A romantic seven-day cruise is the perfect start to bakery owner Hannah Swensen’s marriage. However, with a murder mystery heating up in Lake Eden, Minnesota, it seems the newlywed’s homecoming won’t be as sweet as she anticipated . . .
After an extravagant honeymoon, Hannah’s eager to settle down in Lake Eden and turn domestic daydreams into reality. But when her mother’s neighbor is discovered murdered in the condo downstairs, reality becomes a nightmarish investigation. Victoria Bascomb, once a renowned stage actress, was active in the theater community during her brief appearance in town . . . and made throngs of enemies along the way. Did a random intruder murder the woman as police claim, or was a deadlier scheme at play? As Hannah peels through countless suspects and some new troubles of her own, solving this crime—and living to tell about it—might prove trickier than mixing up the ultimate banana cream pie . . .
This book can be turned into the perfect drinking game. Keep reading and you’ll find out why!
I’ve read and own every one of Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen Mystery series. I’ve always loved the recipes and have tried quite a few out for myself much to the enjoyment of my family. For the most part I’ve liked the stories as well because to me they’re like ‘junk food’ books; you read them as a treat so you can turn off the world for a while. I don’t read them to gain some better understanding of the world, to find some emotional attachment, have an epiphany, look for that quote that will change my outlook, etc; they’re just a fun way to pass the time.
Did I mention how great the recipes are? I’ve made some tasty dinners and really wowed my kids and family with some of her desserts. My only complaint is that it’s seriously made me want a food processor because she has so many that sound good but require one. The few times I’ve tried one of those and tried to create a workaround for not having a processor it hasn’t worked out well.
As far as the stories themselves I’ve only ever had 2 main and consistent problems.
One, it’s a running part of the plot lines that Hannah is technologically inept to the point she didn’t get a cell phone or computer until nearly this last book and there are over 20 in the series. Even when she did she constantly doesn’t seem to know how to use them. It seems as if Fluke has placed her series in ‘modern’ times so I have a VERY HARD TIME believing or understanding why she would create a character who is young AND owns a business wouldn’t have either a cell or computer, especially a computer. It also makes NO SENSE that once they bought each of these the character would have such a hard time understanding how to use them. It seems completely inaccurate, unrealistic and unfair to her readers to expect them to buy this.
In Banana Cream Pie Murder that running gag makes a huge part of the plot because at one point Hannah is having a meltdown over her husband going on a business trip without telling her only to later find out he called her cell and text her multiple times but because she’s so technologically inept she never got the messages and didn’t think to check. My husband and I communicate multiple times a day via our cells even if it’s just a text letting the other know we were thinking about them and if I haven’t heard from him the first thing I do is check my cell BECAUSE IT IS 2017! This ignorance of technology thing needs to end NOW! It’s just not funny.
Two, Hannah’s love life. There’s been a back and forth love triangle going on for about 20 books between her and 2 other male characters. When I saw a wedding theme book was coming I felt this huge sense of relief Fluke was finally going to end it and have Hannah settle down because the triangle was as irritating as her tech issues. Only, when the time came she had Hannah marry some throw away character who has never had a major part in her life at least in the books. The character has rarely been mentioned and she married him after only dating for like 2 seconds. It was such a slap in the face to her readers who have hung in there for this long as it made no sense.
Then it got worse in Banana Cream Pie Murder which is the first book to actually portray her married life. It starts off right away showing their marriage just isn’t going to work, the pseudo husband doesn’t seem to have any idea who Hannah really is and it’s as if the stage has been set for them to split up in the very near future. There’s never a portrayal of them actually ‘clicking’, no scene that assures the reader Fluke didn’t just screw us all over by throwing this guy in there because as the author she couldn’t make up her own mind who to choose in the love triangle (should’ve been Norman by the way – he built her a flipping house!). The marriage NEVER gets any better throughout the book, only worse until you feel like she set Hannah up in this sorry excuse of a relationship in order to create more plotlines for future books which considering how the book ended proved my very belief on this matter.
Now the Drinking Game: Ross, Hannah’s sorry excuse for a husband, CONSTANTLY calls her “Cookie”. Much later in the book it’s explained that apparently when she knew him eons ago in college that was his nickname for her because she liked to baked cookies – yes I know it shows how incredibly witty and intelligent this guy is (eye roll). Anyways, for whatever the reason Fluke seemed to need to impress upon her readers Ross’ love for calling Hannah “Cookie” by using it so often I started to feel like I needed a drink if I read that one more time which led me to my first ever Hannah Swensen Murder Mystery epiphany! You must take a shot, sip of wine, whatever EVERY TIME he calls Hannah “Cookie” and I promise you’ll be passed out on the floor by chapter 10! 🙂 You’ll thank me as it will help with the irritation over this plot device.
The book is what it is, there’s some really fabulous recipes in here I’ll be trying out this week. The murderer wasn’t someone I saw coming right away so that was nice and it ended on a decent cliffhanger so I’ll be curious to see what she’s going to do in her next book.
Buy on Amazon: http://a.co/dvHcMhP
Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington Books for allowing me to review this book.
*synopsis and pic from amazon.com