Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Overdue Reviews - The Bride's Sister + Murder at Barclay Meadow


Goodreads:  The Bride's Sister (Goswell #3) by Kate Hewitt

Blurb:  England, 1868: Orphaned and penniless, 18-year-old Sarah is left the sole guardian of her beloved little sister Lucy – who she’s vowed to protect at all costs. With nowhere left to turn, she is forced to accept mysterious widower James Mills’ proposal of marriage.
She believes being his bride can’t possibly be as bad as the threat of the workhouse. But nothing prepares her for the darkness of her marriage, the shocking secrets of her new family and for the lengths she will have to go to keep her sister safe…

Now: Living in the beautiful village of Goswell, Ellen believes her family life to be idyllic… until her estranged seventeen-year-old stepdaughter Annabelle moves in and shatters the peace. Ellen fears they will never bond, until she finds a death certificate – for a woman named Sarah, from over a century earlier – hidden under the floorboards of their house, and Annabelle starts to help her unravel the mystery.

Yet as Ellen and Annabelle dig deeper into Sarah’s life and death, shocking truths, both past and present, come to light which change everything Ellen thought she knew about Sarah’s family – and the new addition to her own…

My Thoughts:  This one broke my heart a bit.  Sarah's story is such a hard one with very little relief.  I couldn't help but like her and sympathize with her as she struggles to make the best of her circumstances time and time again.  While Ellen's circumstances are nowhere near as grim she does find herself in the middle of a tough transition with no support even when everything feels like it's falling apart.  I really liked Ellen even though at times her attitude frustrated me a little.  She's in a tough situation and isn't always behaving perfectly but at the same time is receiving very little support from her husband.   This is the third book that takes place in the small town of Goswell and I was glad to see a few familiar characters though this is a true stand alone.  Hewitt made the characters really come alive and they have stuck with me long after I finished the book.  My Rating:  Really Liked It (4 Stars)

Goodreads:  Murder at Barclay Meadow by Wendy Sand Eckel

Blurb:  Rosalie Hart’s world has been upended. After her husband confesses to an affair, she exiles herself to her late aunt’s farmhouse on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. With its fields untended and the house itself in disrepair, Barclay Meadow couldn’t be more different than the tidy D.C. suburb she used to call home. Just when Rosalie feels convinced things couldn’t get any worse, she finds a body floating in her marsh grasses. When the sheriff declares the death an accident, she becomes suspicious. The dead girl, Megan, reminds her of her own daughter, and she feels a responsibility to find out the truth.
Rosalie confides her doubts to her friends in her creative writing class, and they ask to join her investigation, beginning the search in earnest. Meanwhile, Rosalie works on restoring Barclay Meadow to its former glory—with help from the rugged Tyler Wells, a farmer who once leased the land. When Rosalie discovers her aunt’s favorite bread recipe on a yellowed index card, she begins baking, and with her deep love for nourishing others rekindled, she starts to feel alive again. But as she zeroes in on the truth about what happened to Megan, she begins getting ominous threats. Determined to get justice for Megan and protect the new home she’s begun to build for herself, Rosalie races to catch the killer in this deftly plotted and heartwarming debut perfect for fans of Jessica Beck and Carolyn Hart.

My Thoughts:  I didn't care for this book.  On the surface there is a lot of my favorite things - an old house, a woman starting over, and the formation of a team to solve the mystery.  Unfortunately, this just didn't work for me.  I never connected to Rosalie or the other characters which made it hard to keep them all straight.  While liking every character isn't a requirement I do want to at least have some connection to the main character.  The tone and language was a bit darker than I usually see in a cozy but didn't have the pace that I would prefer in a thriller making this not quite work in either genre.  After about 30% I just found I didn't care about the characters or the mystery.  My Rating:  Not For Me (DNF - 30%)


  1. The first sounds good (I've read a couple of previous books by Hewitt). I think I'll skip the second (appreciate your thoughts!).
    Mary @Bookfan

  2. Too bad about Murder at Barclay Meadow; but when a book's not working for you that's definitely the time to DNF it!

  3. I'm sorry the second book wasn't good for you. It looked good.

  4. It is always best to DNF when a book isn't working for you. The Bride's Sister sounds like a great read.

  5. I have some Hewitt books marked to read. Funny another blogger I follow doesn't like her historical but likes her contemps. I lean more toward contemporary but not averse to an historical either.

  6. Aww that's too bad. You can't waste time reading a book you're not connecting with

  7. The Bride's Sister sounds very good! 📗