It’s the middle of November and that means new novels that take place around the Christmas season are starting to be published. I just finished one that is an enjoyable combination of some Virginia history and some Christmas traditions. The historical information was interesting without being overwhelming. I never felt like I was reading a history book, but I still learned some things about Virginia and our Founding Fathers.
The Christmas descriptions were just enough to make you think about hanging a stocking or putting a wreath on the door without feeling like you were being beaten over the head with decorations. It was just enough to get you started thinking in that direction without feeling like you were going to pull your hair out if they played one more Christmas song. I love Christmas, but I like to breathe in between some of the carols, and baking, and decorating and,…you get the idea. So, if you’re looking for a book that is entertaining, check out my review. As I point out, it’s longer on history and decorating than on the mystery, but it’s still well written and entertaining.
The Angel’s Share by Ellen Crosby is the tenth in the Wine Country Mystery series. The story stands on its own and can be read without having read the previous books in the series. However, the reader may feel a little lost trying to sort out the secondary characters and their relationship to Lucie, the central character in the book. If you plan on reading the series, it is probably advisable to read them in order so that you can understand as relationships develop.
This book is long on historic information regarding the founding fathers without feeling like a history book. There is enough information for a reader’s interest to become piqued and for them to decide to do further reading on their own. There were some facts and interesting actions that are historically accurate which were new to me, which is always a bonus when reading a book.
There was also a fair amount of “Christmas” feel to the book. This came from both the discussion of decorations for the winery Lucie owns and the town celebration she attends toward the end of the book. If you are looking for something that might ease you into the holiday spirit, this book might do the trick. There is enough here to whet your appetite without being so overwhelming you feel engulfed.
Where the book is lacking is in the mystery itself; or rather the solving of the mystery. The murder is a variation of a “locked room” murder and suspects abound. Where the book comes up short is in the lack of clues and red herrings that will allow the reader to feel as if they are working to solve the murder as they read the book. Instead, there is plenty of information about the area, the people in the book, etc. but no solid evidence beyond one fact early in the novel. In the end, the solution is simply presented when Lucie and the murderer confront one another.
The book is well written with good character development, excellent descriptions of place and interesting information that has been thoroughly researched. All of these factors combine to provide an enjoyable read, just not the best mystery in my experience. It’s certainly worth reading, particularly if you want to get a taste for the season and add some interesting historical facts to your knowledge base. My thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced digital read copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased review.
Now I’m going to head back to the kitchen and check supplies. It may just be time to start thinking about what I need to buy to do a little baking in the near future. Happy Reading