(A Thyme Will Tell Mystery)
I trust you'll forgive me if this review seems a bit vague on the details. There's good reason for that: this is a sequel that absolutely demands having read the first book and I am a bit vague on the details. The character dynamics appear to have been established in the previous book, and I was lost from the very first page. Furthermore, the end of this book should read "To be continued" so the entire experience was unsatisfying.
If you've read Book One of the Thyme Will Tell series, you'll probably want
to read this one, too. If you haven't read it, I strongly advise tracking
it down because otherwise you're going to be floundering right along with me.
Regan Culver is the owner of an herb farm. Her wealthy physician father
had been murdered, and Regan was arrested then cleared when the murderer
was discovered. (This history plus complicated family relationships were
apparently were dealt with in Book One.) This has made a profound
psychological impact on her.
At the start of this book, Regan is engaged to the police chief and high
school football coach Matt Olin, but Regan and Matt are still uncertain
about the disparities in their origins and social positions. An argument
in the first pages over where they'll live after they marry results in
their estrangement that lasts until the final chapter. So much for the
The bulk of the plot is a multi-layered mystery. While police chief Matt
investigates a present-day murder and attempted murder, Regan is delving
into a forty year old mystery that forever devastated a local prominent
family. As you might expect, the two investigations turn out to be related.
Gabe Johnson, one of Regan's employees, is an African American high school
student who is resented by some members of the community for his high
academic achievement as well as the possibility that he might take away the
quarterback position on the football team from Jack Hargrove, the youngest
member of that prominent family. Following a football victory, Jack
dresses in the school mascot costume. A swarm of bees is in the costume,
and Jack, who is severely allergic, is stung repeatedly. Only CPR
administered by Gabe and Lucerne, the mysterious and exotic new girl in
school, saves his life. Was this a tragic accident or was Gabe meant to be
At the hospital it is discovered that Jack is also suffering from a heroin
overdose. All his friends deny that Jack has any drug involvement although
there has been a growing problem with drugs in the community. Further
attempts made on Jack's life while he lies comatose in the hospital
convince Matt and Regan that the incident with the bees was no accident.
When one of Jack's friends is shot to death in the hospital parking lot and
identifies his killer as the murderer in the tragedy forty years ago who
was believed to have committed suicide, the mystery deepens. Meanwhile,
Jack's mother has asked Regan to look into the murder/suicide that still
haunts her and her family.
Marigolds for Mourning is another title from WaterBrook Press which
publishes inspirational fiction, that is, books with a Christian theme.
Marigolds, however, is less a story with strong religious overtones (the
kids pray for Jack's life but that's about all the religious activity) than
a squeaky clean story that can be enjoyed by readers who find the obscene
language and graphic sex of many contemporary novels to be offensive. The
story doesn't pretend that contemporary problems such as drug abuse and
racism don't exist; rather they're handled by G-rated characters speaking
in G-rated language. Maybe the treatment is unrealistic (are there really
high school kids like this anymore?), but it's not oblivious to the reality
of modern life.
In general I found the book to be well-written. The dialogue flows
smoothly, and the main characters are likeable. Because this is a part of
a larger whole, there is a larger cast of characters than is common in a
300 page book; many of them are nearly as important as the heroine. I
especially liked Lucerne who has a particularly spirited and outgoing
personality. (It's only at the end that the reader learns just how
significant an accomplishment this is.)
But I can't recommend this book as a romance, and I can't recommend it on
its own. I've read sequels before where my not having read the previous
book was a disadvantage but never to this extent. I hope the publisher
intends to reissue the books in a set because Book Two is a homeless orphan
without Books One and Three to keep it company.