Thursday, April 28, 2022

Book Review: Danger at the Cover by Hannah Dennison

Danger at the Cove: An Island Sisters MysteryDanger at the Cove (Island Sisters Mystery #2). Hannah Dennison. Minotaur Books (2021). 304 pages. Genre: Cozy Mystery.

First Line: "'Do you mind moving those plants into the potting shed before you run my errand, Ollie?'"

Summary:  Sisters Evie and Margot are making some progress on the renovations they have undertaken to Tregarrick Rock Hotel.  The hotel is located in the Isles of Scilly and can only be reached by boat. The grand reopening is approaching and the sisters are working hard to get everything ready.  When an old friend of Margot's announces she is on her way, Margot doesn't tell her they aren't ready yet.  Margot and Evie do their best to clear out one guest room and prepare it for their guest. To make matters more complicated, the time between tides is even shorter than normal due to a supermoon.  When one of the hotel employees doesn't return in time to beat the tide, Evie begins to worry.  Another unexpected guest, a power outage and a sunken ship add more complications. Will Evie be able to unravel the mystery before it is too late?

My thoughts:  There is a lot going on in this story.  Unexpected guests, power outages, construction workers staying on site, the supermoon, a shipwreck and cleaning out a bedroom that contains a secret door.  All of these lend an eerie quality to the story.  

Evie is still grieving the loss of her husband.  Some days are better than others, but she is doing her best to move on.  She has thrown herself into the work at the hotel.  Margot has as well.  She left her life in Hollywood and really feels it was for the best.  But when an old Hollywood friend drops in for a visit, Margot begins missing the old lifestyle.  But, Evie is able to remind her why she made the choice she did and encourage her to stick with it.  I like the relationship the two of them have. 

Margot's friend, Louise, is a different story.  She seems to forget that she recently became a widow and has become infatuated with a new man.  She is overly impressed by money and prestige.  She takes a pill for everything and anything.  She was not a likeable character.  However, there are several other secondary characters that are well developed and add to the story.

The mystery was complicated and multifaceted.  Several people seem suspicious and some don't seem suspicious that maybe should. There is a lot to sort out.  D.S. Patricia Williamson is on the case and she is quite capable.  She is blunt and cunning and very good at her job.  I can't say that I particularly like her, but she gets the case solved. 

The supermoon that will cause the tide to go out further than normal was fascinating. On one particular day, the tide will stay far enough out that a shipwreck will be visible.  The hotel staff has plans to take a trek to the location.  It was interesting to learn something about the many shipwrecks off the Isles of Scilly.  

This was a satisfying mystery and I look forward to seeing what the future holds for the sisters.

Welcome To The Isles of Scilly - Visit Isles of Scilly


Monday, April 25, 2022

Book Review: The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford

The Pursuit of Love (Radlett & Montdore, #1)The Pursuit of Love. Nancy Mitford. Penguin Books (1999) (First published 1945). 192 pages. Genre: Classic.

First Line: "There is a photograph in existence of Aunt Sadie and her six children sitting round the tea-table at Alconleigh."

Summary:  When Fanny Wincham was a baby, her mother left her and her father to pursue other interests.  Consequently, she was brought up by Aunt Emily, sister of her mother. Aunt Sadie, another sister, had a family of her own consisting of six children and her husband Matthew Radlett.  Fanny spent many summers and holidays at Alconleigh with the Radletts.  She was closest in age to Linda and the two of them spent most of their time together. 

After being introduced to society, Linda fell in love with the first man who showed an interest in her.  Unfortunately, she soon fell out of love.  Fanny tells the story of Linda's search for love. 

My thoughts:  This is a rather sad tale, but it is told with a good amount of humor.  I love the author's writing style.  Linda seems quite clueless when it comes to meaningful relationships which leads to much heartbreak.  

The story starts when the girls are about fourteen.  Aunt Emily, who has never been married, has become engaged.  Fanny is not sure how to feel about this.  It will certainly change her life to have a man living in the house.  Fortunately, Davey is a kind man and seems to really care about Fanny.  He is quirky and always concerned about his digestion.  

