Monday, November 28, 2011

"Falling to Pieces" Review

Falling to Pieces by Vannetta Chapman was sent to me as an advanced review copy by Zondervan Publishing. It is a Shipshewana Amish Mystery, and it is the first of a three-book series.

When Callie Harper arrives in the small, mostly Amish community of Shipshewana, Indiana, she encounters more than just her late aunt’s dusty quilt shop in need of an owner. She stumbles upon a murder.

Deborah Yoder, a young Amish woman living in Shipshewana, needs Daisy’s Quilt Shop to remain open. Her friends’ livelihoods depend on it. But she never thought that becoming friends with Daisy’s niece, Callie, would lead to piecing out a murder mystery.

Callie and Deborah, an unlikely pair, join forces to keep Daisy’s legacy alive and to find out once and for all who is targeting the citizens of Shipshewana.
I have read several Amish books lately, and my main criticism of them is that there are so many characters who are introduced so quickly that it is very difficult to keep them all straight. I understand that this is just the nature of an Amish novel, since Amish families are typically very large. In this case, the author of Falling to Pieces does a great job of introducing the characters at a slower pace so that I didn’t feel overwhelmed in the beginning. (And there is a handy glossary at the beginning of the book to help with the Amish words). The author also was able to keep the minor characters minor and allow me to become more involved with the main characters.

While it was nice to be able to ease into the character introductions, once the initial plot was presented, I thought the story got off to a little bit of a slow start. Maybe it was my particular frame of mind (being busy) that week, but it took going back to the book several times before I got truly involved in it.

Once I did get into the plot, I enjoyed it. I liked the mix of Amish and “English” characters and the setting of Shipshewana. The mystery genre is something that added nicely to the Amish novel. Having that as the major part of the plot was intriguing. The characters in Falling to Pieces refer to Agatha Christie novels several times. While I think Agatha Christie novels are a little more complex in their mysteries than this novel is, I can see the correlation. Both are more on the lighter side of the suspense/murder mystery genre; although I think I would maybe compare this novel to Murder She Wrote rather than Agatha Christie! (That was for you, honey.)
Even though I spent the entire book trying to figure out the mystery, which was fun, I was a little disappointed with the ending. I felt more needed to be said on the matter. I am hoping this is because there are two more books coming in this series and not just that it had a somewhat unsatisfactory ending.

Falling to Pieces is a refreshing new way to tell a story of the Amish way of life, and the mystery storyline is a nice added touch.

I will give Falling to Pieces by Vannetta Chapman … 3 ½ BookWorms.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received this book free from Zondervan. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255:  “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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