Friday, September 7, 2018

Book Review: The Port Elspeth Jewelry Making Club

By Sara Steven

From the author of Sweet Hollow Women comes a new novel about friendship, surprises, and the secrets that hide in the shadows of even the most ordinary-seeming lives.

It's been five years since the idyllic oceanside town of Port Elspeth was rocked by tragedy. Shortly after their high school graduation, Evangeline Maddingly, daughter of one of the town's wealthiest old-money families, and Oliver Prescott, son of one of the town's wealthiest new-money families, were found dead in an isolated cabin in the woods outside of town. The circumstances surrounding their untimely deaths are murky at best, thanks in large part to a coroner with connections to the town's founding families and a sweeping effort from those in power to shut down any negative publicity that could harm the reputation of their pristine community.

Five years later, a small group of strangers gather to create jewelry for one of Port Elspeth's many fundraisers. Before long, friendships are forming and old secrets are being revealed. Along with solving the mystery of how to make a perfect pair of chandelier earrings or cabochon necklace, these unlikely friends find themselves at the heart of solving the murders that took place half a decade earlier. (Synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Port Elspeth and its inhabitants- what a delightful read! From the get go, we’re hooked on the backstory of Evangeline, with a beautifully blended transition into the present time and the eclectic residents who form an unlikely friendship based on jewelry making and fundraisers. It sounds innocent enough, until you delve deeper into the lives of each one, quickly discovering that nothing is as it seems, and nearly everyone has a story to tell from the dark recesses of their skeleton-filled closets.

The characters are such an important part to the story. It was hard not to enjoy each and every one, even the ones who are pleasantly obnoxious. Told from various perspectives, it helped in solidifying what’s really going on, even when a character was adamant on not allowing others a glimpse into their world, the reader has that ability, allowing us to better understand why someone might be the way they’re written.

Even with that, I thought for sure I knew who’d committed the murders, so certain until the final chapters. Then there were moments where I’d hop around from suspect to suspect, and once I’d hit on the revelation, I had a feeling of total understanding. It was a really nice way to incorporate a “whodunit” moment.

I appreciated so many elements to The Port Elspeth Jewelry Making Club; the friendships, the chaos and drama, the relationships that go sour or discover newfound beginnings, the mystery that surrounds an idyllic town that looks perfect, but is far from. There really is something for everyone at Port Elspeth, which is why it was more than deserving of the five stars I’ve given it.

Thanks to Lola's Blog Tours for the book in exchange for an honest review.

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Janine said...

This book sounds like it will be interesting.

Elena Y. said...

Very beautiful cover!