In Bed, Breakfast, and Bones by Carolyn Dean, Amanda Graham has inherited the century-old Ravenwood Inn from her uncle Ann’s aunt in Ravenwood Cove, so she moves from Los Angeles to the small coastal town in Oregon to start a new life. But the inn needs serious work, and as she spends her savings on fixing it up, someone finds a body in her garden. It turns out to be that of Emmett, a man who tried hard to woo her aunt despite the objections of both her and her husband and who disappeared the same day Amanda’s uncle and aunt abruptly left town for good. The day that they dig up the body, the mayor, who happens to own property adjacent to Amanda’s, tells Amanda to leave her town because Amanda’s arrival has led to problems in Ravenwood. Besides, the inn has been rezoned to become a single-occupant facility, so she can’t open up an inn anyway. Amanda starts looking into things and discovers that the mayor herself rezoned the inn the same day that she made this announcement. Plus, Amanda learns that because her uncle has been suspected of the murder, his estate could be sued, meaning she might lose the inn and go bankrupt. So she sets to work to try to find out about the murder, hoping to save her home.
This book has a nice feel to it and was interesting to read. I felt, however, that apart from Amanda, the characters were flat and stale with little details to make me notice them or keep them straight. The plot had some good points, though the book could use further details to it. It seemed a bit light to me.
One thing I did find myself getting bothered by is the intense negativity shown frequently throughout the book for Los Angeles. I hope I would notice the injustice of such criticism of any real-life city, but as a native Angelina, I did not appreciate the vast generalities that all people in my city are egocentric and miserable. This is not true for all people of Los Angeles, nor is it hard to find such people in other cities in the world. The criticisms become so strong that they amount to vitriol, which gets bothersome. I wouldn’t mind if Amanda merely was unhappy in Los Angeles, but I do mind that she seems to use almost any chance she can get to make sure everyone, especially the readers, knows just how terrible the city is.
Gail Hedrick narrates the audio version of this book. She does a good job with this book and helps to make it interesting.
I found Bed, Breakfast, and Bones to be a reasonably interesting book, but I think it really needed more depth to it. If the author were to build up the characters’ roles and add more details to the plot, the book has potential. But as it is, I give it 3.5 stars.
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