Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Amazing characters and a good mystery
Cons: Romantic triangle a little strong for my tastes.
The Bottom Line:
A toymaker’s death
Brings us back to characters
You will quickly love
Festival, Toys, and Murder
After discovering just how strong the Amish Mysteries by Laura Bradford are, I knew I had to read the second in the series soon. That’s why Assaulted Pretzel jumped several places up my to be read mountain range. I’m glad it did because this was another great book.
The series features Claire Weatherly, who has moved to the town of Heavenly, Pennsylvania, in Amish country. She’s living with her aunt and running a gift shop that sells Amish created items. Through the shop, she’s made several friends in the Amish community, including Esther, her employee, and Benjamin, the handsome man whose sister runs the bakery next door. She’s also friends with Jakob, the handsome detective who left this very Amish community years ago and has been shunned as a result.
Claire has been hearing about an annual Amish Food Festival ever since she moved to Heavenly, so she is excited it has finally arrived. She is looking forward to spending the day sampling Amish food and chatting with her new friends. Unfortunately, some of the festive spirit has left thanks to a leaked memo that reports that Rob Karble, who was in town to sign a deal to distribute Amish made toys via his toy company, is planning to use his own workers and plants instead of local workers like he’d originally promised.
However, things take a dramatic turn when Rob is found murdered behind one of the booths. With multiple people in the Amish community affected by Rob’s change of plans, Claire once again finds herself helping Jakob, navigate the investigation. Will one of her Amish friends be convicted?
Once again, I found myself drawn into this book by the vivid and real characters. After two books, I love them and can’t wait to spend time with them again. My heart breaks for a few of the characters as the book progresses, and I have to keep reading to see if they can overcome the obstacles in their lives. And yes, the suspects introduced for this book are just as strong as the returning characters.
Part of these characters being so real is the reactions we see to the murder. Because we see how it affects a wide variety of people, the pace might be a tad slower than I would normally enjoy. The tradeoff is completely worth it because it makes the characters that much richer, so this isn’t really a complaint at all.
On the other hand, I did grow a little weary of the romantic triangle in this book. Claire isn’t quite ready to pursue a romance, yet she is drawn to both Benjamin and Jakob, who are equally interested in her. Benjamin being Amish produces even more obstacles. Even though all this annoyed me at times, with how that storyline is left, I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book. I know, I know, a complete contradiction, right?
And what about the mystery itself? I’m glad you asked. As the book progresses, it continues to build with some nice twists and surprises. I thought I had the killer pegged early on, but I began to question my guess the further into the book I got. When the killer was revealed, the solution was completely logical.