Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel

Lock, Stock, and Over a Barrel
A Dear Daphne Novel
Melody Carlson
(B&H Publishing)
ISBN: 978-1433679308
June 2013/320 pages/$14.99

With high hopes, Daphne Ballinger lands her dream job at The New York Times. But it's not long until writing about weddings becomes a painful reminder of her own failed romance, and her love of the city slowly sours as well. Is it time to give up the Big Apple for her small hometown of Appleton?

When her eccentric Aunt Dee passes away and leaves a sizeable estate to Daphne, going back home is an easy choice. What isn’t easy is coming to terms with the downright odd clauses written into the will.

Daphne only stands to inherit the estate if she agrees to her aunt's very specific posthumous terms -- personal and professional. And if she fails to comply, the sprawling old Victorian house shall be bequeathed to . . . Aunt Dee’s cats.

And if Daphne thinks that’s odd, wait until she finds out an array of secrets about Aunt Dee's life, and how imperfect circumstances can sometimes lead to God's perfect timing.


Melody Carlson has sold more than five million books. A professional writer for twenty years, she recently received the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award. Melody has two grown sons and lives with her husband in the Pacific Northwest.


Melody Carlson begins a new series with this light-hearted novel about a writer who unexpectedly inherits her aunt's entire estate, along with a few secrets and a rather daunting stipulation-that she marry within the year or the house and money will go to a foundation to care for Aunt Dee's two beloved cats and other felines. While there is much to like about this story, it is not my favorite by Carlson. At times, Daphne acted much younger than her mid-thirties age regarding relationships and seemed a bit flaky. Additionally, I felt like the aspect of divorce was treated far too casually for a Christian novel. (To clarify, divorce is not the unpardonable sin, but I do believe the Bible indicates that it and the issue of remarriage are not to be taken lightly.) I also had a hard time connecting with the title for this story; it seemed more apropos for a historical than for this contemporary novel. Overall, the novel felt just felt rushed and not as well-written as others that Melody Carlson has produced in the past. Others are giving it highly positive reviews, however, so check out their thoughts on Amazon and other sites. On the plus side, it does contain an excellent message about finding contentment in God rather than always looking for "the right person" to marry. I'm not dismissing the entire series; I'm curious how Daphne's life will continue to unfold in the next book and hope that it's more along the lines of what I've come to expect from Melody Carlson's pen.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of this an advanced copy book from Shelton Interactive & B&H Publishing as part of a blog tour. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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1 comment:

Diane Estrella said...

Great review. Thanks for sharing!

BTW-I have numerous book giveaways going on at my site if you want to stop over and take a look.

Also, I am hosting a "Best of Books" BlogHop if you'd like to check that out and sign up.

Hope you have a wonderful week!!!