Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am thrilled to share with you this first book in a new series by Mollie Cox Bryan!
Christmas Cow Bells (A Buttermilk Creek Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting – Virginia
Kensington (September 24, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 336 pages
Kindle ASIN: B07MH9XYHY
The first novel in Mollie Cox Bryan’s brand new mystery series, set in the Blue Ridge Mountains, will keep you guessing until the cows come home . . .
Christmas is a time for new beginnings, so after her big breakup, Brynn MacAlister takes the gouda with the bad. With her three Red Devon cows, she settles in bucolic Shenandoah Springs, eager for a new life as an organic micro-dairy farmer and cheese-maker. Then her dear cow Petunia’s bellows set the whole town on edge. But it isn’t until Brynn’s neighbor, Nancy, dies in a mysterious fire that her feelings about small town life begin to curdle . . .
It seems some folks were not happy with Nancy’s plan to renovate the Old Glebe Church. But is a fear of change a motivation for murder? As a newcomer, Brynn can’t ignore the strange events happening just on the other side of her frosty pasture—and soon on her very own farm. Suddenly Christmas doesn’t feel so festive as everyone demands she muzzle sweet Petunia, and Brynn is wondering if someone wants to silence her—for good . . .
Brynn MacAlister follows her dream on her own leaving her cheating ex behind when she moves to Shenandoah Springs with her three Red Devon cows, Petunia, Buttercup, and Marigold to open an organic micro-dairy and make cheese. Petunia is suffering after a stillborn calf. While trying to soothe her cow a Brynn suffers another loss. Her friend and neighbor, Nancy dies in a fire when the old church she is living in and renovating for her business burns down. It looks like arson, and Nancy had run into some difficulty with a few people not wanting the Old Glebe Church transitioning to something other than a place of worship, but would they burn the church down with her in it because they didn’t like her business plan?
The whole thing puts an even bigger damper on Brynn’s Christmas spirit. After meeting Nancy’s family she feels a push to find the truth, but like Nancy, Brynn is a newcomer. Could her snooping lead to her demise as well?
This series is off to a spectacular start! That cover is just delightful and fun. I had to know more about those holiday attired cows.
Mollie Cox Bryan has created some wonderful characters, two-legged as well as four-legged. I liked Brynn right away and was cheering on her success both in sleuthing and cheesemaking the entire book. She is smart while still realizing her independence and didn’t back down even when threatened. That’s not to say she wasn’t scared, because she was but she persevered. She was surrounded by the requisite cozy quirky characters, diverse in age and beliefs. As a newcomer, Brynn had to learn who to trust and who were truly suspects.
The mystery was very well-plotted with plenty of clues. Brynn did her best to keep the sheriff and fire marshall informed of everything she found or the threats she received even when one of them wasn’t always receptive. I was totally caught by surprise as the story played out and clues continued to fall into place.
I have always enjoyed this author’s writing style. She uses the perfect amount of description to put the reader on the scene without ever going overboard. It is easy to envision time, place, people and even the weather.
As a Wisconsinite, I love the farm and cheesemaking theme, the only thing that would have made it better was for the series to be set here 😀 I loved the connection of Brynn’s cows to her grandmother and how as a chemistry student a course in cheesemaking changed her life. I enjoyed learning about Brynn’s cheesemaking process and why she ended up with the Buttermilk Creek Farm.
Christmas Cow Bells hit all the right notes. Loveable characters and a puzzler of a mystery. It also leaves readers excited for the next book in the series. Brynn has made some new friends, she is about to get help on the farm and her four-legged family has grown by one. I am really looking forward to the continuation of Brynn’s story.
About Mollie Cox Bryan
Also by Mollie Cox Bryan
Thanks to the publisher I have 1 copy to give away!
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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.”