Rated 2.5 of 5 stars
So this book was a difficult read for me. I must admit, I did a lot of skimming because the dialogue or the story just didn’t resonate with me. So here’s a little about the story… the setting takes place at an English mansion that was once dilapidated but has now been renovated into a hotel. Oxley Manor, an estate owned by a patriarch interested in horse racing, is the place where family and friends convened to spend summers together. One summer there are disappearances of two people that cause the crew to disband for many years. Sara Medlar, a retired bestselling novelist and financier of the Oxley Manor renovation, invites everyone back to the manor to engage in her own investigation of the mystery. This is where I started to question things in the novel, like…why? Lol. She brings her niece and friend Jack along to help her. The three, Kate, Sara and Jack, all meet the old crew from Oxley Manor’s old days and tries to question them to find what they believe is a killer in their midst.
I struggled with this novel for several reasons. The characterization was very superficial for me and therefore, I didn’t identify with anyone at halfway through the book. I also thought Sara was a strange characterization where she was so much older but acted like a very young person in speech and in activity. Jack was not endearing but I think he was meant to be as well as Kate who stood as nothing more than a blank sheet of paper to jot down what she questioned people on. I had no connection at all to any characters. Also, the alternating storylines between past and present threw me off a bit. I just wanted to know what was happening in the present and let the secrets come out where they may. Even one of the characters of the book said “show, don’t tell” which is a writer prompt and took me out of the story a bit as if the author was trying to explain to the readers why she was doing a flashback before doing it. In the end, the dialog was not my favorite and I scanned over a lot of rambling conversations, flirtations and the like in order to get to something of substance. The twist at the end was good but getting there didn’t make it quite worth it for me.
I’d recommend this book for those that like cozy mysteries as it fits that genre better than mystery/thriller. You’ll get a lot of banter, gossip, flirtation and sidebar conversation as you work your way through the mystery.
Raging Book Reviews
*Special thanks to #NetGalley @netgalley and #Harlequin #MIRA for the ebook to review.