Having traded in her career as a successful investigative journalist for the life of a stay-at-home mum in picturesque Cumberland Creek, Virginia, Annie can’t help but feel that something’s missing. But she finds solace in a local “crop circle” of scrapbookers united by chore-shy husbands, demanding children, and occasional fantasies of their former single lives. And when the quiet idyll of their small town is shattered by a young mother’s suicide, they band together to find out what went wrong…Annie resurrects her reporting skills and discovers that Maggie Rae was a closet scrapbooker who left behind more than a few secrets – and perhaps a few enemies. As they sift through Maggie Rae’s mysteriously discarded scrapbooks, Annie and her “crop” sisters begin to suspect that her suicide may have been murder. It seems that something sinister is lurking beneath the town’s beguilingly calm facade – like a killer with unfinished business…
Review: This book took me awhile to warm up to and even when it was finished I really had to think whether I liked it or not. It had promise but really never got there and was choppy in places. There were too many characters and murder suspects which made it hard to feel a connection.
Annie, one of the main characters who had lived in Cumberland Creek only for a year after relocating with her family from Maryland, became the “star” of the show. On the night she was going to her first scrapbooking party, it was cancelled due to a stabbing. But off she went to the hospital to wait with the others since all the scrapbookers would be there giving moral support to Vera, the daughter of the stabbing victim and also one of the scrapbookers. Annie flawlessly became not only part of the group, as if she always was, but also the leader at times. She also took a lot of chances that being a mom of two young children, plus new to the area seemed unlikely. She was also the only non-Christian of the group and they played up the religious aspect as well – not always in a nice way. The detective in charge of the investigations – there were a few mysteries going on at once – also fed her a lot of information which seemed surprising since she was resurrecting her journalism career by writing some articles about it as a freelancer.
All in all I didn’t find this a “cozy” mystery at all. There wasn’t a romance and there wasn’t any laughter or tears from me. I felt the story ended abruptly but we will continue to be exposed to the lives of the characters since it’s the start of a new series. The book had a two chapter excerpt from it which tried to hook me from the opening pages. I will try to give the next book by Bryan a chance, but if the storytelling doesn’t improve I won’t go past book two.
Favorite Quote: “By the way, did they fin out who stabbed you, dear?” Beatrice’s stomach sank. She’d never get over it – being intentionally hurt by someone in her community. Who would do such a thing?
“No, but it happened the same day as Maggie Rae’s murder. And the brilliant Cumberland Creek police think there’s a link,” she replied.