A New Chapter by Kristin Eckhardt
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Book #1 - Secrets of Mary's Bookshop
My first experience with a Guideposts book series was an enjoyable one. This first book in the Secrets of Mary's Bookshop series entitled "A New Chapter" and written by Kristin Eckhardt managed to paint a lovely picture of a fictional seaside town based in the Cape Cod area of Massachusetts and, in fact, has inspired me to plan a trip to the area at the end of this summer. I have never visited MA but I have always loved traveling and adventuring and this book, which takes place at the end of spring, renewed my interest of visiting the area.
The setting was lovely but the mystery itself was a real drag. Every time the story touched on the mystery at hand, I felt like I was putting on my fishing waders to get through it. In other words, the main plot line was far more interesting than the mystery. If you prefer to have the relevant clues to solve the mystery yourself, you are out of luck. I felt the resolution to the conundrum was lackluster and a bit forced. I do, however, very much appreciate that this title wrapped up without a cliffhanger. I felt that all loose ends were tied and now, my being on the fourth book in the series, I see that each title was designed to each stand on its own as a complete story. There are references to past events in previous books in the series so the story builds, but the reader is never intended to feel in the dark about a plot line.
This book, as well as the whole series, is Christian inspired and there are references to relevant Bible verses and teachings scattered amongst the pages as characters give inner monologue. It is very casual, so even a non-Christian or non-religious reader should not feel preached-at. The book features ordinary people in an ordinary town behaving like most people of faith would. It was quite nice to read a story who features a Christian main character who was not aggressively so. There were inspiring and teachable moments where story intersected faith, but the story was stronger for doing so. Overall the book is very positive and inspiring.
I rated this book two stars ("it was ok"), which doesn't sound very nice seeing as I have mostly good things to say about it. I am a lover of classic literature and fantasy so this type of book, a casual mystery that can be read in a day, is very far from my comfort zone. I feel like a dirty little literate for reading what I feel is mostly a time-passer. If you have an afternoon to read on the shore, preferably in the Cape Cod area, this would be a perfect read. The story is easy, the characters are vague, and the mystery is not very compelling, but I am glad I read the book for the inspiration it has brought to me.
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