Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am excited to have Wendy Tyson here to visit today!
Her latest book Seeds of Revenge was released yesterday!
Escape with Dollycas
By Wendy Tyson
One of my earliest memories as a child involved a trip to the Pennsylvania countryside. I was about three or four years old, and my parents took me and my brother to visit friends in the mountains. We drove to their farmhouse in the evening, and when we arrived it was late. I remember a collage of sensations: cold air against my skin, an endless sky, a cozy bedroom, the soft fur of their cat, and a warm bed with a thick quilt and coverlet. I can’t tell you much else about that visit beyond how it made me feel, but for some reason the experience stayed with me.
It was only recently that I realized I’d recreated some of that feeling in our new home, a chalet in Vermont’s Green Mountains. The house is tiny by today’s standards, but cozy, and the living room looks out on a deck and the mountains beyond. We keep the house cool, but I’ve dressed the beds with heavy quilts—the weight of the blankets is somehow a comfort. At night when I walk the dogs, my senses are assaulted by the scents and sounds of the surrounding woods.
In the spring, the peeper frogs chirp in an amphibian chorus, and coyotes, owls, turkeys, and bullfrogs are often heard in the summer and fall through our open windows. Winter is dead quiet, except for the wind and occasional freezing rain/sleet pelting the metal roof—but the view of the snow carpeting the countryside? Breathtaking. The biggest delight of all may be the night sky. We’re treated to a blanket of stars on clear nights, and sometimes my family and I will spend hours outside, identifying constellations and enjoying the peace.
The house is a favorite place to write. When it’s cold outside (or buggy), I pull the table in front of the window and write on my laptop, but in the summer (once the black flies are gone), I write outside, either on the deck or at a table under a tree in the woods. I prefer a view when I write. Maybe it’s the series I’m working on, but the connection to nature helps me think.
In some way I’ve created a similar retreat with my Greenhouse mysteries—Washington Acres Farm. Megan and her grandmother Bibi—along with two dogs, two goats, a barn cat, and a brood of chickens—live in the Pennsylvania countryside, in an old farmhouse, surrounded by woods. The kitchen is an amalgamation of the kitchens I grew up in, especially those of my grandmothers. It’s not modern or flashy. The cabinets are old, built by Megan’s grandfather in his workshop. There’s no island or high-end appliances. Instead, a beat-up farm table functions as workspace and an eating area. The gas stove is old but reliable, and the double farmhouse sink is often filled with fresh vegetables from the farm waiting to be simmered or stewed or steamed.
The Washington Acres farm kitchen is a place to congregate and talk. Tough discussions are had there. And often it’s the place the pieces of a mystery come together.
Megan, a military widow and former Chicago environmental lawyer, returns to the fictional town of Winsome and her grandmother’s farm when in her early thirties, at the behest of her father, who needed Megan to stay with her grandmother. But as with many homecomings, Megan’s return to Winsome is as much a salve to her own emotional wounds as it is a help to Bibi. Megan finds healing in that kitchen, in the drafty bedrooms, within the walls of the old barn, and along the forest trails.
My mother and I discussed my early childhood memory recently. She was surprised the trip made such an impression. We only stayed at the farmhouse for one night, and by the time we arrived it was late, so she and my father put my baby brother and me to bed. It was cold outside, she said, and the house was drafty and large. She didn’t recall a cat. I slept in a room with a handmade quilt, and the next morning we had pancakes in the big working kitchen.
“You may be transferring some of your experiences from your grandmothers’ houses onto that trip,” my mom suggested. “You always like to spend time with your grandparents.”
Maybe she’s right. Maybe it was the elusive nature of such an early memory that had an indelible effect on me. Or maybe it was reinforced by the trips I would take later in life. Regardless of the why, now that I’m older and have lost so many people who were dear to me, I’m grateful I could recreate that sense of cozy in my Vermont home, and equally grateful to spend time in Washington Acres with Megan and Bibi.
I hope readers enjoy it there, too.
Thanks for visiting Wendy, I love this post!
Now let me tell you what I think of her new book. It is a Fantastic Escape!
