Thursday, March 3, 2016

Book Review: A Churn for the Worse by Laura Bradford (Amish Mysteries #5)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters and an intriguing mystery
Cons: I’m too relaxed to list any cons
The Bottom Line:
Farmer dead in barn
Sets off another trip to
Peaceful Heavenly

Claire Churns up Another Killer

Last year, I got completely hooked on the Amish Mysteries by Laura Bradford, reading all four that had been published to date.  That left me anxiously awaiting the publication of book five, A Churn for the Worse, and I’m glad to say it is another wonderful visit with these characters.

It’s summer, and Claire Weatherly is enjoying the added tourism that brings to Heavenly, Pennsylvania.  While her shop is busy, she is enjoying her evenings with her boyfriend, detective Jakob Fisher.  With her English and Amish friends, Claire finds her life rich, full, and peaceful.  The biggest conflict in town is the consultant that’s come in and wants to bring in younger tourists with plans that would ruin much of what makes the town so special now.

The peacefulness is shattered when Claire hears of an Amish man found murdered in his barn, hit over the head by a shovel.  Things get more complicated when the family realizes that they were robbed about the same time, and the robberies continue in the Amish community.  Who is responsible?  Will the robberies lead to another murder?

I am a confirmed read in order person; I go out of my way to read a series in order.  Most of the time, you would be okay reading a series out of order, and it’s just a matter of personal preference.  This series is not one of those times.  While the murders of the previous books aren’t spoiled here, the character growth and the change in the relationships between characters is a major strength of the series.  To fully understand all that happens here, you need to know what has come before.

Because once again, the characters shine.  The main cast continues to evolve, and their relationships reflect that fact.  It is truly heartwarming to read some of the scenes in this book knowing where the characters started out in book one.  Other scenes tie up sub-plots from previous books.  The focus of the book is the series regulars, and to fully appreciate how wonderful the growth is, you need the full backstory.  Not to say we don’t meet some great new characters here, and they are interesting as well.  But they don’t get the page time that the regulars do.

The plot is definitely something different than what we get in many of the cozies I read, but it absolutely worked to keep me turning the pages.  In fact, I read much more of the book than I intended one day because I had to see if my theory about the plot was correct.  Once again, I thought I had a handle on things, but it turned out I was wrong, as I discovered when I reached the logical climax.  Oh, I had a part of it figured out, but only a part.

What I realized as I was reading this book is how much the peace Claire is always finding in town translates through the pages.  Thanks to the wonderful descriptions, I’m transported to a place that’s slightly less busy and definitely more restful.  I am longing to visit Heavenly in real life (between murders) for some much needed R and R.  Since that’s not an option, these books work wonderfully for that purpose thanks to the great atmosphere.

So if you have yet to visit Heavenly, I highly recommend you do so.  And if you are ready for your next visit, you’ll be delighted with A Churn for the Worse.

Need to book more visits?  Here are the Amish Mysteries in order.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.


Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner next Thursday, March 10th, so please leave your comment before 12:01AM Pacific Time on 3/10.  You will have until midnight on 3/15 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 3/16.


  1. Wow. What a beautiful review. I can't tell you how much it means to me, as a writer, to work so hard on something, and put your heart into it for months, and to have the person on the other end see it the same way. Thank you.

  2. Thanks for the great review. I've heard good things about this books from friends who have already read it. Now I'm excited to read it, too. frybb @

  3. Thank you for the giveaway opportunity!

  4. Another great review. Pushing this series higher on my TBR list. Thanks for the chance to win.

  5. Love this series -- great review!

  6. Now I really want to start reading this series! Thanks for the giveaway!

  7. No need to enter me, I have it and am hoping to get started this weekend. I love your review and you're spot on about being transported to Heavenly, I always feel that I am there when I read this series.

  8. I love this series. It's one of my favorites. I am looking forward to reading this one as well, especially after reading this review. Thanks!

  9. Very good review. You said just enough to intrigue readers. I love to read books in order that are in a series. You are right about the character development with each book becoming more defined.

  10. Great review, Mark! Now, if I can just win the book!!! šŸ˜„

  11. Thank you for reviewing A Churn for the Worse. I've been interested in Amish mysteries, and your review gave me a glimpse of what I could expect with this series. I'd love to win a copy.
    Lauigl [at] carolina [dot] rr [dot] com

  12. I really enjoy this series too and agree they should be read in order. For similar reasons, plus her growing within ease with the Amish community.

  13. Great review. This would be a good book to add to my cozy challenge list. Thanks for a chance to win a copy.

  14. I love this series, really enjoy reading about the Amish. Can't wait to read the newest book in the series.

  15. This is a great series and I look forward to book 5.

  16. I have yet to read the debut of this series, but, I have read Laura's (aka Elizabeth Lynn Casey) Southern Sewing Circle series and just love it to pieces! Thank you Mark for a chance at the give-a-way.

    1. ooops! Here's my email addy: sxygrndma48{at}yahoo{dot}com

  17. I haven't read this series but it sounds like fun! Thank you for the giveaway.

  18. i havven't read the series but would love to have read alot of amish and love the groups i am in that are cozy mysteries to get a heads up about this will read and review at 2 sites if i win

  19. Thanks so much for your wonderful review and for the opportunity to win!

  20. I've been wanting to read this series for a while now. Your review tells me I was right to put it on my TBR list. I'm also a die hard read in order person šŸ˜Š

  21. I really enjoy your reviews! Gives me inspiration to improve mine... :)

    Kelly Braun


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