I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Author: Victoria Gilbert
Series: A Booklovers B&B Mystery, Book #1
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publish Date: August 11, 2020
This book is perfect for those that like: Classic Literature, Neighbors with Secrets, and Gorgeous Scenic Descriptions.
You might not like this book if you aren’t into: Infidelity, Book Snobs, or Detailed Descriptions of Cookies and Drinks.
From Goodreads: Nestled in the historic waterfront town of Beaufort, North Carolina, Chapters Bed-and-Breakfast is a reader’s paradise. Built in 1770, the newly renovated inn hosts a roster of special events celebrating books, genres, and authors. It’s the perfect literary retreat–until a rare book dealer turns up dead in the carriage house during a celebration of Golden Age mystery author Josephine Tey.
The victim’s daughter points the finger at forty-two-year-old widow and former schoolteacher Charlotte Reed, who inherited the B&B from her great-aunt Isabella. Charlotte is shocked to discover that the book dealer suspected Isabella of being a thief who founded Chapters on her ill-gotten gains. Charlotte has successfully learned the B&B business in a year, but nothing has prepared her to handle a death on the premises.
Armed with intelligence and courage and assisted by her vibrant older neighbor, a visiting author, and members of a local book club, Charlotte is determined to prove her innocence and to clear her great-aunt’s name. But the murderer is still at large, and equally determined to silence anyone who might discover the truth behind the book dealer’s death. Now, Charlotte must outwit an unknown killer–or end up writing her own final chapter.
Here’s the thing with Booked for Death— on paper, it was perfect. Small town cozy mystery? Yes! A Book Themed Small Town Cozy Mystery? BEST. A Book Themed Small Town Cozy Mystery with a Rare Book Dealer?? AMAZING because my husband is an actual rare book dealer! And yet, I found myself, well, kinda hating the lead character, Charlotte.
Charlotte has inherited Chapters, a bed and breakfast located in Beaufort, North Carolina, and in the short year she’s been owner, she’s secured a regular clientele and has hosted themed events for the community. This has all the makings of the perfect cozy set-up, offering the reader a built-in quirky community surrounding the lead character, except, in this case, Charlotte almost seemed like she really didn’t like any of her guests all that much. She was in constant judgment of almost everyone, including her own staff. In the beginning, I chalked it up to her being a bit closed off as we get to know her and her past, but her character never really opened up beyond a straightforward retelling of how her husband died (which honestly left me speechless). I’m hoping that Charlotte will grow over time and perhaps settle into her surroundings a bit in this series? Maybe start to trust people again? Not that I need all my cozy mystery heroines to be super sweet and nice to everyone (I do love a messy protagonist) but in this case, Charlotte just came off as bitter.
That being said, I will say that the attention to detail in this book was second to none. The descriptions of Beaufort and Fort Macon were obviously well researched and made me feel like I was actually there. I also enjoyed the mystery itself, even though the hints that were left for the reader to gather gave me an indication pretty early on of who did it and why it was still fun to watch the big reveal unfold. My favorite part of this book though, hands down, was Ellen, Charlotte’s neighbor, and sleuthing partner. Her character legit took me on a RIDE and I want to read more about her, please and thank you.
Overall, despite my initial feelings on Charlotte, I do hope the series continues and I won’t hesitate to read the next one.
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