Uncle Matthew is often annoyed by Davey and his constant talk about foods and digestion.  He considers him to be a coward.  But, Uncle Matthew is easily annoyed.  He is quick to become angry and often roars and becomes red in the face.  However, his anger leaves almost as quickly as it appears.  It does cause the children stress and often Fanny needs to recover after spending time with the Radletts. 

We don't get to know any of the other children very well.  A few are mentioned in passing, but the bulk of the story is about Linda.  Fanny's mother has a bad reputation amongst the Radletts because she left her husband and child and ran away with another man.  She then proceeded to run away from him to another man, etc.  The Radletts refer to her as "the Bolter". From a young age, Linda realizes she doesn't want to be like her.  But one day she realizes she has turned out just like her.  Since the story is being told by Fanny, I didn't feel like we really got into Linda's head to understand her thought process.  But, since this is satire, I don't think we were supposed to.  It seemed like Linda just couldn't help herself.  She thought she was in love, but when something better came along, she realized she must not have been in love after all.  And since being in love was the goal, she better pursue this shiny, new love. The author does a good job of showing the frivolousness of Linda's life.  She gives a clue as to what may have led to this.

"Of course, this was the time when Linda should have been made to work, as I was, all day and hard, with no time for silly dreaming except the few minutes before one went to sleep at night."

"Linda now proceeded to fritter away years of her youth, with nothing whatever to show for them.  If she had had an intellectual upbringing the place of all this pointless chatter, jokes and parties might have been taken by a serious interest in the arts, or by reading; if she had been happy in her marriage that side of her nature which craved for company could have found its fulfilment by the nursery fender; things being as they were, however, all was frippery and silliness."

I enjoyed the beginning of the book the most, when the girls were young and spending time together.  The second part of the book, dealing more with Linda's life after leaving home was less enjoyable.  However, the second part of the book takes place in the time leading up to World War II and part of Linda's time is spent in Paris.  It was interesting to get a glimpse of some of the attitudes in Paris and London at that time.  Overall, I am glad to have read this book.   

Quotes:

"Aunt Emily's little house was in a village; it was a Queen Anne box; red brick, white panelling, a magnolia tree and a delicious fresh smell."

"The Radlett children read enormously by fits and starts in the library at Alconleigh, a good representative nineteenth-century library, which had been made by their grandfather, a most cultivated man."



Thursday, April 21, 2022

Book Review: Partners in Lime by Bree Baker

Partners in Lime (Seaside Café Mysteries, #6)Partners in Lime (Seaside Cafe Mystery #6). Bree Baker. Poisoned Pen Press (2021). 336 pages. Genre: Cozy Mystery.

First Line: "I smiled at the sound of seashell wind chimes jangling over my front door."

Summary: Charm, North Carolina is the location of some fun summer events.  Surf competitions are often held nearby and this summer Charm will be hosting the eighty-fourth season of The Lost Colony, a historical outdoor drama.  Some of the local residents have secured positions in the play.  As opening day draws nearer, tensions are running high.  

Matt Darning, EMT and friend of Everly Swan, has a leading role in the play.  It turns out he is excellent with the longbow.  One evening after rehearsal, Everly notices Matt arguing with a surfer.  The next morning the surfer is found dead, shot with an arrow.  The evidence points to Matt.  Everly is convinced Matt isn't capable of murder.  He is an EMT after all.  He is in the busines of saving lives, not taking them.  As the evidence continues to mount, Everly has to work fast to prove her friend's innocence.  

My thoughts:  While Charm is not as popular a town as Manteo or Corolla, just a few miles away, there is always something interesting going on.  Everly's Aunt Fran has become mayor of Charm and is working hard to bring events back to the island.  Manteo hosts a surf competition and some of the surfers have made their way to Charm to explore.  That combined with the upcoming production of The Lost Colony, have caused the population of Charm to swell, bringing in lots of new faces. 

