The Scholarship by Jaime MaddoxThe Scholarship by Jaime Maddox is a romantic suspense featuring a historical murder, a woman with Down syndrome, and a budding romance between two women over 40.

Ella Townes is desperately seeking a quieter life, and knows exactly where she wants to be. So when an opportunity comes to move to the mountains she spent her childhood in, Ella leaps in with both feet. The move is bittersweet though, as Ella discovers soon after she moves that her best childhood friend, Stephanie, was murdered on the cusp of adulthood.

Ella befriends Cassidy Ryan, a woman with Down syndrome and a very attractive sister. Doctor Reese Ryan was also best friends with Stephanie, and as she and Ella begin a tentative courtship, both uncover unsettling truths about their friends murder. Could Cass hold the key to it all? Ella is determined to find the truth, even if it means that her budding relationship with Reese is endangered.

Can she find a way to have both?

The Characters

Ella is such an easy character to like. Ella recently moved back to the place she remembers so fondly from her childhood, seeking some of that happiness and peace she remembers so well. This resonated with me as that is the reason we live where we do (my wife’s home town), and it fit perfectly with how Ella was written.

Reese Ryan is a Doctor, and the older sister of Cass Ryan. Reese is a career driven woman with little time for anything outside of work except her beloved little sister, and their parents. Reese has given her heart only once, and it ended badly, and as a result she is emotionally guarded. Reese as a character is believable because she is almost exactly like every other ER doctor I have read. Emotionally distant, career driven, sexy as hell…

Cass is the glue that brings this story together. Apart from being the person who brings Ella and Reese together and providing a reason for their continued interactions, Cass knows who killed Stephanie. She just doesn’t know that she knows. Cass is a beautifully written character, showcasing all of the wonderful characteristics of an adult with Down syndrome. Her innocence, sense of fun, and determined nature are all common features of Down syndrome, and Maddox has done a great job showcasing this through the character of Cass. My favourite character in this book for sure.

The Writing Style

We are introduced to the killer anonymously in the first few pages, and his motive is hinted at, but Jaime Maddox has done an exceptional job at keeping the reader guessing. This story is a perfect example of a small town setting, where everyone knows everyone, they all have shared history and experiences, yet they all also have secrets. The Scholarship is easy to read, it flows nicely, and it is perfectly paced as a thriller. The last 25% of the book you will not be able to put it down.

The Pros

I liked the premise of this book. A historical murder that remains unsolved, a lead character who unwittingly holds the key to solving it, two women who have never met, yet have the murder victim in common. A really good read, with nicely written characters, and a touch of diversity featuring a character with Down syndrome. And a nice twisty plot to keep me interested!

The Cons

This was a really good read, but let down by a few editing issues. Potentially I received a review copy, so the final copy sold to readers may not have these same issues, but I would be remiss not to mention them.

erins favourite booksThe Conclusion

The Scholarship is a great read, and you should check it out if you’re looking for an easy read. Not a particularly heavy read, the romantic subplot keeps the story relatively easy going and on the lighter side of the thriller genre. That is not to say there isn’t plenty of surprises, or a dark subplot that weaves itself through the book. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes thrillers, and to those who aren’t sure about them but want to give one a try.

Excerpt from The Scholarship by Jaime Maddox

He walked a hundred yards into the park and removed the gold from the shirt, placing it in his pocket. The maintenance guys might not care about an old sweatshirt, but gold in the trash would definitely draw attention. Looking around for witnesses and finding none, he rolled the shirt into a ball and shoved it deep into the garbage can, then turned and walked back to his car.

Just as he reached the driver’s door, the sound of a voice startled him.

He looked up, surprised to see Cassidy Ryan a few feet away. What the fuck was she doing out at this hour? Cass was the younger sister of one of his classmates, but because she had Down syndrome and often hung out with her sister, he’d gotten to know her pretty well. She lived with her family in the house directly across Arthur Avenue from his car.

“Hey, Cass. What are you doing out so late?” He looked around, wondering who else was out and about, wishing he had a statue he could use to hit her.

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781635550757
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Jaime Maddox Online

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