Monday, August 07, 2006

The Chocolate Bridal Bash - JoAnna Carl

The Chocolate Bridal Bash
A Chocoholic Mystery
JoAnna Carl

Mystery - Cozy

Lee McKinney is busy planning her wedding in the resort town of Warner Pier, Michigan. Part of that planning involves trying to convince her mother, Sally to come to town for the event. Although she was born and raised in Warner Pier, Sally is oddly reluctant to make the trip. She tries to convince Lee to hold the wedding in Dallas, using the argument that Lee spent much of her youth there. When Sally goes so far as to fearfully ask if a certain sheriff is still around, Lee knows there’s something more to her mother’s stubbornness.

In an attempt to get to the bottom of things, Lee talks to her Aunt Nettie, who runs TenHuis Chocolade, the family business. The story Nettie tells shocks Lee. Sally was engaged to Bill Dykstra, and left Warner Pier on what would have been her wedding day, leaving only a note saying that the wedding was postponed. Later that day, Bill’s father found him dead; an apparent suicide. Sally’s parents, Lee’s grandparents, didn’t hear from her for another six months. Sally never offered any explanation for any of this. Appealing to her future mother-in-law, Mercy, Lee gets a few more details, including the fact that the former sheriff still has the power to frighten people. Mercy reiterates Nettie’s plea for Lee to leave things alone; not re-open old wounds. But Lee’s curiosity compels her to try.

Lee is known for two things: insatiable curiosity and a habit of using malapropisms in her speech. Honestly, in this case, I found her curiosity to be very selfish. The story tries to cloak the investigation in the guise of smoothing things over so that Lee’s mother can visit Warner Pier without fear, but it’s really just an excuse for Lee to poke around in people’s lives and bring back a slew of old, painful memories. Not a great trait in a main character. Putting that aside, I did find the past mystery to be well constructed and quite interesting. I just wish there had been a better way to go about it. For chocolate lovers, there are plenty of interesting facts and recipes that look delicious.

Rating: 5
August 2006
ISBN# 0-451-21918-X


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