This is the first book in the Berry Basket series written by Sharon Farrow. It’s set in a small lake shore town in Michigan with quaint little shops and awesome older houses. All the shopkeepers enjoy the summer tourist trade, but that trade will be threatened in this story. I think you’ll enjoy reading this and finding out why.
I never knew I could loathe a couple of characters as much as I did the guy that ended up dead and a woman who came to town that Marlee, the main character had to deal with in her former career. I think it takes a skilled author to create characters that seem so real when they’re bad, that we really hope someone will do them in. 🙂
My Goodreads review:
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed my visit to the small lakeside town of Oriole Point, MI and could just picture the little shops and lakefront Victorian homes like Marlee lived in. It was very well-written and plotted and at times, kept me on the edge of my seat wanting to find out what would happen next.
Marlee Jacob (her family was a Dickens fan–I loved the play on Jacob Marley’s name) ran the Berry Basket shop in town along and like a lot of her neighboring shops, depending on tourist trade. When a local man, who wasn’t very well liked to begin with, announced at a town council meeting that he now owned 30 acres that the zoning commission had voted to zone as commercial–and that he was going to allow big box stores to come and build, someone in town took matters into their own hands. He was found dead in his home by Marlee and her friend Tess. Since the mayor’s wife had gone ballistic and punched him at the meeting, she was arrested for the murder.
Marlee was curious as to how the entire zoning commission, all of which were longtime residents of Oriole Point and supposedly shared the same belief that tourist trade was their sole income, could have possibly decided to allow a zoning change for something that would no doubt bankrupt many of the merchants. Could blackmail or bribery have been going on? After a brush with death herself, Marlee was still determined to find out the truth, and to complicate matters, someone from her past was in town trying to make Marlee’s life a living nightmare.
I wasn’t sure at all who the killer was in this and I loved the showdown because it was exciting with a great twist to it. The killer got hauled to prison and Marlee was somewhat of a hero to a very unlikely person, who, because of who they were, turned the tables to look like they were the big hero. Marlee didn’t care, she was alive and she’d helped prevent someone else’s death. The mayor’s wife was cleared of all charges and announced that her helper for the next event in town would be Marlee! I’m guessing this will be the story of the next book, which I definitely plan to read.
I really enjoyed the characters for the most part. Marlee and her fiance’ have an odd relationship. She’d found out something about him that he hadn’t seemed to think was important to tell her, he’s awfully jealous of a local guy who was Marlee’s boyfriend in high school and was really just a nice and goofy friend to her now. It’ll be interesting if they pick back up where they were or if he realizes he should have come clean with her about his past. I’m not a fan of birds as pets at all, but I have to admit I really enjoyed Minnie the parrot that Marlee adopted at her Aunt Vicki’s insistence. There were a lot of different characters, so I hope in the next book we can get to know the main characters just a little bit better. I do like the main characters, but I don’t feel like I know them quite as well as I thought I should by the end of the book. I did still enjoy it and want to read the next one!