Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Fun plot at times; some interesting characters
Cons: Plot weak at times; some flat, cliched characters
The Bottom Line:
This olive cozy
Gets off to an uneven
Start in this debut
Debut Shows Promise, but Needed More Work
Since I’m always up for trying a new series, I was interested in One Foot in the Grove from the moment I heard about it. After all, I do enjoy olives, and this series features a family that grows them. But then I started hearing mixed things about the book, so I kept putting off reading it. Sadly, those mixed things are accurate.
Eva Knox has returned home to Abundance, Georgia, something she thought she’d never do. But after leaving a second man at the altar, she figured retreating home was the best solution. She’s ready to dive in to use her PR expertise to help her family grow their new olive oil business as well as the bed and breakfast her older sister has also opened up on the family property.
A week after arriving back home, her family is shocked when their chef and their fishing guide vanish, leaving a note saying they decided to elope. Going for a run in the rain, Eva stumbles over a dead body. Since the current sheriff is the first man Eva left at the altar – eighteen years before, she is certain she won’t get a fair shake from the police or the local gossip mill. So Eva decides to clear her name herself. But can she do it?
As I was reading this book, I had a hard time deciding just how I was feeling about things. Take the plot, for example. On one hand, it includes some fun twists to the usual cozy formula that I enjoyed. On the other hand, at times the information Eva needs falls into her lap or the plot advances because Eva does some crazy stupid thing. I’m usually fairly forgiving of a main character acting stupidly, but even I was bothered a time or two here. The climax, while creative and logical, was also rather abrupt.
Likewise, the characters are a mixed bag. At times, I liked them, and I found a few very intriguing based on secrets they are hiding. Others, like Eva’s oldest sister, are dangerously close to cliche territory. I feel like there are more layers to some, but others are flat.
Of course, we get recipes in the back of the book for southern food rich in olive oil. We get such things as tapenade, tomato toast, garlic smashed potatoes, and dreamy peach frosting.
It’s unfortunate this is such a mixed bag because I could see the potential for a fun series here. If the premise interests you, pick up One Foot in the Grove. You just might find you enjoy it.