Friday, December 11, 2015

(2) Quick Christmas Book Reviews - A Newport Christmas Wedding and Shadows on a Maine Christmas

William Morrow-2015

A short novella which takes place in one of my favorite places, the mansions of Newport, Rhode Island at Christmastime.  

As Meri Calder-Hollis prepares to marry a longtime friend Alden Corrigan, wedding day jitters become reality, as Meri wonders if her impending marriage is doomed to fail even before it begins. Can she possibly be a good step-mother to Alden's teenage children Nora and Lucas? With Lucas at boarding school, Nora is sure that the newlyweds won't want her around as they begin their new life.  Lot's of drama, but as you would expect everything works out in the end.  The festivities and imagery of Christmas and wedding preparations were appealing to me, but the drama less so.  This short novella is part of a series set in Newport, RI, which I wasn't aware of before beginning this one, however, it was still a fun, quick book that can easily be read by itself.

3/5 stars

Perseverance Press - 2014

Shadows on a Maine Christmas is a series book (#7 in the series). I read the first couple of books in this cozy mystery series years ago and now jumped to #7 without any issues.  The protagonist, Maggie Summers deals antique art prints.  Each chapter begins with the title of one of her prints and a nice detailed description.  For example:

Chapter 3 

A Winter Morning - Shoveling Out.  Wood engraving by Winslow Homer (1836-1910), major American nineteenth-century artist, for newspaper Every Sturday, January 14, 1871.  Three members of family outside their snow-covered home standing in a path perhaps four feet deep.  The two men are digging with wooden shovels; the woman is throwing seeds or crumbs to birds on top of the drifted snow.  9 x 11.75 inches. Price: $400.

In this installment Maggie, who lives in New Jersey, has come to Maine to spend Christmas with her romantic interest, Will and his great aunt Nettie who is in her 90's.  While the couple and friends and neighbors prepare for Christmas parties and time together, both Will and Maggie need to squeeze in time to share some big news of their own that will surprise the other.  Finding alone time isn't easy with all the celebrating and to complicate matters more, a woman who helps take care of one of Aunt Nettie's friends is found dead and the murdered needs to be found. What was the motive and who is responsible?

This is a cozy mystery that has an awful lot going on and it tackled some controversial topics as well.  It's been a number of years since I've read this series, but I felt Maggie came across as very insecure.  I liked the first half of the story but, I was a bit disappointed that the author chose a cozy Christmas mystery as a venue for a topic that will push the hot buttons (the abortion issue) of some readers.

2.5/5 stars


  1. I am sorry Shadows on a Maine Christmas was not better for you. I haven't read any books in the series. I bet I would like A Newport Christmas Wedding.

  2. Tis the season, even if these weren't all that jolly!

  3. You remind me I really must start watching all the Christmas movies that are on! But I don't see you mentioning kleenex - usually an integral part of reading and watching Christmas stuff! :--)

  4. Love RI!. Both of these are new to me series.


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