Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: Characters, twists to mystery
Cons: Love triangle overshadows everything
The Bottom Line:
Love life the focus
When play brings danger to town
Overall book’s slow
Romance Overshadows Mystery
Being multiple books behind in the Library Lovers Mysteries, I know some things that were coming in the series. One of them was that main character Lindsey Norris’s love life would take several left turns. That particular storyline really takes shape in Read It and Weep, the fourth in the series. Unfortunately, I felt like it overshadowed the mystery.
This fall, Lindsey’s friend Violet La Rue is directing a local theater production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and she is encouraging everyone to try out for it. Lindsey is more interested in working behind the scenes on the costumes, but many of her friends land parts in the play. Even Ms. Cole, the sour circulation librarian, is in the cast. The one non-community member cast is Violet’s friend, Robbie Vine, a celebrated actor. He brings with him his wife and his girlfriend, but he still is immediately smitten with Lindsey, and he starts flirting with her, which does nothing but irritate Sully, Lindsey’s ex.
However, Lindsey’s romantic troubles aren’t the biggest issue on the stage. Instead, a series of increasingly more serious accidents seem to be happening in the theater. Is someone out to destroy the production? Is one particular person the target? Will Lindsey get to the bottom of things before someone dies?
Since I’ve pretty much already said this, I’ll start with the romance, which overshadows everything. Honestly, Sully has been an idiot (I thought his actions at the end of the last books were so stupid, I wanted to smack him), and the appearance of Robbie doesn’t make things any better. Unfortunately, we are left with a collection of romantic comedy moments in the book. A few would have been fun or cute, but they got repetitive. Then again, I’m a guy. While I will enjoy the occasional romantic comedy and don’t mind the romantic sub-plots in cozies, this kind of story is not what I normally pick out.
It doesn’t help that the mystery doesn’t fully kick off until later in the book. Yes, there are some events and people are taking them seriously, but the focus is still on Lindsey’s love life. Once the plot gets started, it is decent and kept me guessing until the end. Even then, Lindsey’s love life is a focal point, we just have more mysterious things happening to help us keep reading.
I definitely enjoyed the characters. We get to see a different side of a couple of the series regulars, which I greatly enjoyed. While Violet has been in the series since the beginning, I haven’t felt like we’ve really gotten to know her yet, and that definitely changed here. On the other hand, the suspects were rather weak; I think this was mostly caused by – you guessed it – the emphasis on Lindsey’s love life.
And I still really enjoy the setting. Briar Creek seems like a charming small town that it would be a pleasure to visit – between murders, of course. And I can’t leave out the fact that it is on the coast. I’d probably join the summer crowds, but I’m sure I’d love it.
This series includes quite a few extras. We get a recipe, a craft project idea, and discussion questions. No, not for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. If you want to find out what book is featured at the end, you’ll have to pick up a copy.
This book is not up to author Jenn McKinlay’s usual standards. However, I’ve read enough of her books to suspect that Read It and Weep is blip from an author I usually adore. If you are a fan of the author and this series, you’ll still want to pick it up, but if you are new to her books, I suggest you start elsewhere. Me? I’m looking forward to visiting Lindsey again soon.