January 14, 2016

Fresh from the Bookshelf: Calico Spy by Margaret Brownley {Book Review}

I love historical fiction. I especially love romantic historical fiction. And if you REALLY want to catch my attention, make it an inspirational historical fiction romance! Icing on the cake is making it have a nice bit of comedy and lovable characters! I was hoping for all of these in the latest book to review, Calico Spy by Margaret Brownley, the third book in her Undercover Ladies series. Did it win my approval?

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About the Book

Calico Spy (released January 1, 2016) takes us back to the age of the Pinkerton detectives and the famous Harvey Girls of the late 1800's. In this installment of the Undercover Ladies series, Pinkerton operative Katie Madison's newest case takes her to Calico, Kansas. There is a double homicide that continues to be unsolved, and Fred Harvey can't stand that it happened to two of his special Harvey Girls--two Harvey House restaurant waitresses.

Thinking that having an operative inside the restaurant would be the best way to solve the crime, the Pinkerton agency sends in Katie Madison--a pretty red head with a mind of her own, her own fair share of obstinacy, and a petite yet mighty force to be reckoned with. You can imagine how it's going to go down when she collides with Calico's sheriff, Branch Whitman, who has never met a "Pink" he liked. Sparks fly as the two eventually try to work together to solve the crime--and Branch needs Katie's help when secrets of his own past come back to haunt him! Can they solve all three mysteries without...well shooting each other?!

My Thoughts on the Book

Well, I honestly expected more. But I don't think I can really describe what I was hoping for. Maybe more substance? I think this book was meant to be an easy read, thus none of the characters are very...deep. I think we learn more about Branch Whitman than we do Katie! Of course, this may be related to this being the third book in the series. Perhaps we meet Katie a bit more in an earlier book. That being said, this book appears to stand alone and I didn't really FEEL like I needed to have read the other two novels, though now I want to.

The book was good. The plot was...well predictable. I had the perpetrator pegged at least halfway through if not earlier. Sparks definitely flew between Branch and Katie and I think I would have liked them to have been at odds longer. I think revealing Katie's identity to Branch happened too quickly.

I think my favorite scene was when Katie slammed a pie in the face of a bank robber and when he the bank robber thought she was a bank robber too. LOL. That was very clever.

I give Calico Spy a solid 3 1/2 stars. It was a light read, but it was fun. I think that those who enjoy rabbit trails, might enjoy learning more about the Harvey Girls history after reading the book. I already am very familiar with it, which is one reason why I wanted to read the book to begin with. I think I would have pointed the crime more to someone less obvious, because it was a let down when I was actually correct.

I still recommend this book, because while I give it 3 1/2 stars, some of my friends probably would just adore the book. It's a fun read and good to read when you need something you can pick up and put back down.

by Margaret Brownley
ISBN #978-1628366280
Available in Paperback and Kindle

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Professional Reader
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Well, Calico Spy wasn't a five star book, in my opinion, but it was still a fun read, and I plan on seeking out the first two books in the series: Petticoat Detective and Undercover Bride. I love lighthearted easy reads, just as much as I enjoy the ones that take me longer. I encourage you to see if your library has one of these books by Margaret Brownley to try!
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