Monday, May 16, 2011
Teeny Templeton believes that her life is finally on track. She’s getting married, she’s baking her own wedding cake, and she’s leaving her troubled past behind. And then? She finds her fiancé playing naked badminton with a couple of gorgeous, skanky chicks.
Add a whole lot of trouble . . .
Needless to say, the wedding is off. Adding insult to injury, her fiancé slaps a restraining order on her. When he’s found dead a few days later, all fingers point to Teeny.
And stir like crazy!
Her only hope is through an old boyfriend-turned-lawyer, the guy who broke her heart a decade ago. But dredging up the past brings more than skeletons out of the closet, and Teeny doesn’t know who she can trust. With evidence mounting and the heat turning up, Teeny must also figure out where to live, how to support herself, how to clear her name, and how to protect her heart. -- Minotaur
In my pre-blogging days, I used to read all of Michael Lee West's novels. I remember them being a lot of fun and a great way to escape. So when I discovered that Ms. West has a new book out called GONE WITH A HANDSOMER MAN, I figured it was a great time to revisit this author. And boy am I glad I did. This novel was not only very funny with some extremely quirky characters, but it was also a mystery -- and perfect for Mystery Mondays! I don't think I knew that it was a mystery when I started reading it -- I just assumed it was Southern chick lit. Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised!
Teeny Templeton's life seems to be on the right track. She's getting married to a "great" guy and she's even taking classes so she can make and decorate her own wedding cake. When her class is canceled at the last minute, she comes home to find her fiancee rollicking with two naked women. Her life immediately comes crashing down a few days later when her ex-fiance is found dead. Guess who's the primary suspect?
But it gets really interesting when Teeny runs into her first love Coop and they decide to rekindle their old romance. Things get pretty hot and heavy between the two, but when Teeny needs Coop's expertise as a lawyer, they are forced to slow down. You know... that whole professional distance thing. There was a pretty big romance aspect to this novel and I enjoyed the chemistry (and complications) between Teeny and Coop. I'm not the best judge, but I'm pretty sure that fans of romance will be pleased with these scenes.
GONE WITH A HANDSOMER MAN also will appeal to foodies. Teeny loves to cook (and eat) and I could certainly relate to her constant preoccupation with food. The descriptions of the cakes (and the rest of the food) were wonderful and made me want to start baking, and the author even included a few recipes in the back of the book. There were also many references to Teeny's unusual family cookbook which caused me to chuckle a few times.
Even though I really liked this novel, I'm not sure the mystery part of the story was my favorite element. It did keep me guessing for awhile, although I'm happy to say that I did figure out who was the culprit before the end of the book (and that's very unusual for me!) To me, the beauty of this story was the characters... and, of course, the humor. I cannot tell you how many times GONE WITH A HANDSOMER MAN made me laugh out loud. Ms. West's writing is very funny and these characters that she created are downright hilarious.
While I wasn't exactly surprised by the resolution of the mystery, the last sentence of the book knocked me for a loop. (Do not skip to the back of the book -- just let yourself be surprised!) It was a fun twist and definitely sets up a sequel. I sincerely hope Ms. West has one in the works because I look forward to reading about more of Teeny's antics and her potential relationship with Coop.
I thoroughly enjoyed GONE WITH A HANDSOMER MAN and I highly recommend it to fans of Southern fiction, food books, chick lit and mysteries. It's a very funny read and perfect for summer reading.
Thanks to AuthorOnTheWeb for sending a copy of this book.
Mystery Mondays is a "somewhat" regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.