Praise for A FAMILY MATTER

 

Salina Drummond marries a man twice her age in an effort to afford the best nursing care she can for her Alzheimer-stricken mother. Her husband, Lyman Graves, is the owner of a profitable coal company in rural Kentucky and a domineering man who controls those within his small community. Subsequent to her mother's death, Salina discovers that Lyman is responsible for a fatal mining accident for which her father was blamed, leading to his subsequent suicide. She resolves to force Lyman to take responsibility and exonerate her father from all guilt. But before she can do so, Lyman is tragically injured in a mine accident and lies in a coma. Lyman's estranged son, Mick, returns to Kentucky to see to his father after the accident. Although Mick initially plans a short visit, his attraction to Salina keeps drawing him back. Salina is likewise drawn to Mick, but each resists their feelings due to Salina's marriage to Mick's father. Shortly after Lyman comes out of his coma, he mysteriously disappears and Salina and Mick are thrown together in their efforts to find Lyman while under suspicion of the local sheriff.

Author Marsha Briscoe has an impressive background as a teacher of literature and as an editor and award-winning novelist and poet. Her second novel, A FAMILY MATTER, is an exceptional modern-day twist to the Phaedra myth, where a stepmother and stepson are romantically attracted to one another.  Against the colorful backdrop of eastern Kentucky, the reader is swept into the inner turmoil of Selina and Mick, two good-hearted people surrounded by secret-keepers and corrupt businessmen. Briscoe paints visual imagery so vivid it will enable readers to feel as if they have stepped into the fictional world she has created. With realistic dialogue and supreme characterization, this is a must-read."

©Christy Tillery French, Reviewer for Midwest Book Review (November 2005)

Young Salina Graves uncovers a shocking letter addressed to her from her recently deceased mother. Her mother’s letter refers to a journal, also mailed to Salina, but the journal is missing. According to the letter, the journal details lies told by Lyman. The letter reveals that Salina’s sixty-year-old husband, Lyman, the owner of the Poseidon Coal Company, placed undeserved blame upon her father, a miner in his profitable company, for a fatal mining accident. Consequently, their tightly knit mining community turned against her father and drove him to suicide. Salina believes Lyman had intercepted her father’s journal and confronts him. In his domineering style, he tells her no one would believe her father’s diary over him. He reminds her of all he’s done for her including her mother’s nursing home care in an Alzheimer facility until her death. A phone call about a mining emergency gives him an excuse to end the conversation.
When Lyman enters the mine, it caves in and leaves him in a comatose condition. At the request of Salina, Lyman’s estranged son, Mick, arrives at his bedside. He meets his beautiful stepmother who is close to his age and berates his father’s cheapness for not maintaining stability within the structure. She needs Mick’s help to run the mine, and he puts off graduate school until his father’s health improves. As Mick and Salina work together and live in the same house, these two young people are romantically attracted. They restrain themselves from having intimate relations. Lyman mysteriously disappears from the intensive care section of the hospital. Seen together by the sheriff, Mick and Salina are suspected of attempted murder of Lyman.

Mick’s mother had left him at the age of three, and he still carries the loss of her betrayal. Salina takes on accounting work at the mine. Looking through the paperwork, she discovers a will. Lyman’s entire estate is left to a woman with a Greek name, Iphegenia. When Salina mentions her name to Mick, he is upset. Who is this woman, Iphegenia? If Salina finds the journal that implicates Lyman Graves as a criminal, what effect will it have on Mick? What will she do with the stepson she loves?

A FAMILY MATTER is sure to become a mining story classic. Marsha Briscoe depicts miners with traditional, tough attitudes as they risk their lives. Some miners believe that protection from unions is unmanly, and Briscoe knows them well. Her unforgettable characters speak with a genuine Kentucky dialect. In addition to her amazing backdrop of the 1990s, Briscoe writes a crisp tale of a relationship between two star-crossed lovers along with a coldhearted man’s futile attempt to control his world. Twists, turns, tantalizing forbiddances, and a surprise ending had me engrossed throughout. I highly recommend A FAMILY MATTER to all my friends, especially those who enjoy Greek allegories. The romance is a reminder of the enticing Phaedra myth.