It’s time to cuddle up with a holiday whodunit. Smell the crisp pines and baking cranberries as you sip your hot apple cider. It may be the season, but the mood in Winsome is anything but jolly.
Megan Sawyer is determined to farm year-round. So much so that she braves a December snowstorm to pitch her fresh greenhouse greens to Philadelphia chefs.
And then she sees a stranger stranded on the side of the road.
But this woman is no stranger to Winsome. It’s Becca Fox. A love chemist (you read that right). She’s headed to her aunt’s house to sell her love potions at holiday events.
Or so Becca thinks.
Her sneaky aunt only invited Becca home to reunite her with her estranged father. It sounds noble and kind-hearted, until the man ends up dead.
Megan soon finds herself in the middle. She realizes Becca’s not the only one getting iced over. Megan’s own aunt, the famous mystery author, is dragged into the drama. Her novels implicate her and she’s in trouble.
Now it’s personal. Our Megan must follow a cryptic trail of literary clues, all while sifting through the victim’s sordid past. She gets closer to the truth as the murderer gets closer to her.
How’s that for a ho ho ho? Don’t let your fresh apple crisp burn in the oven because you’re lost in this holiday homicide.
The “seeds of revenge” are planted deep within this mystery. Megan Sawyer, being the good person she is rescues a stranded motorist in the middle of a blizzard. She delivers Becca Fox right to her aunt’s door. Becca plans to sell her “love potions” at her aunt’s nursery over the holidays. Things are frosty upon her arrival as she meets her father, the man she holds responsible for her mother’s death, on her aunt’s front porch. Becca is upset about the collusion between the two. Megan finds herself in icy straights when the man is found dead. Not only is Becca a suspect but in a remarkable twist so is her own aunt, the famous mystery author. Megan has no choice but the dig in to the investigation putting herself on the killer’s hit list. It doesn’t matter if she has been naughty or nice, this could be her last Christmas in Winsome.
I have heard of love potions including the famous Love Potion #9, but I had never heard of a Love Chemist. Becca Fox has an interesting little business but she has hasn’t had it easy since her mother died. She believes her father killed her mother and she has not had anything to do with him since. She has a brother but he does not hold the same beliefs about their father. Megan is drawn to her and so was I. Becca is a complicated character and Ms. Tyson has really brought her to life in this story.
Bibi, Megan’s grandmother, reminds me so much of my own grandmother and mother. A hard working woman determined to get to the truth no matter what. She is also one to not hold her tongue. She will tell you her opinions and thoughts on virtually any subject as woman of that generation tends to do. She warms my heart.
I also love Scottish vet, Daniel “Denver” Finn and the direction of his relationship with Megan. It is fun to see this relationship grow.
The pacing of this book is different. I felt the story was unfolding at a comfortable pace, the clues were being uncovered and I was right there with Megan the entire way, engaged and captivated. The ending was a total surprise. Then I looked up and realized I had read the entire book in one sitting and faster than I had read a book in a very long time. Truly is was a fast pace story but not once did anything feel rushed or glossed over. The author delivered a truly fantastic read. I never once looked for a stopping place or even thought about putting the book down.
The characters are well defined and the mystery was exceptional. A cozy mystery with a bit of an edge and I loved it!! It was a trip to Paradise, a chilly escape in the winter but Paradise nonetheless.
You will want to start this series from the beginning and get to know the characters from the start. I am anxiously awaiting and excited for my next trip to Winsome.
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent
About The Author
Wendy Tyson is an author, lawyer and former therapist whose background has inspired her mysteries and thrillers. Wendy’s latest novel, DYING BRAND, the third Allison Campbell mystery, was released in May 2015. The first Campbell novel, KILLER IMAGE, was named a best mystery for book clubs in 2014 by Examiner.com. Wendy is also the author of The Greenhouse Mystery Series, the first, A MUDDIED MURDER, was released last year, Bitter Harvest was released today. Wendy and her husband are passionate organic gardeners. They live with their three boys and three dogs on a micro-farm just outside of Philadelphia.
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Twitter: @WendyTyson Pinterest: Greenhouse Mystery Series
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