Review – A Loveliness of Ladybirds by Jayne Fresina

About the Book:

Ten years ago, at ‘The Brindle Horse’ Hotel, Amarinda Siddaway ran barefoot out of the fog, with a bloody knife in her hand and a children’s rhyme on her lips. Tangled with rumors of lurid scandal, an illicit love affair with a young man a dozen years her junior, and a missing corpse, the mystery of Mrs. Siddaway seemed destined never to be solved. Tried for murder and acquitted, the scarlet woman disappeared from the world just as thoroughly as her alleged victim.

But was she truly innocent, or did she get away with murder?

Now, a decade later, a very similar crime has been committed, once again at the same hotel. Can it be nothing more than simple coincidence that several characters involved in the first incident are present at the scene of the second? Another woman with a bloody weapon in her hand; another nursery rhyme, and another missing dead man.

Some folk might think that old ghosts are to blame. Or is it the ladybirds again?

A spinning weathervane on a boathouse roof points in turn to all four directions of the compass. And four letters, sealed with red wax, stamped with the image of a ladybird, are out in the world, linking both crimes with a curious, winding chain.

And there is only one man with the patience and wisdom to unwind it. Only one man can connect the clues and stop that weathervane spinning.

Detective Inspector Deverell is not fond of coincidences or the supernatural. But whatever is going on at ‘The Brindle Horse’, he’ll get to the bottom of it. Fortunately, he has the eager amateur sleuth and creator of remarkable cakes, Miss Lucy Greenwood, to help him out.

Click on title below for direct Amazon buy link:                                                             A Loveliness of Ladybirds: A Bespoke Novel

My Review:

I received a complimentary copy of this book.

Lucy Greenwood, baker extraordinaire and proprietress of Bespoke Bakery, is attending the wedding of an old school friend.  The reception is interrupted by the dazed bride returning to the festivities, covered in blood and holding a weapon in her hand.  The groom is nowhere to be found.  This whole scene eerily echoes a similar tragedy that happened at the same hotel ten years ago.

Detective Tolly Deverell arrives on scene to investigate, not surprised to find Lucy in the thick of things.  He and Lucy met when she was suspected of a poisoning, of which she was obviously innocent.  Tolly and Lucy formed a friendship, perhaps even a romance, but their fledgling relationship is now on the rocks.

Lucy is a strong, independent, and unconventional woman, which both attracts and baffles Tolly.  He has his own past secrets, which make him leery of a serious relationship.  He is, however, very good at being a detective.  The investigation progresses, with many twists and turns, with Lucy insisting on being part.  Their somewhat broken relationship also begins to heal, and the couple finally becomes closer.

A LOVELINESS OF LADYBIRDS is different, twisty, and chock full of quirky characters, all of the things I’ve come to expect from author Jayne Fresina.  The story kept me on my toes and entertained, while having enough of a romance to satisfy me.  I look forward to the developing relationship between Tolly and Lucy in upcoming books, and I recommend this well written installment, which can easily be read as a standalone.    ~Rose


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