The Orange Lilies by Nathan Dylan Goodwin: A Book Review

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book to review.

Nathan Dylan Goodwin has got me hooked on Morton Farrier, the forensic genealogist. I loved both Hiding the Past and The Lost Ancestor, the first two novels in the series.

Today’s review is a bit different for a couple of reasons.

First, this book is called a novella, which simply means it’s a bit short to be a full fledged novel. However, at 101 pages, it certainly isn’t a short story either!

Second, this is the first Morton Farrier case in which his focus is his own family. Morton’s father told him when he was a teenager that he had been adopted, a revelation which had niggled at Morton ever since.

In The Orange Lilies, Morton and girlfriend Juliette are off at Christmas time to Cornwall, England to visit his Aunty Margaret, who he hasn’t seen for quite some time. This visit, though, his has a special meaning, which you will have to discover for yourself!

Aunty Margaret, enjoying Morton’s and Juliette’s visit, wants to learn more about her grandfathers, both biological, who she never knew because he died in World War I, and step-, who married her widowed grandmother.

Morton, of course, is thrilled to help out with a hundred year old search, which quickly becomes his latest mystery case.

The story line is again presented in the typical format of slipping back and forth between present and past to reveal all the pertinent details.

While the first two novels were very fast paced, this novella is a more comfortable read. Maybe because it’s set during the Christmas season. Maybe because it’s Morton’s own personal family story. Either way, the slower pace doesn’t detract from the building up of clues to reveal an incredible secret kept by Morton’s great grandmother, right up until she went to her grave.

As the story unfolds, Morton finds out more about his own parents and family history than he ever imagined and, for the first time in his career, he understands all the emotions that rush through his clients when he reveals to them results of his research.

I highly recommend Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s series starring Morton Farrier. The plots are full of detail, twists and turns, but all are very realistic in the manner in which they play out. There is also historical accuracy in the settings, although the characters are fictional. I especially love the final twist that appears near the end of the saga – right when I think I have it all pieced together, there is that one last surprise!

I am looking forward to reading The America Ground, 4th in this great series of genealogical mysteries.

Be sure to visit Nathan Dylan Goodwin’s website for information about all his books and to place orders.


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