I was pleasantly surprised to discover this series was still going. I had heard book #12 was suppose to have been the last. Not only was a thirteenth novel released last year but book #14 is due to be published at some point this year.
I wasn't feeling as excited for book #14 by the time I reached the end of 13. Like so many series, I think this one is starting to run dry. This book took a step backwards from what made the previous novels so good. Normally these books are four star reads for me. The lack of focus on the primary characters took this book from four starts to three.
The story surrounding the visiting abbots just didn't work for me. I can only read about how evil women are so many times before I start to get annoyed. I understand that this was the attitude at the time (and even still to some extent) but I don't need to be beat over the head with it. I get it. Women are the reason we were all expelled from Eden. They are all whores who only exist to attempt to drive all men to the Devil. I don't need to be reminded of this every other page.
Prioress Eleanor has always had to deal with adversity, whether it be due to her age (at the beginning of the series) or her gender. The manner in which she deals with such adversity is part of what makes these books such good reads. There was none of this Eleanor present in this book. Instead we are presented with a Prioress Eleanor who borders on whiny.
I missed the quick-witted, sassy Sister Anne. While Sister Anne is never really a "primary" character, she is always a welcome addition to any story. She provides a fresh breath and comic relief to a time and setting that can be rather bleak. This Sister Anne was non-existent.
I still appreciated this book for what the previous novels have been, a quick and enjoyable journey into medieval England. I am going to continue on with the series in hopes that the next novel is capable of capturing some of the enchantment of the previous novels.
Homage to Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None (10 Little Indians). Follows the original very well. Who would want to kill a nun? Why? As Bea and the rest of the Literary Ladies look for clues, Bea's secret comes out as does Levi's. I enjoyed this story. Chandra is as crazy as ever and the reason is a hoot. Hank trusts the Literary Ladies and they do what they do best. I liked the librarians who were staying at Bea's. Well done. I look forward to reading the next book.
Suffering from a broken engagement, Jesse Graham has left Rochester for the North Lakes area of New York, taking a job at the local nun-run school and living in the Cavanaugh house, a place left to her by her deceased aunt Helen. Arriving there, she first has to make the house livable and Joe Riley is there to offer a helping hand, and perhaps more if Jesse is interested. Secrets about her aunt Helen and her own past start to emerge and someone doesn’t want those secrets brought to light. Jesse is in danger.
This was a very slow paced book. It takes quite some time to get to any part of the mystery. Set in 1968, much of the story and phrases used are quaint. For some, this might bring up nostalgia. For me, this book felt much longer than it actually was and it took me some time to become engaged in the story. Still, it is written with skill and care.
Being equal parts mystery and romance, let’s start with the romance. It was a slow burn as well. Jesse moves to this small town and immediately more than one available man is interested in dating her. Joe is the first one to show interest and is the son of Susan, her aunt Helen’s best friend from all those years ago. Then there’s Marty, a police officer. There’s also Al, a son of the local prominent and wealthy family. It felt a little cliched to have all the local bachelors vying for the new girl’s hand at the dance. This part of the story held little interest for me.
As to the mystery, it was pretty straight forward. I almost want to say that this book wasn’t so much a mystery as it was a tale of Jesse discovering herself. It was painfully obvious what the big secret was about Helen. Also once we meet Al, it also seemed obvious what the second half of that mystery had in store. So for me, it felt that Jesse’s journey to the discovery of the truths about her family and her past were the important part.
My favorite parts of the story were Maggie, who is Sister Angelina. The nuns doing every day things like baseball and playing cards was great. Maggie’s friendship sees Jesse through the worst of her ordeals. Also, I really liked the haunted house aspect of the tale, with Helen’s ghost being the source of the haunting.
I received a free copy of this book via The Audiobookworm.
The Narration: Amy McFadden did an awesome job narrating this book. She always sounded engaged and she had distinct voices for all the characters. Her male voices were quite believable. She did a good job with the sometimes corny humor, making it seem natural and funny.
All the secrets are out in this one; all the dancing around the past that Bea and her love interest, Levi, have been doing for three previous books comes to an end and the seltzer hits the fan, so to speak.
While this drama unfolds, Bea is helping out a neighbour in need by supplying meals to a group of 10 nuns staying on the island for a retreat, and one of Bea's closest friends starts acting oddly confrontational to the rest of the League of Literary Ladies.
Bea's having a rough week, but the most interesting part of the book is the mystery. Perhaps it's my Catholic school history, but I can't believe you can go wrong with nuns. There is so much ground for the busting of preconceived notions. The only reason I didn't find the plotting perfect was the inevitability of the guilty party being attached to Bea; that was disappointing.
Chandra's reason for her weird behaviour was blatantly obvious from the beginning, so as a sub-plot it was a non-starter for me. As for Bea and Levi - I didn't have any hopes of seeing a romantic interlude between them, so I wasn't disappointed.
A fun series I hope to see continued.