Thursday, May 14, 2015

Book Review: The Final Reveille by Amanda Flower (Living History Museum Mysteries #1)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun setting for a complex mystery
Cons: A tad slow to start; Kelsey’s early reaction to one character
The Bottom Line:
The heir gets murdered
With battlefield of suspects
Promising debut

Current Death in Living History

I’ve always enjoyed history, so I always enjoyed the various living history museums that my family visited over the years while I was growing up.  A new mystery series set at one seemed like a perfect series to tempt me, and The Final Reveille was as fun as I’d hoped it would be.

Kelsey Cambridge run the Barton Farm in northern Ohio.  Normally, the museum is a collection of houses and shops with various interpreters who demonstrate what life was like during the early 1800’s.  However this weekend, the museum is hosting a Civil War reenactment on the empty fields adjacent to the museum’s town as an added draw.

While all this is happening, Cynthia Cherry and her nephew Maxwell come for a visit.  She’s a patron of many things in the area, but her generosity has helped Kelsey make many needed improvements to the museum.  During the visit, Maxwell pulls Kelsey aside and tells her that he is taking over Cynthia’s charitable foundation, and he intends to cut back on many of the causes that Cynthia has supported over the years, including the museum.

When the reveille coming from the reenactor’s came awakens Kelsey the next morning, she quickly discovers one of the soldiers bending over the dead body of Maxwell.  Just as quickly, the police zero in on Kelsey as a suspect.  With her freedom on the line, she must find out what really happened to Maxwell.  Can she do it?

I felt like the book started a little slowly, but that was needed time to introduce us to the museum and the characters.  Things were definitely happening, however, and it wasn’t too long before the plot picked up the pace, giving us some nice clues and motives for the murder.  While I did suspect the killer before the end, I wasn’t completely sure until everything was revealed.  Even so, there were a couple of details that weren’t explained, but it took me almost 24 hours after finishing the book to realize that.  That’s how small they are.

I’m so used to young single protagonists that it was a nice change of pace to follow Kelsey around.  She’s divorced with a five-year-old son, and that added a new layer to the book and some interesting sub-plots.  The story was filled with great people who came fully to life as the book progressed, and I can’t wait to see many of them again in future books.  I did feel that Kelsey was too harsh toward a new potential love interest early on in the book.  I get that she didn’t trust him at that point, but her reactions still seemed too harsh.  That didn’t last long, and it is my only complaint where characters are concerned.

This is not Amanda Flower’s first book, and it shows.  The writing was great at setting the scene and making Kelsey’s love of history contagious.  In fact, I’m wishing I had a historical fiction book lined up next on my To Be Read pile (another favorite way to experience history).

Any issues I had with this book are truly small.  Overall, I enjoyed this first book with a great new protagonist.  The Final Reveille will not be the final book I read in this series.

NOTE: I was sent an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.


  1. I saw his and was intrigued because I always enjoy a history angle in my books. I'm glad to know it lived up to it's potential! I'll definitely have to add this series to my TBR!

    1. Yes, you should add this to your TBR pile. It's a promising new series.

  2. That's a great prize package! And thanks for the review.

    1. It is. Amanda was very generous, wasn't she?

  3. This sounds like an amazing book and prize package - can't wait to read this book! Thank you for the great review and opportunity to win!

  4. I'm always a little boggled by reenactors, but this sounds like a good mystery.

    1. It always sounds interesting in a book, but I don't think I've actually seen them in real life. Not a super big thing here in CA, or I just don't know about it.