©Romance Junkies Reviewer: Kathleen R

NOVEL BASED ON GREEK MYTH: "Young newlywed Salina Graves thought her wealthy husband, Lyman, married her because he cared about her. After reading a revealing letter from her deceased mother that mentions Salina's father's diary, she realizes that her much-older husband may have had another reason for courting Salina. Even more distressing is facing the truth that Lyman, an eastern Kentucky coal-mine owner, had a hand in the death of her beloved father by framing him for a crime that he did not commit.
Salina confronts Lyman and demands to have the diary that her mother was supposed to have mailed to her. But Lyman cruelly reminds her of all that he has done for Salina and her mother and refuses to reveal the location of the missing diary. Responding to a trouble call at the mines, Lyman leaves the house and is critically injured in a mining accident that leaves him near death.
When Lyman's estranged son, Mick, comes to visit Lyman's bedside at the request of Salina, the two young people cannot dismiss their attraction for one another and fall in love. After being sent to a nursing home, Lyman is kidnapped. Then the body of a man that could be Lyman is found in a local lake and the sheriff immediately suspects Salina and Mick of murder.
A Family Matter is full of surprising twists and turns that will keep the reader searching for clues in this contemporary version of an ancient Greek myth."
Reviewed by Mary Jo Harrod for January 2005 issue of Kentucky Monthly Magazine
©
Kentucky Monthly Magazine

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“Salina Drummond Graves was from a rich family until one night in a mining accident, everything changed. Her family lost everything that night, their fortune and their reputation.  Years later, Salina marries Lyman Graves, a man old enough to be her father. When Salina finds out the truth about what happened all those years ago and Lyman’s part in it she confronts him.  She wants her father’s journal, which her mother sent her, but Lyman refuses to give it to her.  Lyman is injured in an accident that day and ends up in a coma. 

Paul Titus Graves – “Mick” comes home when his new stepmother calls him about his father’s accident.  Mick and Lyman have never got along and haven’t seen each other for years. Mick’s mother left them when he was five and he hasn’t heard from her since. He’s working his way through graduate school and only plans on staying long enough to see his father pull through.

Salina and Mick both fight their attraction to each other.  They feel guilty about their feelings since they are stepmother and stepson and Lyman is in the hospital.  Salina has a tough decision to make.  She is searching for her father’s journal but has come to like and respect Mick. If she finds the journal and clears her family’s name, it will ruin Mick’s family. 

A Family Matter is about the choices one makes in their life, whether it’s good or bad.  Marsha Briscoe does a wonderful job with the telling of this story and how the characters come to their decisions in life.  The reader can feel the anguish that Salina and Mick feel as they are fighting their attraction to each other.  A Family Matter came to a solid ending that will leave the reader satisfied. I enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more from Marsha Briscoe.”

Reviewed by Kayleen for Enchanted in Romance, www.enchantedinromance.com, November 2004

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A Family Matter

"Salina Graves has just found out the worst about her husband. The man she thought cared for her and helped her to take care of her ailing mother is the man who caused her father’s death and was just using Salina for revenge. Now that she has discovered this, she confronts Lyman but he waves her off and commands her as he always has. All she really wants is to get her father’s diary back from Lyman. She plans to question Lyman more about the diary but never gets a chance to since he is injured in a mine accident that day.

As Lyman lays in the hospital, his son, Paul Titus Graves, who prefers to be called “Mick” comes to town to see about his dad. Mick left town many years ago and is not in his dad’s good graces because of decisions he has made, but Mick has to see his father.

