Top positive review
A Gaming Store and a Bracelet
Reviewed in the United States on July 22, 2021
I really enjoyed hearing this 5th cozy mystery in the Cottage on Gooseberry Bay series! It is finely plotted and executed, with excellent clues and fascinating, endearing characters. It held caught my attention from the beginning and held it throughout. The narrator does a wonderful job, especially with conversations and various character voices.
I first met and liked Ainsley in The Inn at Holiday Bay series early in her search about her past. She has learned a substantial amount since moving to Gooseberry Bay, leading to more and bigger questions. Ainsley isn’t used to being an heiress yet and is far more concerned with where her sister might have ended up after she herself was found, then raised by, a police officer who recently passed away.
This cozy is fifth in the Cottage on Gooseberry Bay series, and for those new to the series, there is a summary at the beginning of the novel that tells what she has learned about her birth family so far. She has made good friends in the short time she’s lived here. As a young woman with a background as an investigative journalist, Ainsley investigates various cases for others, and is slowly getting new clients.
The first client in this novel is searching for her birth mother. Ellery was found as a newborn in a church in Washington with only the blanket she is wrapped in and a charm bracelet. She loved her adoptive family, but with them gone, she wants to find her birth mother if possible. One of the charms leads her to Gooseberry Bay, and in Ainsley, Ellery finds someone who completely understands her quest.
The second case is for three teen boys who go missing over the course of a couple days. They attend the same high school but are not in the same circles of friends. The police think the boys left on their own, but the more Ainsley, the sister of one of the boys, and Ainsley’s friends, there is something deeper and darker going on. Something, or someone, lured them away with coined phrases guaranteed to appeal to young people who are going through difficult times.
The characters are endearing and defined very well per their roles. I like Ainsley and her friends and how in a short time they have grown extremely close and work together on searches. Jemma is genuinely interested in how Ainsley’s own family search progresses; each of the friends have a sincere give and take relationship.
I was fascinated to watch the friends work together on these cases. What I heard was realistic, from conversations to steps of their searches. It is amazing to me how much they could uncover, especially in Ellery’s case, and I was sad when they came to what looked like the end of the road for it. I highly recommend this book in any format to fans of the author, of well-written cozy mysteries, and the company of friends who prove that folks don’t have to be related by blood to be family.
From a thankful heart: I won a copy of this audiobook from the author; a review was not required.