Hearth & Hedge – Shawn McGuire

*I received a free DRC of this book with thanks to the author.  The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

Blurb: “We’ll figure this out. People don’t get stabbed every day. Even in Whispering Pines.”

It’s time for the annual Whispering Pines Tour of Gardens, and people are arriving by the busload. Discussions of raised beds, different types of fertilizers, and proper amounts of sunlight can be heard all around the village.

Then, just as things are getting underway, someone vandalizes the gardens.

Between running her successful shop, Hearth & Cauldron, and dealing with her new teenage roommate who has turned her orderly homelife into the female Wiccan version of The Odd Couple, Reeva Long’s days are full. She doesn’t have time to track down suspects. It’s the middle of the busy tourist season, though, and solving this crime isn’t high on the sheriff’s priority list either.

So Reeva and her sidekick best friend, Ruby, dig in. When events escalate, however, and one of the witches on the tour is attacked, the amateur sleuths fear there’s something more sinister going on in the village.

Hearth & Hedge is the second book in the Hearth & Cauldron Mysteries series. If you like your mysteries on the cozy side with plenty of quirky characters and a dash of paranormal, you’ll love this series.

We’re back in Whispering Pines for this second book in the new spin-off Hearth & Cauldron mystery series, with Reeva and Ruby unofficially investigating a spate of vandalism against green witches that has taken a nasty turn.

Not only do I recommend reading Hearth & Cauldron first, but all of the original Whispering Pines series of books too. Although this can technically be read as a standalone mystery plot, you would just miss out on so much of what I love about this series – the kooky small community, with it’s beautiful and unique setup and quirky characters that have developed as the stories progress.

Plus, the wider story that we saw glimpses of in the previous book now starts to become more evident, as Reeva begins to suspect that the acts of petty vandalism may be linked to something darker and more insidious that threatens to disturb the peace of Whispering Pines and goes right back to the jealousy surrounding the original families from some later arrivals.

Honestly, Shawn McGuire has created characters that feel like family to me at this point, and the shops and eateries feel so familiar that I have to remind myself this isn’t a real place I have visited (I wish it was… less the murder and mayhem, obviously!).

It is so nice to see Jayne, Morgan and Briar, River, Martin and everyone else from a different perspective – it makes the stories feel familiar but also completely fresh. And Reeva brings much more of a spiritual vibe to events than Jayne’s practical policing experience. Plus we get bonus kitchen/hearth witch tips scattered throughout the story at appropriate points.

There are also some lovely side-plots, like the potential romances for Reeva and her maternal-ish relationship with teenage roommate and terrible slob, Keiko; the Barlow’s adjustment to their new arrivals; the village being Under New Management, with all that entails; and the training of a new and rather over-eager recruit to the sheriff’s department. Each and every single thread kept me reading and wanting more.

I would definitely recommend this series to any cosy mystery fans who want a long-running series with heart and plenty of woo-woo spirit. Once you visit Whispering Pines, you won’t be able to stay away!

‘As I made the short ride to my cottage, Ruby’s first question and others played over in my mind. Who would mess with the Maxwells? Upsetting as it was for Brigitte, Ruby was right. A broken statue was a pesky crime that likely wouldn’t be high on Martin’s priority list when he had a village full of tourists to deal with. My gut told me that the damage to my garden and Brigitte’s were connected somehow. Which meant Long & McLaughlin might have another case to investigate.’

– Shawn McGuire, Hearth & Hedge

Find more from Shawn McGuire at her website here, or follow her on GoodreadsFacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Hearth & Hedge releases on Amazon on 13th January, but is available to pre-order RIGHT NOW!

You can find my reviews of the Whispering Pines series here: Family Secrets (#1)Kept Secrets (#2)Original Secrets (#3)Hidden Secrets (#4)Rival Secrets (#5)Veiled Secrets (#6)Silent Secrets (#7)Merciful Secrets (#8)Justified Secrets (#9)Protected Secrets (#10)Burning Secrets (#11)Blind Secrets (#12)Wayward Secrets (#13).


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