3 out of 4 stars
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In Lily White Lie, life is changing in Havens, Ohio, and not necessarily in a good way. The new Councilman, Noel Russell, a man of dubious morals, has higher ambitions in the political world and along with his sidekick, Kimmie Righetti, a rival and bitter enemy of Wren Greyson sets a testy atmosphere. Things get downright nasty at times with Councilman Russell heading up the Christmas Carnival, a committee that Wren has worked for the past seven years, and the occasional run-ins with Kimmie. So, when veiled threats begin to appear, each wrapped around an Easter Lily, the so-called death flower, these two trouble makers naturally top the list of suspects.
A gold pocket watch found in a wall during renovations at the Stonehedge Baptist Church brings Wren an offer to do historical research in tracking down the original owner and discover any living descendants. The new pastor, John Leonard, wants to return the watch during his Sunday sermon.
Connie Chappell has built an interesting world in Lily White Lie, and the editing is exceptional. I liked Wren’s relationship with Mayor K.C. Tallmadge, and the fact that the mayor expects and demands more from her than she wants to give, especially where Noel Russell is concerned. Chappell’s characters are well crafted and the action, for the most part, is both believable and logical. I did have some initial issues with Wren’s relationship with Bret Kilmore, Gideon’s mysterious college friend. Why she would put up with Bret’s aberrant behaviors is a question I had difficulty reconciling. Friend of Gideon (Wren's live-in lover) or not, it seems a stretch she would have allowed him to stay in her house with his inconsiderate actions for long.
Overall, I felt Lily White Lie got off to a slow start, and the pace remained rather sedate until the last few chapters. Additionally, while Chappell has done well with building tension between Wren and her antagonists, in some places, it felt a bit overdone.
I love a good twist in a story. It is one of the main things that make reading fun. Herein lays my biggest issue with Lily White Lie: the twisting that found the person behind the threats and his actual target felt unrealistic. It didn’t seem there was enough substance within the story to have built a strong rationalization for the ending. Even so, I felt it merely detracted from the story rather than destroy it. Therefore, I rate this book a low 3 out of 4 stars.
Finally, I believe the designation of Historical Fiction might be amiss. While Wren engages in historical research, there are no real historical events depicted here, only than those created by Chappell. Other fiction might be more accurate, and I recommend Lily White Lie to readers who enjoy fiction or detective stories.
Lily White Lie
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