by Cynthia Chow
This week we have a review of Down the Aisle with Murder by Auralee Wallace, which obviously has something to do with weddings! So to go with the review Auralee Wallace shares with us a wedding related guest post called Why the World Needs Royal Weddings. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Down the Aisle with Murder along with a link to purchase the book from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
Down the Aisle with Murder: An Otter Lake Mystery By Auralee Wallace
Review by Cynthia Chow
Erica Bloom does not have an issue with weddings. She just doesn’t like the dresses, flowers, gifts, music, centerpieces… So, maybe the nauseous look she gets when the topic comes up is why she is not asked to be the maid of honor for rival-turned-friend Candace, who instead turns to college friend Lyssa to help her walk down the aisle. It seems Lyssa has not changed since their college life, which is why the tightly-wound Candace looks so miserable as she watches her drunken bridal party get tossed off a bar bull while wearing hats featuring certain male anatomy. At least it looks as though this is the last of Lyssa’s very un-Candace wedding plans, since the maid of honor has just been found dead, with the scene of the crime unfortunately being the site of the upcoming wedding ceremony.
Feeling a little guilty and with a lot of prodding from her bestie and security company business partner Freddie Ng, Erica finds herself agreeing not just to investigate the death but volunteering to be the replacement maid of honor. That means not just attempting to plan a wedding in two weeks, but having to discover whether the disproving families may have taken extreme measures to stop the lovebirds from uniting. Rivaling the mystery of who offed the unlikable maid of dubious honor is (1) why Sheriff Grady Forrester is on vacation practicing yoga and learning how to craft, (2) who is the visiting guru charming Erica’s mother, and (3) what is making BFF Freddie act so Mean Girl and attempting to shame her for snarkery?
This continues to be one of the most exuberant, laugh-out-loud mystery series being written today. Erica somehow manages to land herself in the middle of absurd adventures while ostensibly being the sanest of Otter Lake residents. The friendships that have been forged within these five novels of the series continue to grow, expanding upon the characters, and revealing their complexities. There is an ironic reason why Freddie is being such a tool, but it is firmly grounded in their strong, long-lasting relationship. Erica is still somewhat floundering in her tentative romance with the sheriff, yet readers will be entirely sympathetic and rooting for love to win.
It can’t be emphasized enough just how much humor and joy this series contains, even as it takes time to allow characters to breath and experience true emotions. Readers will love this latest Otter Lake mystery as much as Erica has come to adore Otter Lake itself, and spending time there again is always a pleasure.
Why the World Needs Royal Weddings
By Auralee Wallace
So…did you watch it?
Did you watch the royal wedding?
I did. I mean, I didn’t get up at four a.m. or anything, but I did turn on the TV the moment I blinked my eyes open, and—
Hang on. I’m getting ahead of myself. We’ll get back to that in a second.
Admittedly, I wouldn’t call myself a big wedding person. When I was a little girl, rather than dreaming about my future wedding dress, more than anything, I wanted Wonder Woman Underoos. I never got them. Very sad, I know. And as I got older and realized all that was involved in the planning of a wedding, well, I was pretty much terrified about having to put together one of my own. So when the time came for me to say my vows, my future husband and I ran off to Mexico. It was lovely. And so easy! All we had to do was pick a bouquet, cake, and the type of ceremony we wanted from a picture book, and then it was off to the pool for margaritas.
Taking all this into account, nobody was more surprised than I was when I had the idea to write a cozy mystery with a wedding theme. I wasn’t sure if I could do it – again, not a wedding person – so I put the idea on the back-burner for a good long while. Well, actually, make that as long as I could until my editor kindly insisted I tell her what I had planned for my rapidly approaching, spring-release book (sheesh), and really, the only other idea I had involved a murderous Easter Bunny…which didn’t sound great…even to me. So in the end, I took a leap of faith and hoped I could fake my way into some fictional nuptial bliss.
Something happened to me, though, when I was writing the book. I had my main character, Erica Bloom, struggle with a lot of the questions around why people actually throw weddings. You know, why they care so much…why families always end up fighting…why people spend so much money on a day when it could be better spent on say a down payment for a house? I mean, the whole thing doesn’t make a lot of sense. But the more I wrote, the more I discovered that there really is something to this whole wedding thing, isn’t there?
Canadian broadcaster Peter Mansbridge had this to say about the royal wedding during his telecast:
“Every once in a while, you want to show that there’s more to our world than all the horrible things that happen. It’s a story about royalty and celebrity, and it was nice to watch, and it was nice to check out of the horrible things we see and cover so much of our lives, and to realize that nice things happen too.”
This struck a nerve with me because, yes, when I opened my eyes the morning of the royal wedding and turned on the TV about halfway through the ceremony, I was instantly entranced. Seriously, I could not look away. The entire celebration was a work of art – in the fullest sense of the word – and they did it in the name of love. (Say what you want, but that couple really looks like they are in L-O-V-E.)
Of course there will still be the cynics who say things like, “What about the more pressing matters in the world? Why not pay attention to them?” or “What about the ridiculous expense? Surely the money could be better spent.” And to that I say, hey, you’re probably right. But I would also say there is no point to being human if we don’t sometimes strive to create and share joy, happiness, and beauty – which, funnily enough, is also my philosophy behind writing the cozy mysteries I do. My books have been described as being in the vein of The Three Stooges. And you know what? I am totally okay with that. Because the world needs silliness too. At least I do.
So, from here on out, I will try to watch any royal wedding that springs up on this funny blue planet. I may even get up at four a.m. More importantly, though, when this not a wedding person does watch, I will no longer feel the least bit silly about doing so…even with the ridiculous fascinator I intend to buy and bobby-pin to my head. I’m thinking about something in a nice peacock green.
To enter to win a copy of Down the Aisle With Murder, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “aisle,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 16, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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What a charming article. Thank you so much.
This sounds fabulous–I’d love to read it! firstname.lastname@example.org
I have run into Auralee on another chat group site and then read and gave book one of this series a 4 star rating. I am glad to see that my library system is buying the books in this series. Thank you for a lovely review and interview.
this is definitely a new-to-me author who sounds like her books are hysterical. I would love to try out this title! thank you for the chance
Found the article interesting, and a great tie-in to a possible new cozy author for me.
This is a new author to me. I enjoyed the synopsis of the book and would like to read.
We have a winner!