Knight in Shining Apron (An Appleton, WV Romantic Mystery #2) by Carole Brown

Published July 7th 2016 by Story and Logic Media Group

About the Book: Starli Cameron gave up her career plans to be a concert pianist to marry the man of her dreams. He turned out to be a nightmare. When he dies in a car accident, Starli takes the insurance money and builds a successful and upscale restaurant: Apple Blossoms in rural West Virginia. Threats from someone determined to ruin her life and the suspicious romantic advances from her new chef force Starli to search her heart and finally turn to God for real healing.

Sir Joel Peterman-Blair, top notch chef from England, is roped by his uncle, into filling in as head Chef at Apple Blossoms. Joel, with his sanguine-personality, has always laughed and flirted his way through life. But now, confronted with and attracted to the most beautiful woman he’s ever met, Joel has to prove his sincerity and depth of character to his icy-cold employer. Can his love for God and for this woman reach out far enough to rescue her from her own mistrust and bitterness? Will he learn that life is not all play?  And can they both work together to find the source of threats that seem to be coming from Starli’s past?

KNIGHT IN SHINING APRON is a a cozy romantic mystery, but the more important aspect is that there is psychological bullying going on because of domestic abuse. Starli’s husband abused her mentally and physically, but has been dead for seven years. His brother recently returned to Appleton, West Virginia and began bullying and harrassing Starli, accusing her of causing his brother’s death. There are not descriptions of the abuse except to refer to bruises and a broken finger. The mystery surrounds who is vandalizing Apple Blossoms, Starli’s restaurant. The Knight, refers to Sir Joel Peterman-Blair, who is the nephew of the Maitre D at the restaurant. He is a well-known chef and comes to Appleton to help at the restaurant until they find a new chef. Who is trying to ruin Starli’s business? Is Roland behind it all? Will Starli be able to trust a man again? Will she be able to give it up to God and follow his plan for her?

There were a lot of things I liked about this story, but I also had my niggles. I liked Starli’s character most of the time. She was a smart, loyal and loving person who had been seriously hurt in the past. There were times I thought she was wonderful and was finally going to open her heart, but then she became a shrew and was rude and somewhat obnoxious. There was also instalove which sometimes works, but considering how Starli treated Joel, it doesn’t ring true. Joel was a sweetheart. He wanted to help everyone and always looked for the good in everyone. Starli’s friends were also great characters. I always enjoy a small town setting with great residents, but I would have liked to have met more of them to get a better feel of the town. The last thing that bothered me was the fact that Starli’s restaurant burned down, yet she had to go to the bank for a loan to fix it? What about insurance? Overall this was a good story with a happily ever after ending. This is the second book I read in this series and I did like it better than the first one. Some of the issues of abrupt chapter endings was changed which I was happy to see. I am hoping that each book in this series improves.

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About the Author: Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of ten books, she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons?

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