The Widow’s Island series is ten novellas, so far, set on Widow’s Island or the many small islands in the vicinity. This series is written by a pair of authors, Kendra Elliot and Melinda Leigh. They feature former FBI special agent, Cate Wilde, her fiancé and island doctor, Henry Powers as well as local Deputy Tessa Black and her fiancé, park ranger Logan Wilde. Melinda Leigh’s novellas are written from the point of view of Deputy Tessa Black, while Kendra Elliot’s focus on Tessa’s best friend Cate, a former FBI agent, who also happens to be Tessa’s fiance’s sister, although they appear in all the books. I listened to #5 to #10 over the last three weeks and loved the narration. Each audiobook is around 3 hours to listen to at normal speed and were great to listen to when I had a long car ride or mundane tasks around the house. I recommend this series and if you have Kindle Unlimited, they are all available with the read/listen option.

Below the Bones (Widow’s Island #5) by Kendra Elliot, Christine Williams (Narrator)

Published October 27th 2020 by Brilliance Audio, Montlake

3.5 Stars:

In Below the Bones, we are back with former FBI special agent Cate Wilde. She has left the bureau due to PTSD, but it’s listed as a sabbatical. She is now living on Widow’s Island and has opened a bakery/bookshop. She seems settled and happy with her business and Henry, her boyfriend and the island doctor. When skeletal remains are found on the island that appear to be matches to victims of a killer she put away eight years ago, she is drawn back into the case. Cate has no choice but to return to her old life, especially because of her prior knowledge of the crimes. When they realize this killer is not finished, Cate races to stop the killer before more bodies turn up.

I really enjoy this series and characters. Although this book was one of Cate’s stories, I love how Cate and Tessa work together. I wondered how Cate would deal with the danger and with her PTSD, but with support from others, she is okay. To complicate things, the agent in charge is an old boyfriend, and Henry has to deal with how he feels about this. Because there is a connection to the island, I was curious to see which, if any, of the island residents might be involved. I was surprised by the identity of the killer as I thought I had it figured out and I was wrong. There is suspense, some subtle romance, friendship and family issues in these stories. I enjoyed the plot and the conclusion has some suspense and danger, but all worked out well. This is the shortest book in the series, and if you have not read the previous books in this series, it might be a disappointment, so I definitely recommend you read this series in order. Christine Williams narrates this audiobook and does a nice job. I have gotten used to her narration and enjoy this format.

A Broken Bone (Widow’s Island #6) by Melinda Leigh, Christine Williams (Narrator)

Published November 3rd 2020 by Brilliance Audio, Montlake

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

A Broken Bone is the 6th novella in the Widow’s Island series, Tessa is called to an explosion in an abandoned house. When Tessa and Logan arrive to investigate, they find a body inside. It is the body of a teen boy who has gone missing, and Tessa feels guilty that she did not investigate enough when he was first reported missing. As she digs into the disappearance of the young man, something sinister begins to emerge.

I am enjoying this series of novellas set on a small, relatively isolated, picturesque island. Of course, I wouldn’t want to live there, because there sure are a lot of dead bodies. Tessa is a great character. I have followed this series since the beginning and boy has she shown a lot of growth both personally and professionally. This one started with a bang and there was a lot of tension surrounding the investigation and what they found out. The conclusion/resolution was a surprise, but it fit well. These books have strong female leads, but there is some romance as well. A trigger warning that there is child abuse in this book. I do recommend that you read or listen to this series in order as there is a lot of character development along the way. Tessa’s personal life plays a large part in these books, with her mother having dementia and Tessa looking after her younger sister and trying to keep her mother at home. The community pulls together and helps them out a lot, which I love. Once again I listened to the audiobook and find that Christine Williams is getting more comfortable with these characters and the voices are much better to identify. I will continue to listen to this series.

Buried Bones (Widow’s Island #7) by Melinda Leigh, Jane Oppenheimer (Narrator)

Published October 19th 2021 by Brilliance Audio, Montlake

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Buried Bones is the 7th book in the Widow’s Island series and once again, we have Tessa front and center. Tessa and Logan are out for a hike in the woods, when she stumbles upon a body buried in a shallow grave. The skeleton is identified as Aurora Franklin, a young college student and aspiring actor, who had come to Widow’s Island for a summer job and disappeared shortly after. She was never reported missing as she and her parents were estranged and her best friend knew that she often stopped communicating when she was in a new relationship. Tessa and Logan begin to ask questions of her employer and landlord to try and piece together what happened after she arrived on Widow’s Island. The investigation reveals a dangerous predator hiding in the Widow’s Island community and Tessa needs to find him/her before they strike again.