Everly and Detective Grady Hayes have begun dating.  Their relationship is proceeding smoothly until the murder happens.  Everly can't help herself from becoming involved.  Granted, the main suspect is a good friend of hers and she desperately wants to prove his innocence.  But, she causes Grady unnecessary stress by putting herself in danger.  This time it did seem like the threats came out of no where.  But, she has developed a reputation in town for investigating crimes.  So, the killer seems to assume that she will get involved.  I admit that I was annoyed by Everly's behavior.  Grady asked her specifically to not do something and she would turn around and do exactly that.  Then she would lie about it.  What stopped me from abandoning the book was the inner dialogue Everly had with herself.  She recognized where she was wrong and determined to do better.  She admitted to herself and Grady that she didn't like being deceptive.  It turns out that it wasn't just me, her behavior was over-the-top.  However, it ended up be an important part of the plot.

A new tea shop has opened in town and Everly sees it as competition. Sun, Sand and Tea is casual and serves iced tea, while the new shop is more of a formal tea house.  This adds a fun new element to the stories.  Also, Everly's best friend is having a birthday and her boyfriend wants to throw her a surprise party.  Of course he asks Everly for help.  

The suspect list was plentiful.  It was just a matter of figuring out who had opportunity.  I was glad Detective Hays was on the case, because I was clueless who the culprit was. 

While the current case is solved, we are left with a cliff hanger at the end of the book.  Even though I was annoyed with Everly and hope she tones down her annoying behavior, I can't wait to read the next installment.  


Monday, April 18, 2022

Book Review: The Enchanted April by Elizabeth von Arnim

The Enchanted AprilThe Enchanted April. Elizabeth von Arnim. Vintage Classics (2015) (First published 1922). 262 pages. Genre: Classic. 

First lines: "It began in a Women's Club in London on a February afternoon - an uncomfortable club, and a miserable afternoon - when Mrs. Wilkins, who had come down from Hampstead to shop and had lunched at her club, took up The Times from the table in the smoking-room, and running her listless eye down the Agony Column saw this:  To Those Who Appreciate Wistaria and Sunshine.  Small mediaeval Italian Castle on the shores of the Mediterranean to be Let furnished for the month of April."

Summary:  Four very different woman agree to split the rent of an Italian castle for the month of April.  Each of them wants to escape their life in London for just a little while.  Mrs. Wilkins and Mrs. Arbuthnot feel unappreciated by their husbands.  Lady Caroline wants to be in a place where she is unrecognized by anyone and can avoid being "grabbed at" for just a little while.  Mrs. Fisher wants to be able to sit and remember undisturbed.  Each of them has preconceived notions about how life should be lived.  But before long, the beauty and serenity of the castle by the sea casts its spell on each of them.  

My thoughts:  What a delightful book!  I didn't expect to enjoy this book as much as I did.

Mrs. Wilkins wouldn't say that she is unhappy in her marriage, she is just "blotted out", hardly noticed.  Her husband is handsome and the life of the party.  She is plain and quiet.  

Mrs. Arbuthnot's husband writes memoirs of the famous.  The kind of memoirs only "certain people" read.  Mrs. Arbuthnot is not "certain people" and frankly, she struggles with the way her husband makes money.  She has thrown herself into work at the church.  Mr. Arbuthnot has taken to spending most of his time away from home. 

Lady Caroline's beauty often casts a spell on men.  She is so tired of besotted men constantly "grabbing" at her.  She is just not interested in any of them and longs to get away from it all and think.

Mrs. Fisher has been widowed for a number of years, but continues to wear her mourning clothes.  She met many interesting people when she was young and loves to reminisce about them.  

Each of these women grows over the course of the book.  Each of their lives is changed for the better. Watching their transformations was delightful. 

There is so much humor in this story!  It reminded me of The Importance of Being Earnest in the way that it was something of a comedy of errors.  The thoughts and dialogue of the characters had me laughing more than once. 

To top it all off, the descriptions of Italy in the springtime are beautiful.  

"Such beauty; and she there to see it.  Such beauty; and she alive to feel it. Her face was bathed in light. Lovely scents came up to the window and caressed her.  A tiny breeze gently lifted her hair.  Far out in the bay a cluster of almost motionless fishing boats hovered like a flock of white birds on the tranquil sea."

"The first week the wistaria began to fade, and the flowers of the Judas-tree and peach-trees fell off and carpeted the ground with rose-colour.  Then all the freesias disappeared, and the irises grew scarce.  And then, while these were clearing themselves away, the double banksia roses came out, and the big summer roses suddenly flaunted gorgeously on the wall and trellises.  Fortune's Yellow was one of them; a very beautiful rose."