While staying in the house with Salina, Mick starts to develop feelings for her. Salina is also developing feelings for Mick. As they deal with their deepening feelings, they must also contend with Lyman, and other things they begin to learn about their pasts. This story is definitely romantic suspense. I could never tell exactly what would happen next, so I could not put it down. The main characters of Salina and Mick are very likeable and well developed. You constantly learn new things about their characters throughout the book. The setting was great, and even though I know very little about the coal mining towns of eastern Kentucky, I felt like I was right there in the middle of the town and understood the area and the people. Things are wrapped up rather quickly towards the end, which was a slight disappointment, but overall this book is a wonderful read and I wouldn’t hesitate to read it again. This book is full of surprises and a great love story too."


Reviewed by: Crystal of FALLEN ANGEL REVIEWS, September 2004

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"Salina Faye Graves uncovers a piece of mail that was among her mother's possessions; a letter written in one of her mother's more-lucid moments. It told of a man's culpability in both the suicide of her father, and the in the deaths of several miners. That man is Salina's husband, a man over twice her age, Lyman Graves. In the letter, her mother also stated that she mailed an incriminating journal with her father's facts and theories about Lyman to her, and unknowingly to Lyman himself. Now Salina has to confront her husband, not a man she loves but is indebted to, and not a nice man at all. Lyman refuses to tell her where the journal is, only giving her orders as to her "job" as his wife. Salina now knows that he is indeed capable of doing everything her mother has said; now she just needs to find the proof and clear her family's name. When a tragic mining accident happens later that day and renders Lyman unconscious and in critical condition, Salina worries she will never find the
journal.

Salina must then call her stepson, Paul Titus "Mick" Graves, about his father's condition. This is a woman he had neither heard of nor knew about. He drops all his commitments and comes home. Mick is unaware that his new stepmother would be young, beautiful, and calls to him like no other woman ever had; and Salina doesn't expect her pulse to race when she first sees her stepson.

And then the chaos begins...

This was an interesting contemporary adaptation of the Greek myth about Phaedre. A complex and intriguing story about a loveless marriage built on a foundation of lies and manipulation, family values, and about love found where you least expect it... A Family Matter is definitely worth reading!"

Reviewer: Sara Sawyer for The Romance Studio, July 2004

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A FAMILY MATTER
Romantic Mystery/ Mainstream Romance
"Salina Faye Graves was working as a waitress in the Citadelle coffee shop in Hazard, Kentucky when she met and later married Lyman Graves. Salina was a school teacher until her father Minos Drummond was accused of causing the deaths of some miners in a mine accident. The school fired her and the only job she could get was in the coffee shop. Lyman owns Poseidon Coal Company and is a lot older than Salina, but Salina wanted his help in having her art work shown in New York. After they were married, Salina discovered Lyman wasn't going to help her and had no time for her. She discovered a letter her mother had written her and Lyman had hidden, and in the letter her mother Patsy tells her she has sent her father's journals for Salina to use to clear her father's name.

Lyman and a group of mining inspectors are touring one of Poseidon's mines when there is a cave-in and Lyman is the only one to survive but is left in a coma. Salina knows he has a son from whom he is estranged but doesn't know how to reach the son, but her neighbor and only friend in Whitestown, Kentucky, Ona Neely, tells her she will contact Mick for her. Mick's real name is Paul Titus Graves but he prefers to be called Mick. When he gets Ona's call, he has a hard time deciding whether he will go home. He has not resolved his feelings for his father, which is why he is in Colorado working as a horse trainer and working on a graduate degree.

When Mick arrives home, he is surprised his father's wife is close to his age and has to fight his attraction to her and it doesn't help to know that she is having the same problem. So he tries to stay away from her as much as he can. Lyman improves enough to be moved to a nursing home. Salina learns Lyman has left everything to a Greek woman named Iphegenia and the mention of her name upsets both Mick and Ona. Salina finds her father's journals in Lyman's safe and after reading them faces a dilemma about revealing the contents, but before she can decide, Lyman disappears from the nursing home.

