I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. A B.R.A.G. MEDALLION HONOREE
Vain Pursuits by J. B. Hawker opens with Bunny Elder and her sister, Taffy flying off to Italy. Anyone who has a sibling will know that one of the two of you can be rather difficult and one of you will bend over backwards to be accommodating. These sisters are no different which is partly why it is a fun relaxing and yet exciting mystery!
Taffy, newly widowed wished to purchase a unique naivety scene to add to her collection. Bunny went with her as a travel companion. While on their whirlwind trip, not only does Taffy get her unique naivety scene but a shepherd figurine is thrust upon her by a shop owner. Thus begins their trip of coincidences, Italian Mobsters, stolen religious icons and an opportunity to explore an old romance with new insights.
Bunny has the patience of a saint … between her sister and her ex-husband, Bunny has a lot on her plate. Not only does she run afoul of Italian mobsters in a case of mistaken identity but she has the marks of the beating to prove it!
After having survived her previous encounter with a killer, these killers have more plans and the means to carry out their plan. “She couldn’t imagine what made people want to try to kill her. Bunny had always considered herself to be fairly innocuous and inconspicuous. She’d even toyed from time to time with the possibility the camouflage of middle-age was rendering her invisible.”
Grounded in her faith, Bunny must struggle to find balance between her faith and her ex-husband whom she still loves. Stubborn as she is faithful, Max struggles to draw Bunny to the “dark side.” Moments of truth are shared but I am left wondering if the truth Max reveals is really the truth or “his” truth so he can sleep at night.
The seriously weakened and dying Anthony, the “Godfather” of the mob, encounters both Taffy and Bunny on the plane from the U.S. to Italy. When he sees they are the ones who claimed the shepherd, he falls to the ground. “He looked at Taffy a few moments, smiled and sighed, “Not hell, then. Praise the good God.” This revelation of Anthony’s and his death does not prevent Bunny from being tortured for answers she cannot give to the new “Godfather” and his goons. Kidnapped, beaten and soon facing death – will Bunny, Taffy and Max survive?
The layout of each book is done in a subtle yet inspirational manner – the sharing of biblical verses at the beginning of each chapter that connect with the plot and/or character development is very well done. Her writing is smooth and logical. She balances everything perfectly.
Vain Pursuits is an inspirational book, one that is easy to read yet has some difficult truths – women are beaten and murdered, faith is sometimes difficult to hold close to one’s heart and sometimes family and love are painful.
If you enjoy cozy and inspirational mysteries, this is an excellent choice. WordsAPlenty gives this B.R.A.G. Medallion winner a 5 star rating.
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