Author: Clare O'Donohue
Publisher: Plume, 2008
Paperback, 304 pages
Genre: Amateur Sleuth/ Cozy, #1 Someday Quilts mystery
Source: Paperback Swap
First Line: "I'm fine," I said between sobs.
When Nell Fitzgerald's grandmother Eleanor asks what colors she wants for her wedding quilt, Nell is ecstatic. She's over the moon when the finished quilt arrives, but she comes crashing down when her fiance calls off the wedding. Heartbroken, Nell packs a bag and hurries to Archer's Rest, the small town on the banks of the Hudson River where her grandmother lives. There Nell can recuperate and make some sort of plans for the future.
Nell's grandmother's life has always revolved around her quilt shop, Someday Quilts, and the members of the shop's quilting circle. Eleanor is having repairs done to the building, and when the local handyman she hired is found stabbed to death in the shop, Nell finds herself drawn into the case-- primarily because her ex-fiance followed her to Archer's Rest and he's now a suspect in the murder. The women of the quilting circle may be piecing together their quilts, but Nell is piecing together the clues that will lead her to the killer.
This may sound strange, but I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. Don't get me wrong, I always expect to enjoy any book that I pick up to read, but some books have little extras that make them that much more pleasurable.
One of those little extras was the strength of O'Donohue's characterizations and the cast she introduced. Nell may be heartbroken, but she's also intelligent, determined, and has plenty of common sense. Her grandmother Eleanor is a strong woman who dearly loves her granddaughter, but she's also willing to let Nell live her own life and make her own mistakes. Of course this doesn't mean that Eleanor's not going to give her some sound advice from time to time. While Nell's getting interested in the local police chief, I'm looking forward to learning more about him in future books. Last but not least, the quilting circle is filled with interesting women. On the strength of the cast of characters alone, this is a very promising series.
I was also pleased to see how large a part quilting played in the book-- and not just piecing and sewing them together. O'Donohue includes quilt design as well as information on the set-up and running of a quilt shop. I could see all the colors, hear the scissors cutting through the fabric, and smell the cloth as I turned the pages.
A wealth of characters and artistry, a small town setting, and an interesting mystery to solve... all these pieces came together to create a fun reading experience. I'm definitely continuing with this series!