Shiloh Bellamy has ditched bright and sunny Los Angeles and has made a road trip back to her childhood farm in Cherry Glen, Michigan, accompanied by her loyal pug, Huckleberry. Farm to Trouble is the first book in a new cozy mystery series, Farm to Table Mysteries by Amanda Flower. Shiloh’s mission is simple : to reignite her family homestead, Bellamy Farms, with financial help from an investor in order to make the farm profitable again as an organic and sustainable farm. Bellamy Farms has fallen into despair and Shiloh’s father is in no condition to bring the farm back on his own and has enlisted her help. Just days after her arrival into town her investor, Jefferson Crocker, is found dead by Shiloh at the farmer’s market and all eyes in town turn to the Bellamy family.
As the town focuses on Shiloh as a likely suspect, she begins to learn that her investor was not a very popular man in town with his big plans to install wind turbines across the serene pasture of the countryside. Shiloh is now doing double duty – trying to find a new investor willing to take a chance on Bellamy Farms and attempting to catch the real killer. She learns that numerous townspeople had reasons to hope for Crocker’s demise and as the police close in, Shiloh knows time is of the essence for her to try to find the real culprit. The list of suspects grow and as Shiloh uncovers more about the master wind farm plan, numerous suspects rise to the top of the list, which includes many Cherry Glen residents that Shiloh has known her entire life!
Farm to Trouble kept me guessing the culprit until the very end and the novel does a good job of balancing a cozy mystery with creating a sustainable, organic farm narrative. The second book in the series, Put Out to Pasture, is already scheduled to be published in early 2022. I’m looking forward to the continued saga between Shiloh, the residents of Cherry Glen and Huckleberry and to see if Shiloh turns the family farm around!
I love reading books that take place in Iowa. I find it interesting to see what authors think of my home state. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is set in fictional town Broken Wheel, Iowa. And this book is unique because the author, Katarina Bivald, lives in Sweden. So, if you are curious as to how someone from Europe views life in the state of Iowa, you should definitely pick up this book.
Sara has traveled all the way from Sweden to meet her pen pal Amy, who lives in Broken Wheel, Iowa. The plan is that Sara will stay with Amy for two months. But when Sara arrives in Iowa, she learns that Amy has died. But the townspeople of Broken Wheel knew that she was coming and they all welcome her to the town. They tell her to stay in Amy’s house because that is what Amy would have wanted. Sara understandably feels strange staying in the house alone and having people give her food and drinks for free. She tries to pay her own way but everyone refuses her.
Since she no longer has a hostess, Sara needs to find something to do. And, the town council is trying to think of how they can keep Sara entertained. Sara and Amy bonded over books. Both women were avid readers and they even exchanged books in the mail. When Sara ventures into Amy’s bedroom, she finds a room filled with books. Shortly after, Sara learns that Amy owned one of the buildings downtown. Sara decides to clean up the unused store and make it into a new bookstore. Many of the townspeople help her clean and repaint the building. Others find bookshelves and furniture. Soon, the tiny town of Broken Wheel has its own bookstore.
Sara enjoys finding books for the townspeople to read. She is able to match up books with the right person to read it. Soon, people from the neighboring town of Hope come to Broken Wheel to check out the new bookstore. Sara is dismayed to learn that people from Hope look down on people from Broken Wheel. So Sara forms a plan to get the people of townspeople reading. This is when she creates the shelf, “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend”.
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a very fun book to read. Plus, it has the added bonus of discussing many different book titles throughout the story. Perhaps you will find your next read in the pages of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend.
Note: If you listen to the audiobook version, you will find the Iowan accent to be very interesting.