Tea Time Tuesday

Queen Anne’s Lace

Every Tuesday come join me as I discuss a recent cozy mystery in review and have Goûter (tea time). Readers can enjoy a thoughtful review while sipping on their favorite teas, they may find new teas to love as well. I will be recommending a good tea for each book. Come cozy up with Tea Time Tuesday.

For the inaugural edition of Tea Time Tuesday, I chose Queen Anne’s Lace. Not only does the reader get China Bayles but we also get to meet her shop’s former owner. The history, the story and the knowledge that went into this book makes it by far one of the best mysteries this year.

This Week’s Tea Time Tuesday

 

Queen Anne’s Lace

China Bayles Mystery, book 26.

by Susan Wittig Albert

  • Author: Susan Wittig Albert
  • Publisher: Berkely Prime Crime
  • Print Length: 304 pages
  • Release Date: April 3, 2018
  • I Rate it:    
  • Genre: Cozy

This Week's Tea & Cozy Mystery Author

Susan Wittig Albert is the award-winning, NYT bestselling author of Loving Eleanor (2016), about the intimate friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok; The General's Women (2017), about the two women who loved Eisenhower; and A Wilder Rose (2014), about Rose Wilder Lane and the writing of the Little House books.Her award-winning fiction also includes mysteries in the China Bayles series, the Darling Dahlias, the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries she has written with her husband, Bill Albert, under the pseudonym of Robin Paige.

She has written two memoirs: An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days and Together, Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place, published by the University of Texas Press. Her nonfiction titles include What Wildness is This: Women Write About the Southwest (winner of the 2009 Willa Award for Creative Nonfiction); Writing from Life: Telling the Soul's Story; and Work of Her Own: A Woman's Guide to Success Off the Career Track.

She is founder and current president (2015-2017) of the Story Circle Network and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters.

You can find Susan on:

Susan Wittig Albert

Book Review by Bree Herron

It all started with cleaning. Isn’t that how many of our own personal mysteries begin, we start cleaning then finding something we have long forgotten about. We work to recall and remember why we kept it or what it meant, determining the value in a session of dust cleaning. Well, China went cleaning with Ruby in the store room. Which was really a hold all for the eclectic goods and items needing storage. China certainly comes out with more than just dust bunnies, she comes out with a mystery that is stitched from the past to the present.

Characters

China is my kind of gal. I can hear her in my mind when she talks or when she is having a moment of dry humor. I found myself giggling at her very wild west style chicken rescue that she had, especially when she had to retell the story more than once. China is not hunting a murderer or a crime in this novel, she is just feeling connected to the past. Lori, another gal that is incorporated into China’s shop has made leaps in her personal path of family history. Together they may see that there is more connected than they thought.

Annie is the original owner of the building China owns now. She is one of the most beautiful characters I have ever read in a mystery. She was a needed element to this specific story, and yet as a reader, I now wonder if she has always been there, or will continue to be there?

I want to give a cluck out to the chickens in this book, Extra Crispy (a fine and brave rooster) and Dixie Chick ( a heavy weight champion) they were sweet fluffy moments in this book. I also love that I felt I got to know about chickens than I did before.

Enjoyable Moments

I really love dual time settings. When readers know that every other chapter will transport them either to the past or the present. In this case, it was perfectly balanced between the two and I love the last few chapters where there is a sunny, happy ending for all. I felt as though the author really took her time and allowed the characters to speak to her, lead her to their stories.

Another aspect of this book, is the herbs. I love that China gives me new knowledge in herbs and usages. China has this way of making a reader curious about the topic and willing to pursue it further beyond the final page. This novel was rich in the history of Queen Anne’s lace (Wild Carrot) and though it can have a tough background it is also impactful in understanding women’s health and medicine.

 

Setting

Give me the 1888-1889 setting any day. I love China, but being with Annie in the past made my bookish heart happy. The mystery that surrounded this time was keeping me wanting more.

Synoptic

For those looking for a murder, I will burst your bubble, no murder. Readers that are looking for a true cozy mystery, one that is sweet and soft, a reminder of what a mystery can be. I couldn’t have loved this book more, and I would recommend it to all readers (however, it is sometimes PG-13) and encourage them to look beyond the shadows of the herb and star crossed lovers, and see the depth to the mystery that was created. Allow your mind to be open to the knowledge that is woven into this story, and see the possibilities in the delightful recipes.

I am feeling completed and yet wanting more from the story, and isn’t that the ultimate sign of a great read? A cozy mystery that leaves you wanting more.

I Rate it

Wild Carrots (Queen Anne’s lace) is rich in history, do you know any history of your favorite herb?

And for the tea suggestion to sip while reading this book, I highly recommend a Hibiscus tea. Sweet yet not to sweet, it will compliment this story.

**DISCLAIMER: I was provided an opportunity to read this book as an Advanced Reader Copy in return for a fair and honest review.

Giveaway

Want to dive into this mystery? Comment about the book or share about your favorite herb to use. Commenting gets you entered! Giveaway closes 4/9/18.

Professional Reader Affiliates

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8 Comments

  1. Jackie Basnight

    This is my first time hearing of this author. Love your review of it. Would love to read this book. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  2. MaryAnn Forbes

    I am very excited to explore the China series after reading your review. Thanks for the opportunity to win the book.
    I enjoy peppermint, green and black tea; enjoy a cup of chamomile at night.

    Reply
  3. Dianne Casey

    I really liked your review of the book. It sounds like my kind of book. I never knew Queen Anne’s Lace
    was called Wild Carrots. Definitely adding to my TBR list.

    Reply
  4. Paula Adams

    I’ve read one other book by this author. I did enjoy it but there are so many books and too little time. I would like to grow some fresh herbs to cooks with, my brother does and says you will never go back to the dry stuff again. Thank you so much for this chance.

    Reply
  5. Donamae

    Sounds really interesting, I love learning about herbs in stories, I never knew about it being called wild carrots!

    Reply
  6. Kay Garrett

    Thank you for your review on “Queen Anne’s Lace” by Susan Wittig Albert. I’d very much love the opportunity to read the book.

    I’ve never really thought about the history of herbs. I’ve often wondered who was the first one that thought about adding this or that to a recipe to make the flavors work though.

    I would think a grey tea with it’s black tea with hints of citrus with a spot of honey added for sweetness would be a great tea to read this book by.

    Reply
  7. Suzanne Sellner

    My favorite herb depends on what I’m cooking/doing. I used tarragon with my chicken tonight, but the last time I cooked chicken, I used rosemary. I also love basil and oregano in soups. I use peppermint-flavored, sugar-free gum and peppermint soap as well as peppermint oil to open up my sinuses. I find lavender extremely relaxing. I love herbs!

    Reply
  8. Rudi Lee

    I’ve been a China Bayles fan since the first book. I can’t wait to read the latest one. Thanks for sharing your review. Sounds like my kind of book. I like books that jump back in time too.

    Reply

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