Blurb for THE CARRIAGE HOUSE
Fun and a little hard work. That’s all Tess Haviland had in mind when Ike Grantham paid her for her graphic design work with the run-down, 19th-century carriage house on Boston’s North Shore.
Then Ike disappeared and now Tess finds herself with much more than a simple weekend project to get her out of the city. It’s not just the rumors that the carriage house is haunted. It is the neighbors: six-year-old Dolly Thorne, her reclusive babysitter, Harley Beckett and especially Dolly’s father, Andrew Thorne, who has his own ideas about why Tess has turned up next door.
But when Tess discovers a human skeleton in her dirt cellar, she begins to ask questions about the history of the carriage house, the untimely death of Andrew’s wife and Ike’s disappearance. Questions a desperate killer wants to silence before the truth reveals that someone got away with murder.
Jen’s Review of THE CARRIAGE HOUSE
Although it had some issues, the overall story was enjoyable and memorable.
I remember I picked up this book at the public library because I had heard good things about Carla Neggers and I hadn’t read her before.
Tess is given a carriage house instead of payment for her graphic design services. Now, the owner is missing, and she’s stuck with a tax bill. Tess decides to go out to the carriage house to ascertain her best course of action–sell it or keep it?
While there, she meets her next door neighbors: a sexy architect, his precocious daughter, and his tough, ex-cop cousin. Worse, though, she discovers a skeleton in the cellar. She doesn’t tell anyone what she has seen until it is too late.
My thoughts about the story: I enjoyed the story, but I thought it was too predictable. It was too easy to figure out whose bones are in the carriage house, and the author didn’t provide many alternative suspects for who killed him. However, the characters make up for that.
Tess doubts herself a lot. And she worries too much about what other people think. She waits too long to act. Then, when other people don’t believe her, she questions herself rather than try to figure out what really happened. I liked Tess, despite all that, but I wanted more from her. There were times when she should have been scared, and it didn’t seem like she was.
Andrew, an architect, is Tess’s romantic interest. They get more involved with one another than they are ready for. I thought the relationship seemed natural and progressed in a believable way.
I especially liked Tess’s father and her godfather. They added some humor into the story. The little girl was fun, too. These characters were different, quirky at times, and entertaining.
Because I’m a sucker for books that include animals, The Carriage House earned bonus points in my opinion for the inclusion of a pregnant cat and, later, her litter of kittens.
Carla Neggers wrote well. It was easy for me to visualize the scenery and characters. I don’t have any complaints about her writing style or execution of the plot. My dislikes have to do with the plot itself and the lack of appropriate reactions from Tess.
Do I Recommend?
If you don’t mind a story that presents a mystery but doesn’t actually make it mysterious or suspenseful, then read The Carriage House. The overall story line and characters make it fun to read. I probably won’t go back to this series myself, just because I have so many other books to read, but I would if I had unlimited time.
For interesting characters, a believable romance, and vivid setting descriptions, I recommend reading The Carriage House.
My rating 4/5 stars (B)
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