Wednesday, October 19, 2022

From the Overdue Shelf - The Bluebonnet Betrayal + Broken Bonds


Goodreads:  The Bluebonnet Betrayal (Potting Shed Mystery #5) by Marty Wingate

Blurb:  Pru’s life in England is coming full circle. A Texas transplant, she’s married to the love of her life, thriving in the plum gardening position she shares with her long-lost brother, and prepping a Chelsea Flower Show exhibit featuring the beloved bluebonnets of the Texas hill country. Technically, Twyla Woodford, the president of a gardening club in the Lone Star State, is in charge of the London event, but Pru seems to be the one getting her hands dirty. When they finally do meet, Pru senses a kindred spirit—until Twyla turns up dead.
Although Twyla’s body was half buried under a wall in their display, Pru remains determined to mount a spectacular show. Twyla would have insisted. So Pru recruits her husband, former Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse, to go undercover and do a bit of unofficial digging into Twyla’s final hours. If Pru has anything to say about it, this killer is going to learn the hard way not to mess with Texas.

My Thoughts:  I've seen a number of pictures and mentions about the Chelsea Flower Show but never fully realized what it was.  I very much enjoyed this behind the scenes look and was stunned by just how much goes into it.  Of course, I imagine in real life there's not a murder investigation going on right in the middle of everything.  It was an interesting twist that the murder happens in Pru's husband Christopher's old turf and the lead detective is someone he mentored but at the same time he doesn't have access to the inside information that he usually has.  It made for an interesting dynamic for the characters.  I enjoyed this one.  I like that the characters are a bit older and the mix of law enforcement and gardening.  This is a nice series and this was a nice read that kept me entertained even if it's not necessarily the most memorable.  Definitely a great choice for a series if you love gardening!  My Rating: Liked It! (3.5 Stars)

Goodreads: Broken Bonds by Karen Harper

Blurb:  Cold Creek is a place with a dark history, especially for the Lockwoods. Now adults, the three Lockwood sisters are still recovering from the events that led to the destruction of their family when they were children. Determined to move forward, Tess and Kate are making fresh starts, ready to put bad—even deadly—memories to rest and settle happily in the small but booming town. And they're hoping their older sister, Charlene, can do the same.
Char is back in town seeking comfort as she figures out her next move. A social worker used to difficult situations, she soon runs afoul of some locals who think she's sticking her nose where it doesn't belong. She's certain something sinister is being covered up, and when she witnesses Matt Rowan being run off the road, she knows she's right.

Working together, Matt and Char figure uncovering the truth will be dangerous, but living in Cold Creek won't be safe for any of them until its secrets are revealed.

My Thoughts:  I love romantic suspense so I was looking forward to this one.  It is the 3rd book in the Cold Creek series but it can easily be read as a stand alone.  That said it didn't quite live up to my expectations.  For starters there's a lot going on.  It starts out with a bang with Matt being run off the road and Char rescuing him but from there the pacing slows down dramatically.  Is the cause connected to fracking? and if so is the pro-fracking or the against fracking camp?  If not could it be the local cult? Could it have just been random?  The list goes on.  What also doesn't help is it felt like the characters spoke in great speeches at each other.  If Char could bring her passion for working with children and their families into a conversation (which is a noble passion) she did and a bit melodramatically.  It got to be a bit much.  By the last 3/4 or so the pace picked up and I did really want to see how the book ended but that said I wasn't sorry to see the book end.  I don't think this author's writing style is for me.  My Rating: Just Okay (2 Stars)


  1. Both are terrific review. I like The Bluebonnet Betrayal, it sounds like a book for me. I love that it shows an inside look into the Chelsea Flower Show.

  2. I have not read Karen Harper before but have always wanted to try her work. Too bad this one wasn't great for you.

  3. Hmm don't think I've read Karen Harper - and I may not! Interesting setting in the Chelsea Flower Show, that would bring interest for gardeners alright.