oh, great ideas for finding character names! I always try to avoid people I know or that I’m related to as well! Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions! It’s been a pleasure to get to know you a bit more, and I know people will love your book as much as I did!
Please read on for a review (at the bottom of the page) and links to purchase The Twenty-One-Year Contract,as well as links to L.B. Griffin’s social media sites and blog!
Blurb: Kathleen Gray—talented, a little wild, at times rebellious, but always popular—has a fun, easy life in rural Somerset, with a doting family.
Suddenly, they are gone, everything is changed, and she has only Uncle Jack. Try as he might, he cannot be father and mother to her—he has a business to run and his own life to manage.
Kathleen takes a chance and becomes Kate Westfield, fending for herself in London, with a new life built on her hopes and dreams and new friends. She could hardly have imagined that one of those friends has a shoebox full of answers.
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I just finished The Twenty-Year Contract by L.B. Griffin, her second novel in 2022, and I couldn’t put it down! This novel continues the story started in Secrets, Shame, and a Shoebox. One of the characters in the first book, Kate, takes the lead in this one. Griffin has intertwined the plots of book one and two, so the second book is an overlap and continuation, but not to worry. You could read the second book as a stand-alone. It will make you want to read the first one, though!
Kate is an orphan adopted by a loving couple who have a baby boy, and she longs for the parents she never knew. When her adopted parents and her infant brother are killed, Kate goes from pampered and privileged child of two loving parents to an orphan once again.
Lucky for her, Uncle Jack swoops in from America and tries to be mother, father, and loving guardian. He wants to fill in the gaps he knows Kate is feeling, but his own career takes him all over the world.
Kate soon learns to survive, but she also learns that to thrive she must rely on her own wits, and as a young girl boarding at school, she learns how to use her seamstress and clothing design skills to help her escape a life that threatens to kill her creativity.
When it is discovered that she is found missing, her uncle is notified. He finds her and realizes she is right where she needs to be. Not in school but working as a designer at a high end dress shop. He keeps a close eye on her, albeit from a distance, and Kate soon finds her clientele expanding.
One client in particular draws her into the seamy world of mob violence and human trafficking. Enter Harriet, the hero of the first novel. Kate and Harriet help the women being trafficked and find the answers to other secrets that will change their lives forever.
I was fascinated by how she wove the plot twists and the different story lines to overlap, continue, and extend to such a satisfying ending! I highly recommend The Twenty-Year Contract. This suspenseful romance/mystery is fast paced, and action packed, a story that will keep readers wanting more until the last satisfying page. I give this book five stars!