Thursday, June 21, 2012

Scrapbook of Secrets by Mollie Cox Bryan

TITLE: Scrapbook of Secrets
AUTHOR: Mollie Cox Bryan
PUBLISHER/YEAR: Kensingston Publishing Corp/2012
GENRE: Mystery
SERIES: Yes. This is the first book in the new Cumberland Creek Series. The rest have not been published.
SOURCE: Won via Goodreads First Reads

First off, I think I need to start off this review with an apology for disappearing for the past while. I went into Tech, which is the crazy busy time period in the theatre when you incorporate the technical aspects of the show into rehearsal. Think no food, no sleep, 13 hour days. I'll explain everything in another post soon. This is a book blog, but I said up front I work in theatre and it's definitely going to impact my blogging sometimes. You all deserve an explanation for my long absences. 

So it took me ages to finish this book and add a little time to that for me to actually review it. It just never really hooked me. Sure it was cute and the characters should have all been interesting, but something was off and it took me awhile to place my finger on it. The back jacket promises quirky characters, mystery and dark town secrets. Honestly, I didn't think it really delivered on any of it. 

The book is centred on the small town of Cumberland Creek, a sort of do nothing town where everybody knows every one else. There's a group of women who meet weekly to scrapbook, drink wine and talk. Annie is the newcomer to this community and is having trouble fitting in and missing her job as a journalist which she gave up to raise her children. There's also Bea, an elderly but feisty woman, and a host of other "quirky" women. They all had their problems, but I didn't think any of them were real. I didn't believe their reactions. I didn't believe that they were people and if a book can't convince me of that then I'm lost. This group of women start investigating an apparent suicide, but quickly determine that it's murder and use their scrapbooking abilities to piece everything together. 

The mystery itself wasn't that interesting. We get to know one of the suspects, the victim's husband, but other than that we didn't really get to explore the motives anybody else might have had. We were just left to believe whatever the women thought up. Also, at the very end there was a twist that just didn't seem to fit with the rest of the book. I was left thinking Deus Ex Machina. I don't like it when the God Machine comes out to play in theatre and I don't like it in the books I read; especially in a mystery there shouldn't be some event out of the blue that just fixes everything. At least that's how I felt about the twist, feel free to disagree. 

I honestly don't have that much to say about this book. The deep dark town secrets didn't strike me as that deep or dark. They seemed like some pretty standard secrets and they weren't handled deftly. In fact, they hit the reader over the head with a hammer. Of course, these secrets didn't have any consequences on the plot so I'm not sure why they were there. To build up some non existent tension I suppose? 

This book was cute and I think it could appeal to a niche group, I just didn't fit into that group. 

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