Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Bel, Book, and Scandal by Maggie McConnon

I wish I could tell when authors are ending a series or ending a storyline. This is the second book I read in three days that might be doing either. Maggie McConnon does end a three book arc in Bel, Book, and Scandal. There was a shocking conclusion, but the series could go on. We'll see.

For three books and fifteen years, chef Belfast McGrath has been wondering what happened to her childhood best friend Amy Mitchell. Because Bel came home without Amy on a party night when they were eighteen, the town of Foster's Landing has always looked on Bel with suspicion. Did Bel know what really happened? That suspicion drove Bel away from home, but when her relationship and her professional reputation crashed all on one night, she returned to Shamrock Manor, the Irish wedding center owned by her parents where her four older brothers performed in the band. She's the chef there, but she lost her high school sweetheart to the prettiest girl in town, and she recently lost another boyfriend. With Amy missing, Bel has been afraid to trust and afraid to open her heart.

It's the stepmother of a bride-to-be who leaves a newspaper at Shamrock Manor, and Bel is stunned to see Amy's picture. All these years later, she recognizes her friend, and is determined to track her down. Where is Amy, and what has she been doing? It seems she was once at a commune in upstate New York, not far from Foster's Landing. With a surprise ally, Bel goes searching for answers to the questions that have been plaguing her for fifteen years.

Maggie McConnon's Bel, Book, and Scandal appears to be a cozy, with the humor, the weddings, the music. But, it has dark undertones that have haunted Bel and all three books in the series. McConnon ends the arc with a surprising conclusion that leaves the series open. And, Bel's ally in this mystery is a fun addition. Professor Alison Bergeron makes more than a cameo appearance. Alison is the amateur sleuth in McConnon's other series, the Murder 101 books written as Maggie Barbieri.

Will Bel McGrath learn to trust again? Will the series continue now that Amy's storyline is over? Who knows? Maggie McConnon has left us all hanging with an ending filled with possibilities.

Maggie McConnon's website is http://maggiebarbieri.com/

Bel, Book, and Scandal by Maggie McConnon. St. Martin's. 2017. ISBN 9781250077301 (paperback), 320p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I requested a copy from the publisher.


Sharon said...

Of all Maggie Barbieri books the Alison Bergeron ones were my favorite. I tried this series but did not like it enough to continue reading it.

Lesa said...

We all have different tastes. Isn't that great, Sharon? I quit reading the Alison Bergeron books, but love this large Irish-American family.

Maggie Barbieri said...

Thanks, Lesa! I appreciate your reading and posting about Bel's latest adventures. Best wishes for a lovely holiday season. Maggie