If you are looking for a light read filled with beauty, wit and interesting characters, I highly recommend this book.



Thursday, April 14, 2022

Book Review: Edgewater Road by Shelley Shepard Gray

Edgewater Road (The Rumors in Ross County #1)Edgewater Road (The Rumors in Ross County #1). Shelley Shepard Gray. Blackstone Publishing (2022). 284 pages. Genre:  Romantic Suspense, Christian Fiction.

First Lines of Prologue: "'That's her, boss, ' Bo said under the cover of a large black umbrella. 'That there is Jennifer Smiley.'"

Summary:  John Lincoln Bennett lived next door to Ginny Smiley his whole life.  He often heard about her only granddaughter, Jennifer, although he had never met her.  When Ginny died, she left her house to Jennifer. Ginny always looked out for Lincoln and because of that he felt a responsibility to make sure Jennifer had whatever she needed. 

Jennifer Smiley has fond memories of her grandmother and feels honored that she left the house to her.  She looks forward to making the house her own and starting a new life.  She soon discovers that included with the house is group of men who live next door and seem to feel obligated to look out for her.  She is intrigued to learn that they work for her neighbor, Lincoln Bennett.  

Lincoln finds himself immediately attracted to Jennifer.  But they are from different worlds.  Jennifer is sweet and innocent and always immaculately dressed.  Lincoln has been to prison and now helps ex-cons get on their feet.  Will Jennifer be able to overlook his past and get to know this man who has a heart for others? 

My thoughts:  Shelley Shepard Gray is an author I have enjoyed reading.  In the past she has written Amish fiction, romantic suspense and historical fiction.  Edgewater Road was hard to classify.  Before reading it I thought it would fit under the romantic suspense genre.  But after reading it, I think I would classify it more as romance with some suspense.  As it turns out, the book was a little rough around the edges.  Even so, I did find lots to like about it.

I liked Jennifer Smiley from the beginning.  She is embarking on a new adventure - that of owning and caring for a home.  Moving to her grandmother's house involves her leaving the area she had been living in.  This takes courage. I appreciated the way the author revealed her vulnerability, but also showed her choosing to do uncomfortable things because they were right.  Her initial distrust of Lincoln and his friends was realistic.  But, as she was tempted to write them off because of their history, she also reminded herself of the way they had treated her.  They had helped her without being asked and each one of them had been polite and kind. 

It took me a bit longer to warm up to Lincoln Bennett.  He seemed to be a bit cold which didn't line up with his attraction to Jennifer.  But, as the story went on, he was shown to be a man who had a heart to help others.  He was definitely a flawed person, but he was trying to live a better life. 

Jennifer had a lot to learn about her grandmother.  As she began going through her belongings, she found letters and other papers that alarmed her.  Lincoln had known Ginny well, but was not sure how much he should reveal to Jennifer.  He thought maybe it was best to just keep her in the dark and let her remember her grandmother as she knew her.  Jennifer struggled to decide whether to learn the truth or remain innocent. 

And there is some suspense, but it doesn't happen until after the midway point in the book.  It was caused by a bad decision Jennifer made.  By this point in the book we knew the characters pretty well, which made it more suspenseful.

I always appreciate the thread of hope and faith that run through Shelley Shepard Gray's books and both of those were present here.  Although the faith element wasn't strong.  Other themes I appreciated were second chances, not judging a person by their past, reconciliation, friendship and kindness.  

As I mentioned earlier, the book seemed a bit rough around the edges.  Going in I was expecting a suspense book. However, because the suspense part didn't happen until late in the book, I struggled to see where the book was going for the first half.  There were also some inconsistencies that bothered me.  For instance, at one point Jennifer was making a meal for Lincoln and then Lincoln left before eating it.  This wasn't shown to be done on purpose, but rather seemed like bad editing.  It was interesting to read the Acknowledgements at the end of the book where the author stated:

"Some books seem to write themselves, but this wasn't one of them.  For Edgewater Road, I needed as much help and support as I could get."

