Monday, June 27, 2016

Maggie Dove: A Book Review

When Sunday School teacher Maggie Dove finds her hateful next-door neighbor Marcus Bender lying dead under her beloved oak tree—the one he demanded she cut down—she figures the man dropped dead of a mean heart. But Marcus was murdered, and the prime suspect is a young man Maggie loves like a son. Peter Nelson was the worst of Maggie’s Sunday School students; he was also her late daughter’s fiancé, and he’s been a devoted friend to Maggie in the years since her daughter’s death. Maggie can’t lose Peter, too. So she sets out to find the real murderer. To do that, she must move past the grief that has immobilized her all these years. She must probe the hidden corners of her little village on the Hudson River. And, when another death strikes even closer to home, Maggie must find the courage to defend the people and the town she loves—even if it kills her.

When Sunday School teacher Maggie Dove finds her hateful next-door neighbor Marcus Bender lying dead under her beloved oak tree—the one he demanded she cut down—she figures the man dropped dead of a mean heart. But Marcus was murdered, and the prime suspect is a young man Maggie loves like a son. Peter Nelson was the worst of Maggie’s Sunday School students; he was also her late daughter’s fiancé, and he’s been a devoted friend to Maggie in the years since her daughter’s death.

Maggie can’t lose Peter, too. So she sets out to find the real murderer. To do that, she must move past the grief that has immobilized her all these years. She must probe the hidden corners of her little village on the Hudson River. And, when another death strikes even closer to home, Maggie must find the courage to defend the people and the town she loves—even if it kills her.

"The virtue of age, she though. It forced wisdom because you couldn't move fast enough to be impulsive."  Maggie Dove by Susan Breen

Maggie Dove is a simple, but very enjoyable mystery read.  I wasn't sure what to expect since this is the first time I've read anything by Susan Breen.  But I found the writing to be clear and easy to read.  The book flowed well and was one that I didn't mind reading for hours without stopping.

Maggie Dove is an enjoyable character who has some depth and interest to her.  I wasn't a fan of the Sunday School teacher vibe that she put off, but I don't think her neighbors or she, herself, enjoyed that.  The Sunday School teacher bits really didn't bring much to the plot, just showed how caring Maggie is and how much she loves the children, especially the troubled children.

"I don't know where courage comes from, but I know this: it flourishes among people who love you. It's possible to do things you'd never do when someone believes you're capable of it."  Maggie Dove by Susan Breen

Seeing how much Maggie loves Peter and how she used to be a mystery writer before life (or death) got in her way, made it realistic to see Maggie get involved in finding out who the murderer was.  While I figured out who the "bad guy" was about half way through the book, I still enjoyed seeing Maggie try to get there herself and to learn "why" he was the bad guy.

While Maggie is not a particularly "take the bull by the horns" kind of gal, her courage to find the answers was bolstered by her love of the people in her town.  When she thought that someone in her town was a murderer, you could see the heartbreak as she looked at each of the different characters in the book.

While I felt like some of the characters were a little cliché and stereotypical for a small town, it didn't stop me from reading and enjoying the book.  I grew up in a small town, and unfortunately, there are stereotypical teens, friends, and neighbors everywhere.

"Life isn't about staying safe and living in the past. Life is about adventure and joy and love"  Maggie Dove by Susan Breen

It was great to see Maggie grow and come out of her grief stricken shell.  I like the fact that Breen set up the book for a series, even if it seems a little odd to have the "girls" start a Detective Agency in their small town.  I guess when you have too much money and too much time and live in a crazy small town, you just go where the wind takes you.  Fortunately for Maggie Dove and her readers, it will take us to new adventure, joy, and maybe even love in future books.

I received this book from NetGalley. The book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.