This is the second book in a newer series by Maggie Blackburn, a pen name used by Mollie Cox Bryan who’s written three series, the most recent being the Buttermilk Creek series. I’ve enjoyed what I read of two of those series, and I’ve been wanting to read the other one.
Once Upon a Seaside Murder took place at Christmastime on Brigid’s Island, but it just didn’t seem very Christmasy to me, so I wanted to point that out if you’re hoping for a super seasonal read with lots of Christmas cheer, this isn’t really it. Everyone was too busy and focused on cold case murder and missing person to have much ho-ho-ho going on. But you do get an awesome mystery along with the camaraderie of the town working together–and a changing Summer who really did become more likable.
My Goodreads review:
Once Upon a Seaside Murder by Maggie Blackburn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’d read a GR review when I first started the book and now that I’ve finished it, I have to say I do agree with that person. I admit I didn’t like Summer very much at all in the first book and even for some of this book, so when I read the review that stated that person began to like her better in this book, I was kinda “We’ll see.” But…by the end of the book, Summer had definitely undergone some good changes that made her a little more tender and a lot more likable as a character. I’ve always loved the characters of Agatha, Piper and Mia! Those three are probably what’s helped shaped Summer’s disposition a lot. The love of family is definitely a driving force!
And I know it takes a talented writer to come up with a character that successfully isn’t too well-liked even by readers. Then bit by bit, that character emerged into a pretty darn nice human being! I’m excited now to see what the future holds for Summer and possibly even Cash after we’ve learned he’s free again. I can’t describe how I felt knowing that Summer, by the end of the book, felt so much different herself with a burden lifted, and I can’t go into it for risk of spoiling something. I guess I just wished at that point she was real and that I could hug her and tell her, “Well done, welcome home.” Note: Another character who seemed to change for the better was Cash’s dad, Ben who was the police chief needing to retire.
The murder in the story was a cold case, and the main focus was a missing person which got weirder and seemingly colder as the days passed. I had an idea of who might be behind it, but I was off base somewhat. I really enjoyed this book so much more than the first one and can honestly say I’m looking forward to the next!
I read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.