Monday, February 24, 2014

Review of Winter Watch by Anita Klumpers

January 20, 2014
Paperback: 258 pages - $13.99 Ebook - $3.99
Publisher: Prism Book Group (January 21, 2014)
 ISBN-13: 978-1940099460

From the publisher:
What’s worse than being stranded in a small town in northern Wisconsin? Being stranded during the worst winter in recent memory.

Claudia Alexander’s problems are piling up faster than the snow on Lake Superior’s shore. Her noble mission to find the owner of an old pocket watch is complicated by incessant snowstorms, a mysterious vandal and the appearance of an old flame.

The local dogcatcher, a blind street preacher and an arthritic bloodhound come to Claudia’s aid. A promising romance warms up even as the temperatures drop.

But something evil is at work in Barley. As another blizzard approaches, so does a killer. Claudia must choose between her mission and saving the lives of the people she has come to love. Even if it means losing her own. 
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My review:
Delightful Debut! Sometimes, even disasters are those course corrections we all need to get us back on the path of our destinies. 
Opening with a two-pronged prologue, Klumpers tantalizes the reader with the story of a pocket watch at the center of devastating events. How it comes to our heroine, Claudia, is gradually revealed throughout the book.

The back cover copy says it very well—if you have to be stuck in the dead of winter in northern Wisconsin, may you find a village like the charming one created by the author. Sure it has its issues, colorful characters including a mass murderer and a registered sex offender, an antique blind town pastor, and a Justice of the Peace/dog catcher named Ezra whom everyone loves. When Claudia is unceremoniously dumped by her boyfriend, she's close enough to her destination, Barley, to hitch a ride. Barley may hold the secret to the mysterious family heirloom and its rightful owner—if only she can figure out who that is, before another body shows up.

Claudia immediately instills an innocent vulnerability and trust to the customers at Blossom’s diner, and everyone offers helpful advice, from where to stay and how to get there and a character reference from said Justice of the Peace. The colorful family who runs the bed and breakfast open in the “off” season is a quirky, loveable set of characters who jump right into matchmaking schemes that leave the reader chuckling. A dinner date, an attempted murder, an actual murder, and boyfriend, create a funky olio of delicious reading.

Mayhem, absolutely delightful settings, a vocabulary for the intelligent adult reader (thank you!), and some very sweet romance make this novel a very clever read. Kudos! Told by Claudia, the twists will keep you turning pages. Recommended for those who like clean, smart reads.

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