Month: August 2022

Book Review: The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip by Sara Brunsvold

I have absolutely ONLY good things to say about this book. It was interesting, inspirational, and even something of a “how to” manual for living. It has been nominated for my Top 10 Books of the Year list.

First, the story was excellent. Aidyn, a young reporter, is supposed to interview an elderly hospice patient to gather information for her obituary. The woman, Mrs. Kip, has other ideas, and soon Aidyn finds herself engrossed in Mrs. Kip’s life story. As a reader, I enjoyed both storylines: present-day Aidyn interacting with Mrs. Kip and trying to move ahead in her career, and the high-impact story of Mrs. Kip’s past. These two are seamlessly woven together, and I found myself as anxious as Aidyn to learn what happened next.

The two main characters are extremely well-written. By the end, I felt like I truly knew and understood both women. Each character’s personality is unique and detailed, and beautiful in its own way. I appreciated how the gentle character moments were interspersed with information about Mrs. Kip’s life story.

As a Christian, the highlight of this book for me was the incredible depth and breadth of Christian content included. Mrs. Kip is a beacon of hope and love, and shares her faith with everyone with whom she comes in contact. I was inspired by both the life she lived and the slow death she was currently enduring. This character is so special, and anyone with an open mind can walk away from reading about her with some new ideas about how to approach both life and its inevitable conclusion.

When reading more about the author, I was stunned to learn that she is quite young, and that this is her debut novel. The quality of the writing, plus the depth of the faith demonstrated in the story, left me imagining an older writer with many (many) more years of life experience to draw from. I’m beyond impressed that someone so young could so beautifully and realistically capture the aging and dying process with such sensitivity.

The Christian Fiction world is definitely lucky to have many more years of Ms. Brunsvold’s work to look forward to!

Definitely five out of five perfectly-arranged cheese platters. (Honestly….this one was TOO GOOD to limit to just one type of cheese in my rating!)


Book Review: Ghost Light by Jane Tesh

I’m a big fan of author Jane Tesh, so of course I was delighted to have the opportunity to read her new standalone mystery “Ghost Light”. Not surprisingly, I loved it!

First, the main character of Teddy (short for Theodosia) was excellent! I enjoyed seeing the events of the book through her eyes, and getting to know her as a character. Teddy is smart, intuitive, kind, and loyal. She also has a touch of OCD that turns out to be quite helpful when it’s time to commit herself to solving a mystery. Her need for order and closure propels her to a find the answer when a local theater employee is murdered.

As an added bonus, Teddy provides the mystery world with something that is much needed: diversity! During the course of the novel, Teddy realizes that she is asexual, and it was wonderful to see a less-stereotypical heroine. Her discovery was treated in a straightforward, non-judgemental manner that I found refreshing. Teddy is a unique voice, and I was thrilled to have had the opportunity to witness her journey of self-discovery and acceptance.

The main focus on the book is Teddy’s attempt to solve the murder of Paula, the former theater stage manager. Since “the show must go on”, Teddy quickly finds herself taking over Paula’s job, despite having no theater experience beyond enjoying the shows. Watching her learn the ins and outs of her new job was almost as enjoyable as watching her investigate the mystery! Both threads were well-written and seamlessly interwoven, and the story flowed perfectly.

As for the mystery itself, there were plenty of clues for Teddy to follow and suspects for her to question and investigate. I liked the way her natural methodical nature helped in her pursuit of the guilty party. The reader follows the leads along with her, and I loved every minute of it!

Sadly, the author has indicated that this is a stand-alone mystery. I hope she reconsiders making it the start of a new series! Teddy has a lot more to offer as a leading character, and with the theater as a backdrop, there’s no limit to the adventures she could have and mysteries she could investigate!

Definitely 5 out of 5 perfect chunks of my favorite sharp cheddar!