Review: Undercurrent of Secrets, by Rachel Scott McDaniel

book coverOverview

Two women, a century apart, are bound by a haunting secret aboard a legendary steamboat.

Walk through Doors to the Past via a new series of historical stories of romance and adventure.

As wedding coordinator for the 100-year-old steamboat The Belle of Louisville, Devyn Asbury takes pride in seeing others’ dreams come true, even though her engagement had sunk like a diamond ring to the bottom of the Ohio River. When the Belle becomes a finalist in the Timeless Wedding Venue contest, Devyn endeavors to secure the prestigious title with hopes to reclaim some of her professional dreams. What she hadn’t planned on was Chase Jones showing up with a mysterious photo from the 1920s.

A century earlier, Hattie Louis is as untamable as the rivers that raised her. As the adopted daughter of a steamboat captain, her duties range from the entertainment to cook. When strange incidents occur aboard the boat, Hattie’s determined to discover the truth. Even if that means getting under First Mate Jack Marshall’s handsome skin.


Disclaimer: Although I received a copy of this book from the publisher, the opinions below are my own.

At first glance, Rachel Scott McDaniel’s new novel is a departure from her first two books in terms of genre and location: in that she’s previously written historical fiction set in western Pennsylvania (a favorite area of mine). The fourth title in Barbour’s Doors to the Past series, however, is of the time-slip variety. For the uninitiated, this genre features novels containing two or more narratives set at different moments in time but with a strong connection between them. In Undercurrent of Secrets, the connection between Devyn and Hattie’s stories is the steamboat once known as the Idlewild and now sailing as The Belle of Louisville.

My personal preference when reading Undercurrent of Secrets was for the historical track. I felt there was enough of Hattie’s story to make an entire novel. It had romance and mystery, as well as joy and suspense. That’s not to say the present-day time track didn’t provide value; it was useful in terms of giving just enough hints to assist the reader in solving the mystery. It’s also bittersweet, as Devyn and Chase learn what those characters in the 1920s were never able to know. That realization tugged at my emotional core and is why I give this novel five stars.

Oh, and in case you were wondering… McDaniel does still throw in a western Pennsylvania element. The Idlewild travels up the Ohio River from Louisville to Pittsburgh!



Product Information

Publisher: Barbour Publishing

Publication Date: 01 September 2021

Book Information


head shotAuthor Information

Rachel Scott McDaniel is an award-winning author of historical romance. Winner of the ACFW Genesis Award and the RWA Touched By Love award, Rachel infuses faith and heart into each story. She currently enjoys life in Ohio with her husband and two kids.

Rachel Scott McDaniel’s Website

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