Sunday, April 4, 2010

Saturday Book Review (A Day Late)

Yesterday I did a jewelry show by myself (The Husband had to work) and I was pretty wiped out. So here’s the scoop on a book I read this week:

Fatal Fixer Upper by Jennie Bentley

Avery Baker inherits a rundown Victorian house from her Aunt Inga, a relative she barely remembers. The house is in Waterfield, Maine, a far cry from her life as a fabric designer in New York City. Originally intending to sell the house, she discovers that she could get twice as much for it if she does some renovations. After the unexpected break up of a love affair with her boss, Avery decides to spend the summer in Maine, renovating with the help of Derek Ellis, a hunky home repair man. That decision leads to a mystery involving a missing college professor, Marie Antoinette’s furniture and a robbery committed in 1934.

This book reads like a romance in some sections and I have to wonder if Jennie Bentley started with Harlequin. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing, just that it makes Avery sound a little girlish and gives the book itself a fluffy feel. The mystery part of the book I thought was written well and the complications presented an array of would be killers/thieves that kept you guessing. The climax shows Avery as a resourceful and strong woman who holds her own.

As usual with books that I’m drawn to, this series has a likable cast, starting with Avery and Derek. Avery’s first friend in town, B&B owner Kate McGillicutty, has an outgoing personality and sparkling humor. Her boyfriend is the town sheriff, Wayne Rasmussen, a calm personality who’s no small town hick. The character you love to hate is local realtor Melissa James. Don’t want to tell too much about her--she has too many connections that would be giving away parts of the plot. And then there’s Jemmy and Inky, Aunt Inga’s self-reliant cats, who occasionally appear for their dinners.

Home renovation and design tips are included at the end of each book (Spackled and Spooked and the most recent, Plaster and Poison). I took a cursory look but I don’t usually take a lot of time with recipes and things like this, except when they’re written into the book, like the Domestic Bliss articles in the Leslie Caine series.

I see that my library has the next two in this series, so when I finish a few books I have at home (right now I’m reading No Sleep Till Wonderland, which is turning out to be just as good as last weeks review, The Little Sleep), I’m hoping to pick those up.

Do What You Love!


Jennie Bentley said...

Thanks for reviewing the book, sweetie. I'm glad you liked it reasonably well. And just for the record, no, I didn't start with Harlequin. I've never written anything but mysteries. Not that there's anything wrong with writing romance. I have many friends who do, and do it well; it's just not something that comes naturally to me. Hope you don't mind the clarification.

Bear Chick said...

Hi Jennie--

Didn't mind the clarification at all. Hope you didn't mind the mention of the romance-centric sub-plot. I have a friend who writes romances and it's put both her kids through college! I really am looking forward to the next two DIY books.