Weeks ago I talked about finally getting my hands on the Julia Spencer-Fleming mystery series that so many of my friends have been talking about. When too many gush about a series or an author I tend to start backing away from it. I have a contrarian personality, what can I say?
It took me over a week to finish the first book, In The Bleak Midwinter. Normally I can finish a standard paperback book in one or two sittings. The delay with this book did not bode well and I was a disheartened. The first half of the book was good—well written and interesting—I liked the main characters, but it didn’t captivate and suck me in as I thought it would. So I would put the book down, read something else for a couple days and then come back to it. The funny thing is I always came back to it eventually … the storyline and main characters started to live in my head and I could hear them whispering in the back of my mind. I didn’t know what they were saying but I knew something was going on and dang it all if my curiosity didn’t keep me going back to see what these fools were up to. Sure enough, after a series of starts and stops, I got completely sucked in … not by the mystery, which was solid enough, but by Russ and Clare, the protagonist-sleuthing duo. She is an Episcopal priest and he is the chief of police. They are morality personified. They are also unexpected soul mates kept fundamentally apart by a wall of mutual respect, circumstance and just plain old bad timing. Plus, Russ is married and ever faithful to his wife. And there’s a teensy decade-plus age difference. And oh, yes, ethics. Pesky, pesky ethics keep getting in the way.