Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am pleased to welcome Bailey Cattrell to Escape With Dollycas today!
Daisies For Innocence is first in the Enchanted Garden Mystery series and features Elliana Allbright, aromatherapist extraordinaire and owner of Scents & Nonsense. A thirty-something recent divorcee, Ellie has lived in Poppyville, California her entire life.
In fact, her great, great grandfather was one of the founders of the town – along with Pauline “Poppy” Thierry, the local madam in 1849. Originally settled in order to cater to the miners headed into the Sierra Nevada Mountains during the California Gold Rush, modern-day Poppyville is a tourist town chock full of Old West flavor and offering nearby hot springs, mountain biking, horseback riding, and fly fishing.
Ellie lives with Dash, her Pembroke Welsh corgi, in a super-efficient Tiny House at the back of the Scents & Nonsense property. The shop is guarded day and night by a Russian blue shorthair named Nabokov who regularly attracts clusters of blue butterflies when he ventures out to sun himself in the garden. By the end of the book, Ellie’s growing menagerie is joined by a beta fish named Leonard.
The space between Ellie’s home and work is packed with garden beds connected by winding stone paths. There are seating areas and cozy alcoves interspersed with fairy houses, gnome doors and miniature tableaus tucked in surprising nooks and crannies. An etched boulder in the center of the space declares it The Enchanted Garden, and over time it has gained a reputation as a place for children to come explore the tiny “fairy” worlds while their parents have a cup of tea and nibble on the cookies Ellie’s best friend, Astrid Moneypenny, brings into the shop each morning.
However, the Enchanted Garden also provides the flowers and plants Ellie distills down into custom “perfumes” that do more than just smell good. She learned about plants and their essences from her gamma, who left behind a dog-eared but beautifully illustrated garden journal and an ancient, copper alembic. An alembic is a kind of still (think moonshine), but much smaller and used for distilling essential oils.
Her whole life, Ellie always had a fine-tuned sense of smell, which, combined with a natural ability to know how scents can help other people, uniquely qualifies her to create her special perfumes. When Astrid calls it a superpower, Ellie just laughs, but it turns out Astrid might be more right than Ellie realizes!
In Daisies For Innocence, Ellie’s part-time employee, Josie Overland, confesses that she has been dating Ellie’s ex-husband for a month or so. Ellie is surprised and worried at this news, as she doesn’t want Josie to get hurt the same way she did. But when she finds Josie dead on the boardwalk in front of Scents & Nonsense the next morning, she is unable to convince Detective Max Lang that she had no motive to kill Josie. After all, Max and Ellie’s ex, Harris, are best friends, and Harris has painted Ellie to be a jealous shrew.
Fortunately, Max’s partner, Detective Lupe Garcia is open to looking for other suspects. Unfortunately, Garcia’s new to town, and so it’s up to Ellie and Astrid to ferret out the real killer. Ellie also gets help from members of the Greenstockings, her women’s business group, and Ritter Nelson, an old high-school crush who is back in town visiting his sister.
And then there’s the mysterious plant that sprouted under the birdbath the same day Josie was killed – a plant that grows faster than anything Ellie has ever seen and that she can’t identify anywhere except in her gamma’s journal. As she looks into the life of a woman she thought she knew while hunting for her murderer, Ellie waits for the chance to distill the strange plant’s heady essence – and whatever memories it might bring – for herself.
The book includes a recipe for Astrid’s Chewy Double Chocolate Chunk Hazelnut Cookies, aromatherapy tips, and essential oil blends for things like relaxations and concentration. There’s also the first chapter of Brownies and Broomsticks, the first of the NYT bestselling Magical Bakery Mysteries that I write as Bailey Cates.
Next up? Spells and Scones, the sixth Magical Bakery mystery, will release in July, 2016, and I’m currently working on the second Enchanted Garden Mystery, Nightshade for Warning.
For more information about all my books, please visit www.baileycates.com, Like my page on Facebook, and follow me on Twitter.
Daisies For Innocence:
An Enchanted Garden Mystery
New Cozy Mystery Series
Setting – California
An Obsidian Mystery
Published by New American Library (January 5, 2016)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
E-Book ASIN: B00W2ZKKM4
From Bailey Cattrell—who writes the New York Times bestselling Magical Bakery Mysteries as Bailey Cates—comes the first Enchanted Garden Mystery featuring custom perfume maker Elliana Allbright…
The Enchanted Garden behind Elliana Allbright’s perfume shop draws people of all ages with its fragrant flowers and lush greenery. But when the magical serenity is interrupted, it’s up to Ellie to sniff out a killer.
Ellie’s life has blossomed in Poppyville, California, since she opened Scents & Nonsense, a custom-made-perfume store. Her skills with aromas and botanical essences—some from her very own garden—seem almost…supernatural. Her perfumes can evoke emotions, bring about change, or simply make people happy. Customers are flocking to the store to buy her wares or just to sit in her beautiful garden, sip tea and enjoy homemade cookies.
But she smells trouble when she learns that her part-time assistant Josie is dating her ex. And before she can tell the young woman to beware of his charms, she finds Josie dead in the Enchanted Garden. Now the prime suspect in Josie’s murder, Ellie must search for the real culprit in Josie’s past—because it’ll take a miracle to nip this problem in the bud….
Elliana Allbright has a fantastic place in Poppyville, California. At the front of her lot is Scents & Nonsense, her store, where she sells items scented from the flowers in her very own garden. The Enchanted Garden fills the side and back yards right up to the front of her tiny house. I can picture it so clearly in my mind with her bird bath and other whimsical touches surrounded by flowers that bloom all year. Even a few extra special varieties.
Ellie has a gift of matching the right scent to each person for any occasion and her Gamma’s journal is the guidebook to everything growing in the garden. Everything is coming up roses until her friend and employee, Josie Overland, is pushing up daisies, dead in the garden. Not so enchanting.
The was a fun read. Because of the location of the body, Elliana is the prime suspect. One of the officers on the case is best friends with her ex so she knows she isn’t going to get much help there but his partner, Detective Lupe Garcia, has a more open mind and actually investigates. I liked that Ellie didn’t just jump into the investigation. She stayed in touch with Garcia and they shared infomation. We meet several unique characters throughout the book. Friends from her high school days, friends that Ellie made before her divorce and new friends since opening her store. Ellie shop also has a resident feline and she has a Welsh Corgi named Dash too.
The book started a little slow for me but soon I was fully engaged and stayed up until early in the morning to finish. The mystery has its share of plot twists to keep readers guessing and I was surprised to learn I had picked the right culprit from the bunch.
I loved the aromatherapy theme and was thrilled to see the blends at the end of the story.
Bailey Cattrell has planted all the seeds to get this series off to a blooming start.
Writing as Bailey Cates
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. 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.”