(I downloaded this book for free during a promotion.)
Josiah Reynolds is a beekeeper trying to stay financially afloat by selling honey at the Farmers' Market. She finds her world turned upside down when a man is found dead in her beeyard, only to discover that the victim is her nemesis.
The police are calling the brutal death murder and Josiah is the number one suspect! Josiah makes the rounds of quirky characters that can only be found in the lush Bluegrass horse country. Fighting an unknown enemy in the glamorous world of Thoroughbreds, oak-cured bourbon and antebellum mansions, Josiah struggles to uncover the truth in a land that keeps its secrets well.
This was a charming little cozy-style murder mystery with something special - a 50 year old heroine. It was SO refreshing to read a book about someone in my age range. That being said, it was quite annoying that Josiah kept referring to herself as old. She speaks and acts like a geriatric woman ready for a nursing home. She took a VERY early retirement from her university professor position, and is now a cash-poor beekeeper living in a multimillion dollar home filled with valuable artwork, on over a hundred acres of prime property. She lives on the verge of poverty, refusing to move forward after a painful event, contentedly wallowing in her painful past.
Also intriguing was the fact that Josiah is a very petty, mean, self-absorbed woman, in addition to her many worthy characteristics. When her husband left her for a younger woman she refused to give him a divorce unless he gave her everything. Three years later, the husband and the younger woman are still together and pregnant, when he has a heart attack and lands in the hospital. Josiah is still legally his wife, and she refuses his dying request to see the other woman. Remember, it's been three years since they separated. Talk about holding a grudge, refusing the deathbed request from the father of your child!
So why on earth do I love this book? Two reasons - the mystery was really well-developed, and Josiah is so real to me I'm still mad at her behavior! When Josiah is framed for the murder of a bee-charmer on her property, she's forced to come out of her self-created exile and deal with reality. Josiah has spent the last few years absorbed in her passion for bee-keeping, selling her honey at the weekend farmer's market, and not fully dealing with reality.
I really loved Josiah - she was complicated, petty, brave, self-absorbed, generous, kind and has a lot of love to give. Her best friend/companion is a gorgeous gay man half her age, and he and his partner, together with the shark-lawyer hybrid sent by her daughter, end up creating a family for Josiah. They rally around her prickly self, and are able to see through that to her soft, squishy center. Sprinkled throughout the story are mysterious references to Josiah's adult daughter and at the very end we meet her, albeit briefly. I can't wait to read the second story just to learn more about her as well.
I enjoyed this book so much I bought the 2nd one in the series.
Read about the book on Goodreads.
Check out the author's website HERE.