She also thanks several people for helping her "fine-tune the beginning of this book multiple times"

The second half of the book seemed to smooth out and come together.  I ended up liking the characters and appreciated the growth in them as well as the direction the story was going.  Overall, having enjoyed the author in the past and liking the story well enough, I look forward to reading the next book in the series and hope that some of the rough edges get smoothed out.

Quotes:

"Caroline was her mother. Had he expected her to want to move heaven and earth to be by her daughter's side? Yes.  Yes, he had.  Then again, life wasn't full of people wanting to step up all the time."



Monday, April 11, 2022

Book Review: Clause & Effect by Kaitlyn Dunnett

Clause & Effect (Deadly Edits, #2)Clause & Effect (Deadly Edits Mystery #2). Kaitlyn Dunnett.  Kensington (2019). 288 pages. Genre: Cozy Mystery.

First Line: "'Oh, no.  You're not roping me into this.'"

Summary:  Mikki Lincoln is settling into her life in Lenape Hollow.  She has a few clients, she has connected with old friends and she is getting to know her neighbors.  The board of directors of the historical society are planning a quasquibicentennial celebration including the reenactment of a historical pageant that was written and performed for the town's bicentennial.  The board would like Mikki to take a look at the script and update it.  She is reluctant because of the time it would take away from her own work, but finally agrees.

The only copy of the pageant is kept at the historical society, so Mikki must do her work on it there.  The historical society building is having some construction work done which makes it difficult to concentrate.  Part of a wall collapses and out rolls what appears to be human remains.  Since Mikki was an eyewitness to the accident, she is questioned by Detective Hazlett.  She also feels a connection to the unknown person who ended up in the wall.  Her work on the pageant gives her an excuse to begin asking some questions.  

My thoughts:  I really enjoy Kaitlyn Dunnett's writing style.  It is clever and crisp.  She includes the right balance of dialogue and description.  With this series she has created some very likeable characters.  

Mikki Lincoln has returned to the town she grew up in.  She left after high school and has only recently returned.  She is now in her seventies and was recently widowed.  She is realistic, funny and caring.  It has been fun to watch her renewed relationship with her best friend from high school grow and flourish.  Darlene Uberman and her husband, Frank, have welcomed Mikki into their lives.  Another friend from high school days that Mikki connects with is Ronnie North.  Here's how Mikki describes her relationship with Ronnie:

"In high school, when Ronnie was the bane of my existence, I had a tendency to shrink into myself or scuttle away rather than stand up to her bullying."

Keeping that in mind, it was great to see them interact so many years later.  Some things never change, but maturity allows Mikki to not only tolerate Ronnie, but actually begin to feel some camaraderie with her.  

The mystery of the body in the wall is not easy to make progress on.  After all, it is difficult to extract DNA from an old corpse.  But, small clues come up here and there as Mikki begins talking with people.  Detective Hazlett is a good detective and Mikki always fills him in on anything she learns.  In fact, he is okay with her asking questions because of the unique position she is in.  Once the pieces of the puzzle begin to come together the pace really picks up.  The culprit was a surprise and I loved the way it all wrapped up.

I really enjoyed the descriptions and bits of history about the Catskill region of New York.  The author lives in the area and that knowledge comes through in her writing.  An added bonus at the end of the story is a section titled, "A Random Selection from 'The Write Right Wright's Language and Grammar Tips' by Mikki Lincoln".  It includes some clever sentences using words often confused.  

I look forward to catching up with Mikki again in the next book.

Quotes: 

"'From your mouth to God's ear.' I was in a much better mood when I left the hospital room, in part because of Audrey's choice of words.  I hadn't heard that expression since I was a teenager.  It brought back a lot of good memories."

"My grandfather - not the one with an interest in family history, the other one - had always snacked on the same thing before he went to bed.  He crumbled a handful of saltines into a glass of milk and ate the result with a spoon."

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Book Review: Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen

Shadows of Swanford AbbeyShadows of Swanford Abbey. Julie Klassen. Bethany House (2021). 416 pages. Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Christian Fiction.

First Lines: "March 1820. Worcestershire, England. Miss Rebecca Lane quaked at the thought of returning to Swanford after more than a year's absence, even though her heart had never really left."