Once again, this novella is a short, fast read or listen filled with suspense. There are several suspects, but clues are sparse. Who wanted this vibrant, young woman dead? The break in the case comes from an unexpected source and Tessa needs to take care that she doesn’t put herself in danger. This is one where I did guess who the murderer was as clues are uncovered. With Logan by her side, they are able to arrest the suspect and put him/her behind bars where they belong. Because this is a novella, the secondary characters are not well developed, but the main ones are as they have been involved in the previous books in the series. For this reason, I recommend you read them in order. The narrator was changed for this novella and I enjoyed Jane Oppenheimer’s performance. She seemed to have more expression and emotion as well as making me feel like part of the story, instead of reading it to me.

The Lost Bones (Widow’s Island #8) by Kendra Elliot, Jane Oppenheimer (Narrator)

Published October 26th 2021 by Brilliance Audio, Montlake

4.5 Stars:

Former FBI agent Cate Wilde is called to a local gift shop to pick up a package that was left there for her. When she opens it, she finds a child’s mandible, with an old newspaper clipping from one of her previous cases that was unsolved. A message is written on the paper asking for her help before her child is also killed. Cate is thrust back into the case, trying to find the man who kidnapped and probably killed his own child. She and Henry track down the fact that the man she was after has been in her store selling her jewelry. There is also a private detective on the island looking for a missing teen, who left home with an older man and has had no contact with anyone for several months. Cate quickly deduces that the young woman, Ashleigh is in the clutches of the man she is now hunting once again. Heading to a nearby island that is inhabited by those living off the grid, they try to track down Ashleigh and her child.

This was an extremely edge of your seat novella. There is abuse in the story, not descriptive, but it is there. The character of Ashleigh shows how a young woman is easily taken in and once under the abusers control, it can be hard to escape. Cate and Henry come up with a great plan to get on the island and search, showing why she was such a great agent in the first place. Henry is such a compassionate and caring character, his role as island doctor is perfect for him. There is some danger, and Tessa and Logan show up just in time to help save the day. I think this is one of my favourites in this series so far. It kept me listening when I should have been doing others things. Jane Oppenheimer once again narrates this one and she is able to pull the listener in to the story, making it even more enjoyable.

Bone Deep (Widow’s Island #9) by Kendra Elliot, Christine Williams (Narrator)

Published October 18th 2022 by Brilliance Audio, Montlake

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The further this series goes, the more exciting and gripping the stories are. In Bone Deep, the 9th book in the Widow’s Island series, Doctor Henry Powers is kidnapped from his clinic to tend to a man with a gunshot wound. Henry is warned that if the young man dies, so does he. Henry knows he won’t be able to save him unless he can get him to a hospital, but he is told no. Trying his best, he is unable to save the youngest of the three brothers, who had recently robbed more than one bank. Cate quickly gears up and with the help of her best friend and deputy, Tessa, they are able to figure out who has Henry and eventually where he is being held. Once the victim dies, Henry knows that he must escape to save himself. Will Cate and Tessa find them in time? Who will survive?

This story once again starts off with a bang and doesn’t let up. I love how Cate gets back in her FBI persona and is able to put the clues together to figure out what is happening. Tessa helps her a lot in this story, and I loved seeing them work together again. Henry is such a wonderful character and Kendra Elliot has developed the perfect doctor character in Henry. While he was trying to save the shooting victim, as well as save himself while hiding on the island, I was on the edge of my seat, rooting for him. There are many dangerous moments in this one that added to the tenseness and suspense. A wonderful addition to this series. This audiobook is back to having Christine Williams narrate the story. I was fine with that, as I had listened to her narrate previous books. It is frustrating that they keep switching narrators though.

The Wrong Bones (Widow’s Island #10) by Melinda Leigh, Christine Williams (Narrator)

Published October 25th 2022 by Brilliance Audio, Montlake

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Deputy Tessa Black is doing routine patrol in the evening when she almost hits a teen running out of the local cemetery with two friends. They had seen someone digging up a grave, and were scared out of their wits. Tessa sends them home and sneaks into the cemetery thinking she will catch a grave robber. It is not a robber, but someone trying to bury bones, including a human skull. Tessa calls for help from Logan and though they try to catch the person, he/she gets away. Following tracks, they come across an illegal campsite and a sixteen year old who has run away from home. They are sure he knows more than he is telling them, but at this point, they want to keep him safe. When the bones are identified as a teenager that was reported missing several months earlier, Tessa and Logan follow the clues to find out who was responsible for her death.

Because these books are novellas, they don’t waste time building up to the story, it starts right from the first page. This book shows how well Tessa is able to follow the clues to find out who is responsible for the crime she is investigating, in this case a murder. Once again, there is abuse in this story, but not graphic, just insinuated. This is one of those stories where I was sure I had it figured out, but I went the obvious route and was wrong. This was another fast moving story, well plotted and written with some great characters, good clues and a few suspects. I enjoyed this story and the narration by Christine Williams. I enjoyed the ending where one of our couples gets married, just one more to go, which means this series is not over yet.