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Book Review: Centrifugal Force

Centrifugal Force. Lisa J. Lickel. Fox Ridge Publications, December 15, 2017, Trade Paperback and E-book, 254 pages.

Reviewed by Kandice Cole.

Centrifugal Force, by Lisa J. Lickel, is a novel that merges romance, suspense, and history. The story takes place in a small college town in Wisconsin. Rachel Michels is a university employee and single mother to her adult daughter, Maeve. Rachel’s life appears to be normal, until she learns that Gervas Friedemann, her former exchange professor from Germany, is trying to contact her. Apparently, Rachel has some skeletons in her closet that she has been hiding for many years. Gervas is Maeve’s father, which no one—including Maeve and Gervas—knows. Rachel has also been hiding an heirloom that belonged to Gervas for over twenty years. Gervas steps back into Rachel’s life, searching for the heirloom he desperately needs to settle a decades-long family dispute that threatens to destroy Germany’s position in the European Union. With Gervas’s return, Rachel’s skeletons are quickly exposed and her life is turned upside down. Rachel finds herself grappling with feelings about her complicated relationship with Gervas back when she was a graduate student.

This book was a fascinating read. The author transitions between the individual perspectives of Rachel, Maeve, and Gervas while providing unexpected twists and turns along the way. Through all of the suspense, the reader is learning about Rachel and Gervas’s past romance, which left Rachel feeling hurt and abandoned. Rachel’s conflicted view of Gervas plays out in the book as she vacillates between despising Gervas and wanting to help him.

The author has clearly done research about international history, particularly as it relates to the European Union and Germany. I appreciated the book being situated in present day, which made the story seem even more realistic. Throughout the story, Rachel finds herself in precarious positions, and the author weaves in facts and plot twists subtly without them feeling unrealistic or out of place. When events in the story seem to be concluding, the author adds another layer of suspense which makes it hard to put the book down. Sometimes, the historical information was a bit wieldy and more difficult to read and digest, but this information provides much-needed context to the plot.

I have read my fair share of romance and suspense novels. This book does a great job of merging these two genres in a way that doesn’t seem forced or artificial. If you are looking for something that is a departure from typical romance books, I highly suggest diving into the latest book from Lisa Lickel.


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