Monday, October 17, 2016

Review: Arsenic with Austen by Katherine Bolger Hyde

Description (from cover):

'When Emily Cavanaugh inherits a fortune from her great aunt, she expects her life to change. She doesn't expect to embark on a murder investigation, confront the man who broke her heart 35 years before, and nearly lose her own life.

Emily travels to the sleepy coastal village of Stony Beach, Oregon, to claim her inheritance, centered in a beautiful Victorian estate called Windy Corner but also including a substantial portion of the real estate of the whole town. As she gets to know the town's eccentric inhabitants--including her own once-and-possibly-future love, Sheriff Luke Richards--she learns of a covert plan to develop Stony Beach into a major resort. She also hears hints that her aunt may have been murdered. Soon another suspicious death confirms this, and before long Emily herself experiences a near-fatal accident.

Meanwhile, Emily reads Persuasion, hoping to find belated happiness with her first love as Anne Elliot did with Captain Wentworth. She notices a similarity between her not-quite-cousin Brock Runcible, heir to a smaller portion of her aunt's property, and Mr. Elliot in Persuasion, and her suspicions of Brock crystallize. But as she and Luke continue to investigate and events speed towards a climax, Emily realizes that underneath the innocent-looking rocks of Stony Beach lurk festering jealousies that would have shocked even the worst of Jane Austen's charming reprobates.'

My thoughts:

This is the first installment in a new cozy mystery series set in a small coastal town in Oregon. Emily Cavanaugh is a literature professor in Seattle who has reached the end of her rope with her career. She is not happy and is starting to feel burned out and wants more from life. Her husband passed away a few years ago and she is ready for something different. She is surprised to learn that her aunt has passed away and left the majority of her vast estate to her. Emily travels to Stony Beach, Oregon to handle her aunt's affairs and she falls in love again with the small coastal town of her childhood summers.

Emily is surprised to learn how vast her aunt's estate was and to find out that she is now a very wealthy woman who will never have to work again. She meets her strange cousin, Brock, who inherited a smaller portion of her aunt's estate and immediately takes a dislike to him. He is greedy for money and that is not who Emily is. She also meets the mayor of Stony Beach and a real estate agent who both want her to sell her aunt's property and help them with developing the small town into a more beach resort destination. Emily is immensely opposed to their plans and she soon has a target on her back. On top of all of this, she learns that her aunt died under mysterious circumstances and it appears that she had been murdered. 

This book was a good start to a new series that I hope that I will continue to read in the future. I really enjoyed Emily's character. She is wealthy, but she doesn't let her new-found wealth determine who she is. She is really down to earth and has no plans to change. The book was a little slow in places and a little too fast in others, but I am hoping that now the author has laid all of the ground work and that the next installment will be just right.

Overall Rating: 3

Title:  Arsenic with Austen
Author:  Katherine Bolger Hyde
Series:  Crime with the Classics Mystery #1
Publisher:  Minotaur Books
Publication Date:  July 12, 2016
Pages:  320
Genre:  Cozy Mystery
Get It:  Amazon; Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer: This book was given to me by the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for my honest review. I reviewed this book without compensation of any kind. All thoughts and opinions are solely mine.

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