Fronds and Enemies: An English Cottage Garden Mystery By H.Y. Hanna: Review/Giveaway

Apr 17, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Fronds and Enemies, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

Country Life is Green!
Along with a “green thumb,” albeit still in training, twenty-something Poppy Lancaster inherited Hollyhock Cottage and a “need some TLC” cottage garden nursery situated in the heart of the Oxfordshire countryside. The small village of Bunnington is a far cry from her life in London, but Poppy is beginning to fit well into village life making new friends and working hard to reenergize the business of which her grandmother was so proud. Poppy does run into several problems, including a few dead bodies, but there’s always a friend to support her: surrogate mother Nell Hopkins has become a housemate and confidant, next door neighbor Dr. “Bertie” Noble always has some “not always ready to save the day” inventions, DI Suzanne Whittaker has a keen law enforcement perspective, the delicious crime writer Nick Forrest offers a hint of romance, and a ginger tom named Oren is more demanding for special treats than helpful in a pinch. But, life in the Cotswolds is not all perennials, seedlings, and floral displays; Poppy has been plagued with “wrong place, wrong time” timing and running afoul of DS Amory Lee. Life in the English countryside is unpredictably entertaining!

Fronds and Enemies earns 5/5 Garden Gnomes…Engaging, Clever Favorite!
Poppy is still struggling to make a success of her garden nursery and compete with the big garden centers for everyone’s plant needs. Her pleasant personality presents well to her customers, but her fledgling expertise doesn’t always work in her favor. Then there’s the rash, a hazard of working around thorny flora, and Nell is adamant she see the village GP to ensure it doesn’t get seriously infected. There she discovers interesting people, a cute toddler, and loads of gossip, especially about the handsome GP. Surprisingly, Dr. Seymour, too, is an avid gardener and president of the local Oxfordshire Auricula Club, but it’s his wife that makes the most “vitriol” impression…brash, demanding, and very critical about her husband’s office hours, his needy patients, and his young practice manager Yvonne. It seems a simple “cut and dry” case of murder when Poppy, retracing her steps to locate a lost necklace, happens upon the body of the young Yvonne…dead! But the doctor’s reactions, curious connections, and missing laundry make village life once again very complicated for Poppy.

Bloomin’ Fun! H.Y. Hanna has created a well-developed fifth mystery in one of my favorite series, an English Cottage Garden Mystery, with a Neighborhood Watch fanatic, missing undergarments, an “Auricula” club, and a couple of murders to solve! The idyllic village is once again the setting of murder and unusual thievery along with peeping Toms, snooping Sallys, and an uneasy feeling of being watched. The evolving personal connection between Poopy and Nick Forrest, the crime writer neighbor for which she has a sweet spot, is still in the “dancing around the issue” stage, but his current tangles with the tabloid press and local law enforcement provide the opportunity to explore an “I got your back” friendship. The investigation, which includes conflicts with the local detective sergeant, weaves in and out of various personal and professional motives, all attached to a possible suspect, so honing in on “the one” was a challenge for this cozy amateur detective. Compelled to keep turning the pages, this third person narrative is filled with expressive descriptions, clever banter, a few humorous mishaps, and an “Oh, wow, I didn’t see that coming!” ending. And the wind-up continues to offer some funny predicaments along with a fascinating cliffhanger about the “greatest mystery” of Poppy’s life.

The whole series is my top favorite, set in my favorite part of the world, and filled with characters that solicit all kinds of engaging reactions from admiration and curiosity to frustration and “please arrest them now!” Hanna’s ability to describe various local flora adds the right amount of realism (she herself is a gardener), and for a bit of fun, there’s always Dr. Bertie whose efforts to “help” often fall short. Animal lovers will delight in the ginger tom Oren who has a bigger, more mischievous, role and the little terrier Einstein who has a penchant for getting into trouble, too. Those of us who like a bit of romance in our cozy, still wait for some real movement on that front. All in all…entertaining, compelling, and mixed with a few giggles!

English Cottage Garden Mystery
Deadhead and Buried (2019) KRL Review HERE?
Silent Bud Deadly (2019) KRL Review HERE?
Doom and Bloom (2019) KRL Review HERE?
Trowel and Error (2020) KRL Review HERE
Fronds and Enemies (2021)
ALERT! Too Mulch to Handle (TBA)

Be a Big H.Y. Hanna Fan!
USA Today bestselling author H.Y. Hanna is the author of my all-time favorite series; the now ten-book Oxford Tearoom Mystery always adds a little treat for me to bring a proper English tearoom into my home. Another top favorite is the six-book Bewitched by Chocolate series sprinkling a bit of magic to the delectable descriptions of all things chocolate. She has given me another favorite with this four-book English Cottage Garden Mystery planting wonderful characters and a clever mystery along with a bit of humor. All of her series are in print and eBook, but several are produced in audio format giving readers a little extra with the delightful voice artistry of narrator Pearl Hewitt who enriches the already engaging story with varied accents, dialects, emotions, and tone. I always say, “Murder is better with an English accent.”

Facebook – H.Y. Hanna Books
Website – H.Y. Hanna
Twitter At @_HYHanna

Spring is Here!
The temperatures are slowly warming, the rain seems to have fled, and gardens are ready to be dressed in the finest flora. Check out these resources, links, and videos to turn your space into a rainbow of color!

HOW TO START A FLOWER GARDEN IN 3 STEPS Learn how to start a flower garden or make your existing flower beds burst with color and excitement. Garden Design By Linda Hagen; updated 9/3/20.

ARE YOU A BRITBOX MEMBER? BritBox is not just television dramas and comedies to mini series and movies, it is also the home for a variety of documentaries. Check out this shows that highlight all things gardening.

Muesli taking time to smell the roses… or penstemon, in this case!

The Instant Gardener “In a refreshing accessible twist on traditional gardening shows, renowned garden designer Danny Clark renovates the gardens of deserving member of the public in one day.”

The Beechgrove Garden “For over 40 years, our favorite Scottish gardening gurus have offered helpful advice and tips on all things horticulture.”

Life in a Cottage Garden “Gardening expert Carol Klein guides us through the yearly cycle of her own garden – the preparations of autumn, hidden secrets of winter, rebirth of spring, and fertility of summer.”

Gardeners’ World “The BBC’s flagship gardening show packed with down-to-earth advice and timely reminders from experts to get the most out of your garden, whatever its size or type.”

Edible Garden “Join Gardeners’ World presenter Alys Fowler on her mission to prove that growing and cooking your own fruit and vegetables can be rewarding, cost-effective, and life enhancing.”

To enter to win an ebook copy of Fronds and Enemies, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “fronds,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen April 24, 2021. U.S. residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book from Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  2. Fronds and Enemies: An English Cottage Garden Mystery By H.Y. Hanna:
    Thanks for the opportunity to win your book! Congratulations!! Good luck!!

  3. Always looking for new authors to read, sounds good! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

  4. Would really love to read. Thanks for the chance.

  5. Love the cover! Thanks for the chance. JL_Minter(at)hotmail(dot)com

  6. With spring arriving soon, it’s time
    to get to the nursery for plants.
    this book is timely and sounds
    interesting. thanks

  7. I love the book cover! Is that your cat???
    Thank you for the chance to win your wonderful giveaway!!!

  8. We have a winner!


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