Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton

(Aunt Dimity, #1)

...Until the Dickensian law firm of Willis & Willis summons her to a reading of the woman's will. Down-on-her-luck Lori learns she's about to inherit a sizable estate - if she can discover the secret hidden in a treasure trove of letters in Dimity's English country cottage. What begins as a fairy tale becomes a mystery - and a ghost story - in an improbably cozy setting, as Aunt Dimity's indomitable spirit leads Lori on an otherworldly quest to discover how, in this life, true love can conquer all.

Aunt Dimity's Death has much going for it, and much against it. Plot-wise, this stories a unique one. Including a budding romance, baffling paranormal activity, and a strange mystery that tugs on the heart strings, it's one worth reading and finishing but not something I praise too highly. Save the end and beginning, the middle felt a bit stale and lay flat. It almost grew boring in select scenes as the two truffled through old papers and had tea with strange townsfolk. There was a large lack of tension in the drama, romance, or even mystery department for too large a bulk. The ending was a great one, though, making my eyes tear and leaving me with a warm feeling inside. It's always strange when a book succeeds so well on other level, then meets its downfall in another.

The character of Lori is a decent one, from a starving and down-on-her-luck decent woman to a happily ever after ending akin to a princess-type fairy tale. Will as her companion is sweet and especially likeable toward the end, but not enough 'sides' of his personality are explored to create a in-depth characterization.

As endearing as the characters of Lori and Aunt Dimity are, the story sadly lacked a lot of spark. Sorely lacking in suspense, as the heroine was never in danger and only forced to confront painful trauma at times with a minimal effect, there was nothing earth shattering. I enjoyed seeing her re-evaluate her mother's emotions, even if it only appeared a bit to be something to fill in the gaps. Her view of her mother was a little unrealistic, and while interesting it just wasn't enough to fill in all those pages and make up for the lack of suspense elsewhere.

Aunt Dimity herself was a delightful character, almost clairvoyant, especially toward the end when Will tells his tale and all comes to light. I never would have guessed that happening! Nancy Atherton is a gifted writer, for her words flow smoothly and are easy to digest. When emotion is supposed to be there, she makes sure it comes across loud and clear.

A very light and cozy read with a wonderful ending, it just didn't have enough pizazz to capture attention in a gripping fist. It's a very 'sweet' book, almost like in another world. I did love that they included the recipe in the back, too. I made those cookies after finishing, but mine didn't turn out that well. Drats!

   Book Quotes:

“They were tales of commonplace courage and optimism, for I knew from my own experience that everyday virtues endure best, and that quiet courage is worth more than the grandest derring-do.”

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