Summary: After receiving a concerning letter from her brother's housekeeper, Rebecca Lane is returning to her childhood home.  She has been traveling for over a year as a lady's companion to Lady Fitzhoward.  The Lady has asked to accompany her as she prefers to keep traveling. Rebecca's brother, John, is obsessed with getting his manuscript published and begs Rebecca to help him.  In order to do so, she must spend a few nights at Swanford Abbey Hotel. The Abbey has been rumored to be haunted and the idea frightens Rebecca.  

She reluctantly agrees to help her brother.  A famous author is staying at the Abbey and John believes if he can just get his manuscript into his hands, he will agree to publish it.  During her stay at the Abbey, Rebecca begins to notice strange things and is especially bothered by a figure in a black hooded cloak she sees gliding through the hallway.  On top of the strange things, she encounters Sir Frederick, currently a magistrate, previously a man who broke her heart.  When the author is found dead, Sir Frederick begins to question everyone at the hotel.  As much as he wants to believe Rebecca's story, things don't add up.  Will Rebecca have the courage to tell him the truth?

My thoughts:  Julie Klassen creates well drawn, deep characters in the span of a few pages.  She is a fan of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, the Brontes, Elizabeth Gaskell and Agatha Christie.  You can feel the influence of each in this story.

The reader is plunged right into the action with Rebecca, but we learn more and more about her as the layers are peeled back.  She was raised in the vicarage at Swanford, but left after her parents died.  Her brother, John, seemed unable to make a living, so she took a job as a lady's companion.  Rebecca is not one to complain, she enjoys her job, even though Lady Fitzhoward can be particular. She is deeply concerned about her brother and the bad choices he is making.  She is a woman who puts the needs of others before her own.  Sir Frederick's family were her neighbors when she was growing up and she was always fond of him.  When he married the beautiful Marina, Rebecca was heartbroken.  

Sir Frederick's past is slowly revealed as well.  The reader knows from the beginning that his wife died.  But the circumstances of her death come to us slowly.  There are rumors surrounding her death and Rebecca does her best not to believe them.  Sir Frederick is an honorable man.  He is staying at the hotel with his brother, Thomas, who is always looking for some fun and harasses Frederick regularly about not being more fun.  Thomas likes to flirt with pretty woman, play billiards and enjoy a cocktail.  He doesn't care whether those things are seen as improper or not.  However, Sir Frederick knows that he can count on his brother when he really needs him.  I enjoyed the relationship these two had. 

Several of the supporting characters were well drawn as well.  Lady Fitzhoward, the housekeeper Rose, Rebecca's brother John, some of the maids, the author and his bodyguard were all characters that had stories.  This really made the book come alive. 

As can be expected, the story has a gothic feel to it.  Rumors of haunting and hooded figures seen gliding in the hallways, as well as the setting of the Abbey all added to this atmosphere.  The mystery was complex.  There were plenty of suspects, but none of them seemed to really have opportunity to commit the murder.  It was fun to watch the pieces fit together.  There were lots of secrets that needed to be exposed and these all added to the character development as well.

The story was atmospheric, suspenseful and full of great characters.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Quotes:

"It was a beautiful spencer of patterned pink satin with a gathered waist, short, ruffled peplum, and bow at the back with long ends trimmed in pleating.  The spencer was topped by a matching cape-like collar with a high ruffled neck."

"Rebecca teased, 'Were you an actress too?'  The older woman arched a sly brow.  'Who among us is not?'"



Monday, April 4, 2022

Book Review: Plain Deception by Tara Randel

Plain Deception (Amish Inn Mysteries, # 2)Plain Deception (Amish Inn Mysteries #2). Tara Randel. Annie's (2016). 204 pages. Genre: Cozy Mystery.

First Line: "Liz Eckardt paused in her gleaming modern kitchen, the rich scent of freshly brewed coffee in the air and the happy sound of her bed-and-breakfast guests erupting in shared laughter."

