Title: The Face of Heaven [Part Two of a Trilogy]
Author: Sherry Hall Mauro
Published in December 2004 by Publish America
We meet up again with Sabrina Ayers moments after she has ended her relationship with Richard Tate and left the Tate Mansion in the middle of a rain storm. Sabrina feels such relief, finally being free of the sinister hold of the Mansion, that she swears she will never place herself in its icy grip again. She goes home to obtain comfort from her father and reluctantly confesses her part in the unfortunate events that took place at the Tate Mansion that evening. A month after the fateful happenings at the mansion, Sabrina encounters Merritt Townsend, a local historian and librarian, who expresses a desire to fill her in on bits of her mother’s family genealogy. She is dismayed to learn that the curse on the Devours comes from an ill-fated match between Amelia Devour and Thomas Tate more than 100 years ago. Even after hearing of how the Devour family is tied to the Tate family, Sabrina wants nothing to do with Richard or the mansion. She makes the decision to devote her time and energy to realizing her dream of being an investigative reporter and attempts to put the past behind her. She enrolls in college classes and finds a job at a pizza place in town. She dates a few guys, but does not find anyone that she is interested in until she meets Dylan McGuire.
Dylan McGuire’s job transferred him to town a few weeks ago and he is desperate to find friends. He approaches Sabrina as she is getting off work one night and finally is able to convince her to go on a date with him. Sabrina attempts to keep their relationship only on friendly terms, but Dylan hopes that he can talk her into more than that. He shows a desire to know more about both Sabrina and the Tate Mansion and is willing to give credence to Sabrina’s tale of ghostly apparitions and haunted mansions. Sabrina feels like she finally has someone to confide in, but is hesitant to share all she knows and feels about the mansion. Although Dylan must be away on business frequently, they start spending more and more time together. Dylan is able to win over Sabrina’s love and convinces her to be his bride. They set a date for their wedding, but hold off telling their families about the decision.
Richard Tate comes back into Sabrina’s life at the order of her mother. Since her father cannot find a job in town, her mother feels like she needs to mend fences with Richard since his family is so influential in the town of Centerville. She reluctantly agrees to have him over for dinner in the hopes of ending the nightmares she has been plagued with since she left him and the mansion behind. The atmosphere at dinner is strained to say the least, but Richard is able to get Sabrina alone afterwards and tries to convince her that he is the only man for her. He expresses his undying love for her and begs for another chance at the happiness he knows they can have together. Richard is unfazed by the fact that Sabrina tells him vehemently of her hatred of both him and his mansion. Richard informs her that to hate fiercely; one has to love fiercely. Richard starts pursuing Sabrina and will not take no for an answer.
Sabrina finds herself torn between the love she feels for Dylan and the invisible ties that bind her to Richard. Although she wants nothing to do with Richard, she finds herself drawn to him repeatedly. Sabrina fears both Richard and the feelings she still has for him. It seems that everywhere she looks he is there watching her and influencing her life. Dylan appears to be her white knight come to rescue her from danger, but Sabrina has learned that sometimes things are not always as they appear. Sabrina is not sure what to make of Dylan’s strange desire to know everything there is to know about the mansion and the experiences she has had there. Sometimes she gets the sense that Dylan would do anything to be able to explore the mansion and discover its secrets.
Ms. Mauro has created another intriguing tale in the adventures of Sabrina Marie Ayers. We find Sabrina struggling to become her own person and find her rightful place in the world. While Sabrina’s mind is telling her that the Tate Mansion is just a house and there is nothing to fear, her heart is telling her a different story. There have been many unexplained disappearances and deaths surrounding the mansion over the years and Sabrina’s sixth sense is awakening more every day. Above all else, Sabrina wants to evade her doomed, cursed destiny and finally be able to have the fairy tale ending that has eluded every other woman in the Devour family since Amelia was cursed in 1897. When the local historian tells her that as the thirteenth daughter, she is the only one that is able to break the curse, he does not tell her how she could possibly accomplish this. Sabrina wants to be able to believe that there are no problems too great for love to overcome, but she is not sure that her family curse will allow this. She struggles with her mother’s advice that if you love someone enough you can forgive them anything. When Sabrina’s mother tells of her own past, Sabrina gets an insight into how the past affects their lives today.
The Face of Heaven is a superbly written novel that looks at the life and struggles of Sabrina without rose-colored glasses on. Sherry Mauro has outdone herself in her second installment in the Devour Family escapades. We get to meet Alexander Tate for the first time, Richard’s elusive father and find out what his past relationship with Sabrina’s parents is. We also get to meet Aunt Velma and delve into her true relationship with Sabrina and her mother. As the story unfolds, Sabrina wonders if a Devour will finally be able to fall in love with a man that does not have Tate blood running through his veins. I enjoyed this suspenseful tale as Sabrina struggled with achieving her dreams and learning how to live with the reality of her life. Is there such a thing as the perfect life and does anyone ever get to have all their dreams come true? This tale makes the reader think of just what fate is and what influences we have over our own destiny. I have to admire Sabrina’s grit in sticking to her chosen path to protect the one she loves at any cost. Life is not always a fairy tale and you have to learn how to make lemonade out of lemons you are given. Pick up a copy today of The Face of Heaven from PublishAmerica to find out whom will finally win Sabrina’s love.