Monday, March 7, 2011

Aunt Dimity and the Family Tree - REVIEWED

About the Book: (from the publisher)

After a dizzying time Down Under, Lori Shepherd returns to the quaint village of Finch, where she's in for a surprise. He wealthy father-in-law, William Willis, Sr., has just purchased Fairworth House, a splendid ten-acre estate near town.

Though the retired widower wants nothing more than to refurbish the old house and enjoy the quiet life of a country gentleman, he soon learns that life in Finch is anything but quiet. A stream of widows and spinsters flocks to Fairworth House intent on romancing the well-groomed and well-off American. Lori has her hands full fending them off and keeping an eye on Deirdre and Declan Donovan, William's newly hired servants, who seem much too good to be true.

Lori must also oversee the restoration of a soot-covered painting found in an outbuilding during Fairworth's renovation. The painting seems to depict a family tree, but until the soot is removed--a delicate operation--no one can tell whose family tree it portrays. Lori's biggest challenge, however, comes in the shape of Sally Pyne (or is it Lady Sarah Pyne?), the local teashop owner, who draws William into the greatest act of deception every perpetrated on the good people of Finch.

It's nothing the plucky Lori can't handle, but once things get truly peculiar at Fairworth--moving furniture, strange sounds, and the theft of the mysterious family tree painting--she calls on Aunt Dimity for her otherworldly guidance, and uncovers the shadowy past beneath the estate's magnificent surface.

My Thoughts:

As you know by now, I am a HUGE fan of Nancy Atherton’s Aunt Dimity series! I am the first library patron to read this brand new addition to the series, and Aunt Dimity and the Family Tree has to be the most fun yet! The plot reminds me of a cross between My Fair Lady and a particular episode of Andy Griffith based on that same musical! When you add a father-in-law who begins acting peculiar (going from law practice to sheep herding), a couple newly hired by said father-in-law who seem just a bit too good to be true, and some paranormal activity that can’t be explained (or can it?) – well, you are in for a fun time in merry ‘ole England!!

I absolutely devour each book in this series, and I grow to love the Sheppard/Willis clan more and more with each reading. I’m beginning to suspect that there will be – at some point in the future – a second generation that will be enjoying adventures with Aunt Dimity! I can’t recommend Nancy Atherton’s work highly enough! She defines the term cozy mystery in every sense of the word!! Please….pick up your copy today!!

About the Author: (from the author's site Aunt Dimity's World )

Nancy Atherton is not a white-haired Englishwoman with a softly wrinkled face, a wry smile, and wise gray eyes. Nor does she live in a thatched cottage beside a babbling brook in a tranquil, rural corner of the Cotswolds.

She has never taken tea with a vicar (although she drank an Orange Squash with one once) and she doesn't plan to continue writing after her allotted time on earth, though such plans are, as well we all know, subject to change without notice.

If you prefer to envision her as an Englishwoman, she urges you to cling to your illusions at all costs--she treasures carefully nurtured illusions. She also urges you to read no further.

Because the truth is that Nancy Atherton is a dark-haired American with a generally unwrinkled face, a beaming smile, and hazel eyes, who lives in a plain house in Colorado Springs. She comes from a large, gregarious family (five brothers and two sisters) and enjoys socializing as much as she enjoys solitude.

So, if you are looking for her at a convention, don't look for a stately grande dame in a flowery dress. Look for a woman in jeans and sneakers who's bounding around like a hyperactive gerbil. That'll be me. And I'd love to meet you.

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