A FAMILY MATTER is about greed and betrayal and the relationship between a stepmother and stepson. Salina and Mick are strong characters who face many challenges. There are quite a few twists and turns that lead to a conclusion that is really a surprise. A truly wonderful story.
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Reviewed by Hattie Boyd, ©Scribes World 
www.scribesworld.com

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Reviewer: Sharyn McGinty

"Salina Faye Graves couldn't believe her eyes. Her husband, Lyman Graves, was the man responsible for her father's death. And if that weren't bad enough, he'd also been engaged to her mother. As she read through her mother's letter, Salina's emotions ranged from outright horror to indescribable anger, especially when she realized she had never received a package containing her father's journal from her mother. Instinctively, she realized Lyman had received, read the journal and hidden it. Her mother's letter begged Salina to vindicate her father and that was exactly what Salina would do.

Salina confronts Lyman about the journal later that day. Not only does he brag about reading it, he tells her no one will believe her over him, not to mention her maiden name will work against her in all the small coal-mining towns. His bragging only hardens her desire to bring Lyman down, but deep inside she knows he's right. Will she ever find the journal and be free? Salina's desire for freedom is delayed indefinitely when news of a mining accident reaches her ears.

While showing mining inspectors his mines, a support beam fell and derailed the mining car. All the mining inspectors were killed and Lyman badly injured. What should she do? Her hopes of finding the journal were bound to Lyman's health. At the insistence of a friend, Salina calls Lyman's son Paul Titus and informs him of the accident.

Paul or as he preferred to be called, Mick, was confused. He and his father hadn't been on speaking terms, but still he should be at home, at least until his father recovered. Then there was his father's wife, Salina. Completely unlike the other women Lyman spent time with, she was a complete mystery to him and off-limits. A pity, since he was irresistibly drawn to her and she to him.

Will Salina ever find her father's journal and clear his name? What will happen when she exposes Lyman for the blackguard he is? Just how bad will it hurt Mick, the stepson she's come to love and will always be forbidden to her?

A beautiful story, A Family Matter is rich with unforgettable, depth-filled characters, gorgeous scenery and a forbidden love. Mick and Salina capture your heart immediately and you long for them to be together. Amidst their burgeoning romance, we see both characters wrestle with important decisions that will affect not just themselves, but everyone around them. What I loved most of all about A Family Matter is Mick and Salina's strength of will. They loved each other desperately, but wouldn't allow themselves to be together, respecting her marriage vows and Mick's father.

Don't miss this wonderful tale by a talented author."

Reviewed by Sharyn McGinty © In the Library Reviews, February 2004

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LOVE ROMANCES REVIEW

"While reading A Family Matter, my first thought was that it was another typical romantic suspense story. But I was wrong from the beginning. Of course you have the main hero and the heroine; but they don’t succumb to love right at the beginning. No, they had to deny all their lusts and feelings towards one another. Why? To solve a mystery, of course, or as this reviewer thinks, a death.

Salina Graves is a woman who went into marriage with open eyes. She thought she would live happily ever after, but a letter from her mother changes all that. After a year living with Lyman Graves, her husband, she finds out that she married a man who was jilted at the altar by her own mother. Lyman Graves is a man who worked for greed, deceit, and betrayal as a coal miner baron. All his past deeds will become uncovered for his true self will be revealed by Salina.

Paul Titus Graves, or as he likes to call himself Mick, is a man who is torn. He’s torn from the feelings he has for his stepmother. Most of all, he’s torn that he is unable to find his father, who could be dead, for all he knows.

After finding out his father disappeared from a nursing home weeks after being crushed by a coal cart in a mining accident, Paul returns to the home he lost years before. Things are different now; his father has aged and married a woman that is perfect for him. Forbidden love is in the air for them, but first, in order to love each other like they are meant to, Salina has to set things right for his father’s death and his stepmother.

