Release Date: Feb 26, 2019
Series: Seaside Cafe
Everly Swan is delighted to be catering an old friend’s wedding on the beautiful beach of Charm, North Carolina. The event also gives Everly the chance to promote the food and drinks from her new iced tea shop and café. Judy’s wedding to her wealthy groom comes after a whirlwind courtship, so Judy becomes the prime suspect when Craig is found dead at their reception. Although Judy isn’t one of Everly’s closest friends, she can’t believe she would murder Craig. Everly is determined to find the real killer, even when danger hits even closer to home.
This book is the second in the series, but the author does a good job of summarizing important points about Everly and the town in the first few chapters. I didn’t read the first book, but the author is able to get me to care about the characters and keep the story moving with just the right amount of backstory. The first part of the book flies by as Everly tries to find out who besides Judy had a motive to kill Craig. However, some of the details I was hoping for never came out. It would have been great to see Judy talking to Everly more about her relationship with Craig and why she shouldn’t be a suspect. Instead, Judy clings to an old friend who seems to want to rekindle more than a friendship with her while Everly investigates the murder without guidance from the bride.
I enjoy Everly’s friendship with Amelia and how they help each other out. I also enjoy her growing friendship with Detective Grady Hays and the obvious spark between them. When the book focuses on those relationships and the murder investigation, it is excellent. However, there are a couple of subplots that detract from the main story. Everly helps Fran and Clara make a movie about bees and although this shows the close relationship between Everly and her two aunts, I would have rather have had more scenes with Everly working at her restaurant. There is also a subplot with Everly’s ex-boyfriend that looks like will continue to be a factor in the next book. In addition, a new character named Ryan, a reporter also investigating the murder, was very annoying, but played a large role in the story. After putting herself in danger a few different times and a few false leads, the case is eventually solved.
This book has a lot of elements I like – a beach setting, seaside café, a likable heroine and her best friend, as well as a handsome, kind love interest for the main character. I like the main plot of the book, but don’t like some of the new characters and subplots which take away from the main plot and prevent the reader from getting to know the main characters better. There is a lot of potential for Everly and Grady as a couple and possibly working together on the next investigation, as long as some of the new developments introduced at the end of this book don’t get in the way.