Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Book Review: Patchwork Mysteries #1: Family Patterns - Kristen Eckhardt

In this first book of the series Patchwork Mysteries, we meet Sarah Hart, a widow who makes her living taking in borders and restoring antique quilts. And she likes to solve mysteries too.

The first mystery revolves around her grandmother Molly, who disappeared in 1920, when she was a young married woman, leaving behind a husband and six year old boy.

Molly was never found and her husband lived with the towns suspicion for the rest of his life, many convinced that he had murdered her.

When Sarah's twelve year old twin granddaughters discover a hidden passage in the family home, it leads them to the quilt that belonged to the six year old boy - her father.

While Sarah restores the quilt for her father who now resides in a nursing home and is suffering with bouts of Alzheimers she discovers clues to the mystery of Molly.

This mystery honestly had me stumped. I can often solve them before the protagonist, but this one I couldn't. However I would add that the author cheated a little. Sarah had information that wasn't given to the reader. Still even with that, there were clues that could have left the reader to jump.

My other complaint and I have this complaint with any author that does this, is characters who have names that begin with the same letter. In this case there's two sets and they will all be part of the regular series. Sarah's twin granddaughters are Amy and Audrey - yes I know people often name twins like this, or they give them rhyming names, but not all the time. It would have been better to give them completely different names. I had to keep checking to see which one was which.

The other problematic set is her best friend and neighbor Martha, and her daughter-in-law Maggie. Both names are similar and have been around for a long time and don't give clues to age.

So authors, if you are reading this, please watch what you name your characters.

This is also a book put out by Guideposts, a Christian publication, so there is references to Christianity, however I did not find it heavy handed. Sarah utters a few prayers, there's one unlikely coincidence that can be chalked up to the hand of God, and a few mentions of a church, but it was all well done and not over done. Still this might be a problem for some people. In which case they shouldn't read inspirational fiction. 

Fortunately I like inspirational fiction and although the mystery is tied up, the problems of the characters aren't, which makes it real. 

Sarah herself is a likable character. And I also enjoyed the attention given to the restoration. I never knew before how it was done and it was very interesting and meticulous. I would never want to restore an old quilt - I prefer creating a new one - but I can appreciate the artistry that's involved. It can be very painstaking. It's not too often that I learn something new from a cozy, and I found this fascinating.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the series.

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