"Masterfully weaves a Southern world of believable characters and keeps readers flipping pages with this dreamy one-nighter." That's actually a quote from Southern Literary Review. They were reviewing The Peach Keeper, a novel by one of my favorite authors, Sarah Addison Allen. However, they could just as easily be describing Pies and Prejudice, the first mystery in Ellery Adams' Charmed Pie Shoppe series. Adams has managed to capture the flavors, the scents, the sensory impressions of magical realism novels, and packaged it in the form of a mystery. Pies and Prejudice is a delectable story.
After catching her husband in a compromising position in an elevator, Ella Mae LeFaye fled home to Havenwood, Georgia, returning to the women who raised and loved her. Although she and her mother barely spoke after Ella Mae married, her mother, Adelaide, along with Adelaide's sisters, Delia, Verena, Cecelia, and Adelaide's housekeeper, Reba, welcomed her with open arms, and encouraged her dream. When Ella Mae was upset, or happy, or blue, she baked pies. And, the family had found the perfect location for the bakery Ella Mae would call The Charmed Pie Shoppe, charmed because Ella Mae's emotions somehow found their way into her pies, and affected the people who ate them.
But, Ella Mae's old nemesis Loralyn Gaynor had wanted that property. And, the threat Ella Mae directs at Loralyn in response to her enemy's taunt comes back to haunt her. When Loralyn's fiancé,, Bradford Knox, ends up dead with a rolling pin as the weapon, people in town remembered what Ella Mae said. Suddenly, she was a murder suspect on the eve of the opening of her shop. When she's taken away in a police car, it's easy for her to believe she's lost the chance to impress Hugh Dylan, the man she's had a crush on for years.
But, the LeFaye women are nothing if not strong and determined. Ella Mae's attorney suggests she "might want to puzzle out who holds a grudge against Mr. Knox." And, she takes that to heart, finding a way to meet some of the wealthy thoroughbred owners Knox associated with as their veterinarian. It isn't long before Ella Mae realizes someone evil is lurking in Havenwood. And, someone seems to have Ella Mae set up as the perfect murder suspect.
Pies and Prejudice is truly a magical book. It's impossible to read this without accepting the unusual talents of the LeFaye women. Ella Mae isn't the only one in the family with unusual gifts, although it takes her a while to identify the abilities of the other women in her circle. Readers who can accept and appreciate these gifts, and the strong women characters in this book, will find the story enchanting. Pies and Prejudice is an excellent mystery, however, Adams also manages to tap into stories and legends as a basis for the book.
This book has a wonderful cast of characters and a solid mystery. The series has so much potential. Pies and Prejudice just sparkles with magic.One of the workmen who renovated Ella Mae's bakery understood the power of magical realism, the power of life. "This shop'll let you know who's right. It was just waiting for you to come along and fill it up with folks talking and laughing and enjoying home-cooked food. This is going to be a merry place, the heart of the town....You brought it to life, Ella Mae, and now it's going to bring you to life."
Ellery Adams' Pies and Prejudice glows with life, characters, and a richness that is so desirable in a story. It's a book that will entice your senses, and leave you hoping for another book just as entrancing.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
I will not review self-published books, and, at the present time, do not accept books in e-book format.
1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea: A Counting Book
Book: 1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea: A Counting Book Author: Dianne Moritz Illustrator: Hazel Mitchell Pages: 36 Age Range: 3-6 1, 2, 3 ... By the Sea is a nice lit...
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.