Lies of Omission: A Hanneke Bauer Mystery
Historical Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Level Best Books (November 30, 2021)
Paperback : 260 pages
ISBN-10 : 168512027X
ISBN-13 : 978-1685120276
Kindle ASIN : B09K4LWGL8
When Pomeranian immigrant Hanneke Bauer reaches Wisconsin in 1855, she believes her dearest dreams are coming true. After reuniting with her husband Fridolin at his farm near Watertown, she will help create a true home. Instead, she receives the shocking news that he is dead.
Hanneke quickly learns that Wisconsin life is not as bucolic as it seems. Alone and destitute, she is determined to discover the details of Fridolin’s death. Her efforts prompt animosity from his friends, anger the deputy sheriff and entangle her in the rising tide of anti-immigrant sentiment. Finding herself in danger, Hanneke races to learn the truth about her husband’s secrets and lies…before a killer can silence her forever.
Like many Pomeranian immigrants, Hanneke Bauer is coming to America full of dreams for her future. She has traveled a long way to reunite with her husband Fridolin and has finally reached Wisconsin. But he wasn’t there to meet her when she got off the ship so she makes her own way to Watertown anxious to start their life together. Her search leads her to a local hotel. There she learns her husband was killed in a freak farming accident and that he never mentioned to anyone about having a wife. The sheriff even tells her to get out of his town. Scared and unsure how to proceed she befriends a young pregnant woman who gives her a job and a place to rest. She quickly learns that America is not the safe haven she sought. She also knows in her heart her husband’s death was not an accident. As she tries to get to the truth she finds that her husband omitted much about his life in Wisconsin. She puts herself in danger to find out what he was hiding and why. An investigation that could get her killed as well.
Kathleen Ernst is an amazing storyteller. In this first book in the Hanneke Bauer Mystery Series following the wonderful Chloe Ellefson Mystery Series, she takes her readers back to a tumultuous time in Wisconsin. In 1855 it was the height of the nativist movement where people were up in arms by all Irish and German Catholic immigrants flowing into the country. It was also the time of the Fugitive Slave Act and slaves who had escaped bondage traveled through Wisconsin north for freedom. We see this time through Hanneke’s eyes as she tries to make her way in her new world. The author has fictionalized this time but I think she captured it realistically.
Hanneke is a strong courageous woman, she had to be. She had no idea who she could trust especially when no one believed she was Fridolin’s wife. She also had no money to return home. Her friend Angela was a strong woman as well as she was dealing with making a life for herself after her brother left her. Both women are so well crafted. They are easy to identify with and root for. Ms. Ernst has surrounded these women with a real menagerie of supporting cast that ran the gambit of creepy, frightening, and mean. By the end, thankfully, a few helpful folks enter the story showing there were good people in the area.
The mystery of Fridolin’s death was very complex. The title fits the story perfectly. Lies of Omission were the driving force behind all of Hanneke’s experiences. Her drive to delve for the truth was something I really admired. She made some wrong assumptions and walked dangerous lines which came from the perfectly timed twists the author plotted out so well. She also painted such vivid pictures with her words to set every scene whether Hanneke was walking down a dirt road or watching protestors marching through the town, or when she made an unbelievable discovery. With the story being set so close to home for me I felt even closer to Hanneke and her struggle.
Lies of Omission was a fantastic read. I am very excited about this series. The author draws from all her historical studies to write stories that stick with her readers. This one will surely stick with me until we get to visit Hanneke Bauer again. You will definitely find Lies of Ommission on my Best Reads List for 2022. I am giving it my Paradise Rating. Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent
Kathleen Ernst is a social historian, educator, and bestselling author. Kathleen’s forty-one published books encompass mysteries, historical fiction, poetry, and non-fiction. The Chloe Ellefson Mysteries feature a museum curator whose knowledge of the past helps solve contemporary crimes. Her children’s books include twenty titles for American Girl. Honors for Kathleen’s work include multiple Agatha nominations, an Edgar nomination, a Lovey Award for Best Traditional Mystery, the American Heritage Women in the Arts Recognition Award for Literature from the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, a Major Achievement Award from the Council for Wisconsin Writers, the Sterling North Legacy Award for Children’s Literature, and an Emmy Award for Children’s Instructional Programming. Kathleen lives in Middleton, Wisconsin, with her husband Scott (AKA Mr. Ernst) and feline muse Eliza.
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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.”