by Cynthia Chow
& Nancy J. Parra
What is more perfect for June than a wedding mystery? We have a review & giveaway of Nancy J. Parra’s Newlywed Dead, along with a fun guest post from Nancy about weddings! Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the Newlywed Dead, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.
Newlywed Dead: A Perfect Proposals Mystery By Nancy J. Parra
Review by Cynthia Chow
Considering that planning her sister’s engagement led Pepper Pomeroy to create her Perfect Proposals business, one wouldn’t have thought that Felicity’s path down the aisle would have been strewn with so many corpses. Now that Pepper’s participation only requires being the Maid of Honor, the murder streak is one tradition she’s hoping to end. She almost makes it. Just moments after the newly married couple’s departure, Pepper is devastated to witness the collapse of bartender Ashley Klein, a woman with whom Pepper formed an early bond.
When even sympathetic Detective Brian Murphy declares Ashley’s death to be a probable accidental drug overdose, Pepper is unable to resist her need to investigate and clear the young woman’s name. A tragic shooting during her college homecoming parade left Ashley with some brain trauma, missing not only certain memories but also derailing her once promising future. That she escaped death only to meet it again a few years later is a tragedy. But is it a coincidence?
On the upside, Pepper has a promising number of clients planning their engagements and engagement parties. Strangely enough, two of the more unique proposals may actually be the most traditional. One expectant mother plans to surprise her deployed boyfriend with both a proposal and a pregnancy announcement, while another woman hopes to propose to her future bride at a cooking demonstration. What may prove to be the more troubling betrothals are those between two very affluent, and demanding, parties. Uber-controlling Jennifer McCutchen refuses to accept Brad Hurst’s proposal unless it is a complete surprise and perfectly attuned to her personality. Yet Jen also insists on being in on every step of the planning between Pepper and Brad. Despite the near-impossibility of that assignment, the prospective union between Samantha Lyn Thomson and Clark Fulcrum may be even more alarming. Barely out of high school, these two teenagers are having their marriage planned as a virtual business arrangement between their domineering respective mothers. It’s in Pepper’s best interests to give the clients what they want, but for someone who becomes emotionally invested in the future of her couples, is it what they truly need?
This author, who also writes under the name Nancy Coco, continues to craft wonderfully sharp and witty novels that always contain hidden depths of meaning. She takes a very fun concept, engagements and their celebrations, and makes it absolutely delightful for readers through the descriptions of party-planning and eventual festivities. The brilliant twist is that all of the research and organization Pepper utilizes in order to ensure successful proposals are the same attributes that make her such an effective investigator. The conclusion of the mystery is just as compelling and rewarding as all of the engagements, and the author deftly balances the two. This is an extremely original and thoroughly entertaining mystery that unites cozy genre characteristics with emotionally complex themes. This was a joy to read.
By Nancy J Parra
Weddings tell us a lot about the individual bride and groom. Some like tradition and family and they usually plan a wedding filled with culture. For instance, weddings in my family include a full mass, then off the couple and the wedding party go in decorated cars to drive around town honking and telling the world they are newlyweds. Next, is the reception with open bar and people clinking spoons on glasses to make the married couple stand up and kiss, keeping them from eating. Then, there is the band and the polkas, traditional father daughter dances, and money dances where the men pay for a shot of whiskey and a dance with the bride. The cake gets cut and the bride and groom smear each other’s faces with frosting. The garter is tossed, complete with stripper music, and the bride throws the bouquet with the single girl who catches it supposedly next in line to marry. Finally, off on the honeymoon for the couple.
Other cultures are more sedate with short church weddings and cake with punch or more elaborate with elephant rides. There is the breaking of glass, the jumping of brooms, and all in all expressions of joy—celebrations of family and hope for the future. No longer limited to church weddings, a big trend now is a destination wedding with the bride and groom marrying in an exotic place and bringing family and friends with them. Couples get married sky diving or scuba diving or skiing.
In Newlywed Dead, I based Felicity’s wedding on high society weddings with ceremony, cocktails, dinner, and dancing afterwards all in a country club setting.
What are some wedding traditions in your family? If you’re married, did you follow tradition or breakout on your own?
To enter to win a copy of Newlywed Dead, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “newlywed,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 11, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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