"China Bayles is back in a haunting tale of forbidden love!"
Reviewed by Magdalena Johansson
Posted April 4, 2018
Mystery Amateur Sleuth | Mystery Woman Sleuth | Mystery Cozy
China Bayles has a ghost problem. It all starts when she
and her friend Ruby Wilcox starts to clean up the loft
about their shop Thyme and Seasons. China finds a box of
handcrafted lace and old photographs in the loft, but
when she is temporary alone in there and the light goes
out does she hear a woman humming an old Scottish ballad
and she also smells lavender. After that strange things
start to happen at the store...
QUEEN ANNE'S LACE by Susan Wittig Albert is the 26th book
in the China Bayles series. For me, this
is the first book I've read in the series, but I have read
other books by Wittig Albert by now and I'm always interested
in finding new series to read. This book can definitely
be read without having read the previous books. It's easy
to get into the story, the characters are introduced in a
way that makes it feel natural to the story. I've noticed
this before when it comes to Wittig Albert. She's got a
knack for writing books that, despite being the latest
book in a series, are easy for new readers to get into.
The story in this book moves between two different time
periods, we go to China's storyline with her finding the
lace and trying to find out more about it and why she's
being haunted. This storyline is interwoven with Annie
Laurie's story. She was a woman that was born at the end of
the 19th century and who lost both her husband and unborn
child on the same day, and who then tries to get by and
make a living making lace together with other women.
However, her feelings for a married man brings problems
into her life.
I found QUEEN ANNE'S LACE to be a delightful book to
read. I loved learning more about the plant Queen Anne's
Lace (this plant plays a very important role in this
book) and Albert Wittig has a way of writing that makes
the story come alive that I can see everything that
happens before me. On a side note, the mystery of the
ghost is engaging to read about. However, I love the fact
that Caitie, China's daughter, is having chickens as pets
and that she's entering two of them, Extra Crispy and
Dixie Chick, in the poultry show in the local Country
Fair. The side story just went straight to my heart,
especially towards the end of the book when we learn if
they got any ribbons or not.
While helping Ruby Wilcox clean up the loft above their
shops, China comes upon a box of antique handcrafted lace
and old photographs. Following the discovery, she hears a
woman humming an old Scottish ballad and smells the
delicate scent of lavender....
Soon, strange happenings start to occur in Thyme and
Seasons: misplaced items, a ringing bell, and the
appearance of lavender sprigs in odd places. When a
customer mentions seeing a mysterious woman picking
flowers nearby and then suddenly disappearing, China must
finally admit what Ruby has always known--their building
is haunted. But by whom?
As China investigates, the tragic story of a woman in one
of the old photographs unfolds. Annie Laurie was a young
widow who'd lost both her husband and her child in the
same day. She manages to survive through her lace-making
business and finds happiness again only to have a
suspicious death overshadow her new life.
China delves into Annie's century-old mystery and
realizes that solving it could have unimaginable
repercussions in the here and now.
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