Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel

Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: Broadman & Holman
June 2013
ISBN: 978-1433679308
Genre: Women’s fiction

With high hopes, Daphne Ballinger lands her dream job at The New York Times. But it's not long until writing about weddings becomes a painful reminder of her own failed romance, and her love of the city slowly sours as well. Is it time to give up the Big Apple for her small hometown of Appleton?

When her eccentric Aunt Dee passes away and leaves a sizeable estate to Daphne, going back home is an easy choice. What isn’t easy is coming to terms with the downright odd clauses written into the will.

Daphne only stands to inherit the estate if she agrees to her aunt's very specific posthumous terms -- personal and professional. And if she fails to comply, the sprawling old Victorian house shall be bequeathed to . . . Aunt Dee’s cats.

And if Daphne thinks that’s odd, wait until she finds out an array of secrets about Aunt Dee's life, and how imperfect circumstances can sometimes lead to God's perfect timing.

LOCK, STOCK, AND OVER A BARREL is the first book in Ms. Carlson’s newest series, Dear Daphne.  It is a quirky story about a woman in her mid-thirties, unhappy with how her big youthful plans turn out inherits her aunt’s estate—sorta.  As long as she marries within a year. And other strange terms. If she doesn’t comply, the estate goes to the cats. Literally.

This book is not up to Ms. Carlson’s usual standards. It was like, I must ‘publish or die’ and the publisher looked at the name and said – ‘Melody Carlson!’ And sees dollar signs. The story isn’t even finished. I didn’t notice any of the threads were tied up and neatly trimmed. It ends with a major hook that will cause fans to run, not walk to computer or bookstore and preorder the next book. I did like the faith message, and the plot is… different. Enticing.

Some of Ms. Carlson’s fans might enjoy this book. There are plenty of great reviews, so maybe I’m one of the few that it didn’t resonate with. And I usually like her books. Do try it for yourself though. You might love it. $14.99. 320 pages.

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