Book Review: ‘The Christmas Will’ by A.S. McGowan

An enjoyable historical fiction with mystery and a hint of romance.

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Set in Chicago and Boston in the 1860s, ‘The Christmas Will’ is the story of Ester Woods, who rises above prejudice and discrimination only to have it follow her. It is a story that explores the lot of women in pre-Civil War America, where men made the rules and women bore the consequences, yet it is also a story that celebrates the free thinking women who stood up against such strictures and embraced their intelligence and talents, and who dared to hope for more than just being someone’s wife. 

As an Australian, I found some of the grammar and word choices awkward, although I know that the author has followed accepted patterns of American English, so I was determined to not allow it to detract from the story that was being told.  I would, however, encourage the author to have non-Americans among her editorial team or beta readers, so that matters of local usage are less distracting for readers who are accustomed to more international patterns and usage of English.

 This is an enjoyable read. I do appreciate the way in which the author has blended elements of historical fiction and  mystery to make the story complex and intriguing.


‘The Christmas Will’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

 Find your copy here

Book Review: ‘January Black Ice’ by Carol Ann Kauffman

An excellent little mystery story.

Carol Ann Kauffman Cat Collier 1It is a skilful writer indeed who can captivate a reader, transport them to a new place and situation, introduce them to new people,, and then hold them there throughout the story. Carol Ann Kauffman is one such writer. Having been impressed by her writing style when reading her fantasy novella ‘Red Sarah’, which I enjoyed immensely, I was keen to pick up another of her works.

‘January Black Ice’ is a delightful, feel-good cozy mystery. The story is really well written. It flows easily, has great variation in pace and tone where it’s needed, and maintains a high level of engagement between the readers and the characters through tense and relaxed moments alike.

Kauffman writes lively, likeable characters whose stories intertwine in such a way that the reader thinks it’s going to be a romance until the mystery bursts onto the page in front of them, seamlessly turning the story in a new direction for local journalist Cat and for Carter, the mysterious new guy in town.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I’m pleased to see that there are more titles in the series. I’m definitely looking forward to spending more time with Cat Collier. Acorn Award I Golden

This excellent little mystery has been awarded a Gold Acorn.

Get your copy here.

Book Review: ‘Cherry Pie or Die’ by CeeCee James

A mystery that keeps the reader guessing right to the end is always a great discovery to make.

CeeCee James Baker Street 1 Cherry Pie or DieA mystery that keeps the reader guessing right to the end is always a great discovery to make.

‘Cherry Pie Or Die’ is a cozy mystery with a great cast of characters, each of whom is carrying some relics of their own past while on a tour of historic sites in Pennsylvania. None are immediately obvious suspects, while the clues appear to make no sense at all. Georgie Tanner is a well-crafted and complex main character: likeable, smart, and flawed enough to allow the reader to both empathise with her and want to know more of her own story.

With deft strokes, the author draws the threads of the story together without giving too much away, and the reader keeps puzzling away while looking over Georgie’s shoulder.

By the end of the story, the reader feels right at home at the Baker St B&B, and is keen to return for the next mystery. I will definitely be back for another visit.
Acorn Award II Silver

‘Cherry Pie or Die’ has been awarded a Silver Acorn.

Find your copy here.