BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Bea Reviews The Body in the Birches by Katherine Hall Page

Publisher: William Morrow
Series: Faith Fairchild #22
Format Read: eGalley
Source: the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Challenges:  May 2015 Clean Sweep ARC Challenge | Cruisin' Through the Cozies | NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge
Buying Links: Amazon* | Book Depository* | OmniLit* | Barnes & Noble |
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

Blurb from goodreads:

At home on Sanpere Island, Maine, caterer and amateur sleuth Faith Fairchild discovers that real estate can be murder, especially when it's all in the family, in this twenty-third book in the popular mystery series.

The Fourth of July is one of the hottest on record and even the breeze off Penobscot Bay can't seem to cool things down for Faith Fairchild and the rest of the folks on Sanpere Island. But the fireworks are just beginning. After the celebrations are over, Faith discovers a body in the woods near The Birches, an early twentieth-century "cottage."

The body is identified as The Birches' housekeeper, who seems to have succumbed to a heart attack. The death is only one of the dramatic events upending the historic house. A family gathering has been called to decide who will inherit the much loved, and very valuable, estate that has been in the Proctor family for generations. With this much money involved, it's just a matter of time before trouble arises.

Faith is juggling her own family problems. Her teenage son, Ben, has started a new job as a dishwasher at The Laughing Gull Lodge--learning things that could land him in very hot water. And her daughter Amy is worried about her new friend, Daisy Proctor. Daisy is terrified--convinced that someone is trying to eliminate her mother from getting a share of The Birches. To protect her children, Faith has to find a possible murderer--before he strikes too close to her own home.

Bea's Thoughts:

A former co-worker introduced me to this series many years ago, more than I care to think about. I've been a fan of the series ever since. Part of the appeal for me is that it's set locally (though this story is set in Maine instead of Massachusetts). I have fun picking out and identifying the real locations and businesses that inspired Page's fictional versions. Although this story is set in Maine, I was delighted to be part of the tour for it.

As I read the story, I kept thinking how the story was more about families than it was about the actual murders- family make up, family fractures, family expectations, etc. Then when I finished the story I read the author's note and she discussed in length the theme of family and the reality of family and the strains inheritance causes. It was a timely topic as I read this story right after my father died. I got rather emotional reading the story at times since it was hitting a nerve. Because the story was so emotional for me, it's hard to disentangle my thoughts about the story from my feelings about it.

The focus is less on the murders and the mystery of who is committing them, as I mentioned, and more about families. Faith is coming to grips with her children growing up and becoming more independent, there's an ailing family member in the Fairchild family, and then all the family angst and drama of the family over at The Birches (they are quite the soap opera!), a subtle yet obvious romance, friendship in varied forms, small town life on an island, etc. I found the storm in the story to be utterly predictable and was disappointed that she used such an obvious story device. But overall, I liked the story. Under the circumstances, I can't really say that I enjoyed it, but I'd like to read it again someday, when my father's death is not quite so raw, as that had a huge impact on my perceptions and reactions.

As far as mysteries go, the story is average, but as a look at families and their strengths and weaknesses, this is a book worth reading. 

There are recipes but Faith's cooking is a minor part of the story and her catering business has no part to play this time around. I've never tried any of the recipes in this series, I'm a lazy cook, but they always sound so good. If you've read any of the books, have you tried a recipe? How did it turn out?

About Katherine ~

Katherine Hall Page is the author of twenty-two previous Faith Fairchild mysteries, the first of which received the Agatha Award for best first mystery. The Body in the Snowdrift was honored with the Agatha Award for best novel of 2006. Page also won an Agatha for her short story “The Would-Be Widower.” In addition, she has been nominated for the Edgar Award, the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and the Macavity Award. She lives in Massachusetts and Maine with her husband.

Find Katherine Online ~


  1. It will soon be lunchtime here, just mentioning the word recipe got me hungry ! Murders, family stories and small town community looks like a different, but attractive recipe, thanks for sharing, Bea *hugs*

  2. Thanks, Bea. I just checked out this author and her series on Goodreads and I decided (my opinion only) that I can get away with reading the first book to set up the series and then skip ahead to the more recent ones since the series is so long and will be hard/expensive to secure each one. I think this will be fun though for me, between my darker reads.
    Again, best wishes sent your way in this difficult time.

  3. I read this awesome steak marinade recipe from one of Meg Cabot's books. Turned out awesome, I still use it once in a while.

    I hope you're doing better, Bea :)

  4. I hadn't heard of this series...sounds like one I should check out!

  5. Bea, I am so sorry to hear about your father. Such a hard time. Thank you for your thoughtful review.

  6. Oh, Bea, I'm so sorry about your dad, and sorry also that the book was a difficult read in those circumstances, rather than being a haven. {{{hugs}}} It does sound like you've really enjoyed the series in the past -- good to know, since it's one I've been eying for some time now. What fun that you can spot the real-life places that inspire the (other) books - I always get a kick out of that when it happens to me.


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