Summary: Liz is settling into her new life as Innkeeper.  Her rooms are booked most weekends, she finds a lot of fulfillment in her duties at the Inn and she has made some new friends. When she has a few spare minutes, she likes to sit on a bench near the lilac bush.  On this particular morning, her time there is not so pleasant.  Her dog, Beans, has dug a giant hole near the bush.  Upon further inspection, Liz discovers he has uncovered what appears to be the remains of a human. Nearby, she discovers a plastic bag containing a old letter and photo.   The Inn is full of guests Liz does not want to alarm.  She does her best to be discreet in notifying the police. 

The letter is written by a woman named Emma, who is professing her undying love to an unknown man.  Liz can't stop thinking about the woman.  She gets permission from the Chief of police to take possession of the letter and photo.  In her quest to discover who Emma is, she enlists the help of a local historian.  Unfortunately, things are never as easy as we hope.  Liz only ends up with more questions and very few answers.  She does not give up easily.  While the police are investigating the identity of the bones, Liz digs deeper into the mystery of the lady in the picture. 

My thoughts: One of the things I like about this series is the way the Amish are incorporated into the story.  After discovering she has Amish heritage, Liz is eager to learn more about their way of life.  The Olde Mansion Inn is located in the heart of Amish country in Indiana.  Liz has made several Amish friends and I enjoy the role these characters play in the story.

Liz previously worked as a lawyer and finds many of the skills she learned in that field helpful in her new life as innkeeper. She is confident, kind and eager to make new friends. I appreciated how her investigations did not interfere with the police investigations. She does work closely with the Chief as she wants to clear up the mystery of the bones found on her property, but she doesn't attempt to take the investigation into her own hands. 

She has a great group of friends in the Material Girls, the quilting group that meets at the Inn.  They are a diverse group that really cares about Liz and each one contributes to the story.  Most of them are older than Liz and have lived in the area for many years.  They often are fonts of information and sometimes gossip. 

On her quest to solve the mystery of the woman in the photo, Liz is introduced to some new people in town.  One is a local expert in the field of genealogy, another specializes in history.  It was interesting to learn how each field contributed to finding the kind of information Liz was looking for. There was a lot to uncover to get to the bottom of the mysteries.  I had an idea who the culprit was in one case, but was completely taken by surprise in the other. 

Liz is developing a friendship (or maybe more) with mayor Jackson Cross.  I look forward to seeing how this develops in the future. It won't be long until I visit Pleasant Creek again to catch up with Liz and her friends. 



Friday, April 1, 2022

March Reading Wrap-Up

 


The month of March found me doing more traveling than reading.  My husband and I were able to take a trip that involved flying, driving, sightseeing and visiting.  We flew to Phoenix where we spent a couple of days with my mom and helped her close up her place for the summer.  She joined us as we drove her car from Phoenix to Utah.  What a beautiful drive that is!  We passed through the Sonoran Desert which was thick with Saguaro Cactus, then up into the pine forest region near Flagstaff.  From there our journey took us through the Navajo Nation and the Painted Desert.  Finally, we passed through the Bryce Canyon area of southern Utah with its red rock hoodoos (rock shaped spire formations). We spent several days in the Ogden area visiting our son.  Then it was the long drive back to Minnesota and Wisconsin.  We were fortunate that we had good driving weather.  

Unfortunately, I didn't do much reading when we are traveling.  For the month of March I read 7 books.  Here's the breakdown:

Mystery: 1
Cozy Mystery: 3
Suspense: 1
Non-fiction: 1
Christian Fiction: 1

Click on the link to see my review.

Mystery:

The Big Four















Cozy Mystery:

Arsenic and Adobo (Tita Rosie's Kitchen Mystery, #1)














The Highland Fling Murders (Murder, She Wrote, #8)














Plain Deception (Amish Inn Mysteries, # 2)

Plain Deception (Amish Inn Mysteries #2) by Tara Randel - review coming soon

Suspense:

Acceptable Risk (Danger Never Sleeps Book #2)














Non-fiction:

For Such a Time as This: My Faith Journey through the White House and Beyond














Christian Fiction:

Dearest Dorothy, Are We There Yet? (Dearest Dorothy, #1)















I hope you all had a great March!

~ Gretchen



I am linking up with The Monthly Wrap-Up Round-Up hosted by Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction and Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight. 


I'm also linking up with The Sunday Salon hosted by Deb @ Readerbuzz.