Her Darkest Secret – Jessica R. Patch

Genre: Mystery, Christian Romance
Publisher: Love Inspired Trade
Pages: 352
Release Date: June 28, 2022

When a cold-case serial killer returns, FBI special agent Fiona Kelly has one last chance to stop him before he claims the prize he’s always wanted—her.


The sight of a goose feather at a murder scene modeled after a children’s poem is enough to make FBI special agent Fiona Kelly’s blood turn to ice. Almost two decades ago, a feather was left with her sister’s body—and with every subsequent victim of the Nursery Rhyme Killer. Now he’s back. Only this time, his latest gruesome murder is a message to the only one who ever got away: Fiona.


Finding “Rhyme” is an obsession that’s fueled Fiona’s career—and destroyed her marriage to fellow FBI agent Asa Kodiak. Now Fiona and Asa have to put their past tensions aside and work together one last time. But Rhyme is watching, and catching this killer may force Fiona to reveal her biggest, darkest secret…the one only he knows.

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I was going to rate Her Darkest Secret 4 stars, however the preachy pro-religion message that this novel bashes readers over the head with was ridiculous. Maybe it’s on me for not noticing its classification as Christian Romance, but I do not recall seeing that mentioned in the email I received from Harlequin. If you can tolerate reading pages upon pages of preachy religious messages then you might find the plot of Her Darkest Secret surprisingly dark and well-developed.

What initially drew me to Her Darkest Secret was the second chance romance between Fiona and her ex-husband, Asa, housed within a mystery/thriller novel. As mentioned previously, Her Darkest Secret is a Christian Romance so their relationship is low on the heat scale. There is practically no physical chemistry, however the emotional chemistry and baggage between Fiona and Asa is intense. As the novel progresses, they both work through their respective traumas; however I did find that Fiona was unfairly expected to move on with no closure. I found it hypocritical of Asa to expect this of Fiona considering his trauma had more closure.

Her Darkest Secret has a steady pace as Fiona and Asa’s team work through the murders and interview new and old suspects. Patch balances the mystery plot with Fiona and Asa’s relationship well, allowing both time to develop at their own pace. I didn’t see the twist coming, and I’m certainly glad the twist was what it was. I very much dislike mental health used as a plot point.

Overall, Her Dark Secret is one of those novels that didn’t work for me for specific reasons unrelated to writing style, pace, or character development. Had I been aware of the religious themes and Christian Romance genre, I would have passed on the novel.

***I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Will you be reading Her Darkest Secret?

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