This reviewer loved the way Marsha Briscoe brought these two to love. You have a stepmother and a son who in all records cannot fall in love. Of course that will be incest, but no way are they blood related, which makes it more forbidden. You see what this reviewer liked the most about A Family Matter was that although these two are attracted to each other and sparks are flying, there is one obstacle they have to overcome: Lyman Graves. This is a great romantic suspense you can read if you are in the mood for love, betrayal, and mystery."

Reviewed by Melinda © Love Romances-- All Rights Reserved.

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"Salina discovered the name of the man responsible for her father’s ruined reputation, his shattered life and, ultimately, his suicide. Lyman Graves. The cold-hearted man, thirty years her senior that she just happened to be married to for the last fourteen months. Lyman was the man who was hiding her father’s diary that could clear Minos Drummond’s name and expose Lyman for the evil man he really was.  An untimely coal mine accident put Lyman into a coma, preventing Salina from questioning him about the diary.

As if Lyman hadn’t caused enough turmoil in her life, along came Paul Titus Graves, Lyman’s twenty-seven-year-old son. He was just what Salina didn’t need right now.

Mick, as Paul preferred to be called, was young, handsome and hated his father almost as much as Salina did. He hated the house and everything associated with it; the painful memories of a lonely childhood; the endless stream of women his father brought home nightly after Mick’s mother left them. Salina was a complete surprise to him. With her beauty, her sea-green eyes and graceful ways, she soon became a temptation for him, as well.

As storms raged in the eastern Kentucky skies, Mick and Salina did all they could to avoid their own tempest. The stigma of incest, though they were no blood relation, kept them from acting on the desires stirring deep within them. His father’s wife. Her husband’s son. The evil man lying in a coma, suspended between life and death, stood firmly between them.

A FAMILY MATTER traverses time in the contemporary telling of the myth of Phaedra, a woman destined to love her stepson, Hippolytus—the son destined to love his father’s wife. Marsha Briscoe has brought the legend forward in time, losing none of the suspense, the romance, and the burning desire from the original myth.  If you enjoy a roller coaster of emotion and intrigue that builds step by step to the unexpected conclusion, A FAMILY MATTER is a must read."

Reviewed By: Marge Conrad for Novel Spot © July 2004

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Timeless Tales Review

"Salina Faye discovers that her much older husband, Lyman Graves, framed her father for the death of a number of miners. After this, her father slowly lost his mind, and eventually committed suicide. She confronts Lyman with this, but before a solution can be reached, he is involved in a mining accident that leaves him in a coma. Upon hearing the news, Lyman's son from a previous marriage comes to visit. He had fallen out with his father six years ago at the age of 21 and had left permanently. The attraction between Salina and Mick is as instantaneous as it is forbidden. In the midst of struggling with their illicit feeling for each other, they have to ferret out the truth about Lyman's coal mining company. Why has Lyman treated his miners so callously over the years and who is the mystery woman who is stands to inherit everything in the event of Lyman's death?

The novel is based on and follows the Greek Phaedra myth... This is a well-written novel about betrayal and forbidden love. Salina Faye is a believable character who has made some difficult and painful decisions about her life. Mick, or Paul Titus as his real name is, carries deep scars after growing up with a harsh, and at times cruel, man like Lyman. The best feature of the novel is the warm and realistic way the author has described the growing relationship between Mick and Salina...
All in all, a good read."

~~Reviewed by Sam ©Timeless Tales www.timelesstales.com

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"Thanks a lot, Marsha Briscoe. I had started reading a mystery when I downloaded your book. Out of curiosity, I read through a page or two. The mystery forgotten, I stuck with this book until the end. I had to know how you were going to get Salina and Mick out of the corner into which you'd painted them. WOW, what conflict! Congratulations on crafting a very satisfying read."
~~Cheryl Norman, 2002 Eppie Winner and author of
Full Moon Honeymoon and Last Resort

 

 

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