Berried Secrets – Peg Cochran

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3/5 Cranberry Farms

On The Back:

It’s cranberry picking time—in an all-new mystery series from the national bestselling author of the Gourmet De-Lite Mysteries…

When Monica Albertson comes to Cranberry Cove—a charming town on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan—to help her half-brother Jeff on his cranberry farm, the last thing she expects to harvest is a dead body.

It seems that Sam Culbert, who ran the farm while Jeff was deployed overseas, had some juicy secrets that soon prove fatal, and Jeff is ripe for the picking as a prime suspect. Forming an uneasy alliance with her high-maintenance stepmother, Monica has her hands full trying to save the farm while searching for a killer. Culbert made plenty of enemies in the quaint small town…but which one was desperate enough to kill?

My Thoughts:

A start to a series with extremely relatable characters and an absolutely stunning setting, this was a winning debut to a series!

The characters were wonderful. They were all relatable and well-developed,a dn I found myself falling into their lives with ease. I love the fact that Jeff was a veteran, that’s not a typical cozy character background but I’m really glad that Ms. Cochran saw fit to add it; it adds another layer onto him. Monica is also not the typical “runs back home” first book MC, she doesn’t come back home, she comes to Cranberry Cove to assist her brother with his farm.

The real star of this story, however, was the setting. It was exquisite! Ms. Cochran did an amazing job of blending the setting in a way that the setting was as big a character as any of the actual characters. I loved the town (though I don’t know why it’s called Cranberry Cove when Monica’s farm seems to be the only cranberry farm in the vicinity) and I absolutely loved learning about how cranberries are harvested. I’d love to watch a harvest one day!

This book wasn’t perfect, however, and I found myself frustrated at the stunted dialogue and the abundance of internal thoughts Monica had. It really pulled the story down. The dialogue was extremely unnatural, too. It seemed like the characters had to explain in words what they were doing in times, and it was slightly annoying by the end.

A great setting, relatable characters, but unnatural dialogue and incessant internal thoughts cause this book to get 3/5 stars from me. I will read the next one if for nothing else, than the setting!

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