Cover Image: The Unlocking Season

The Unlocking Season

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There was much to enjoy here, but I found I couldn't connect with it. I'd read more from this author in the future though.
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Gail Bowen in The Unlocking Season involves Joanne Kilbourn in another complex  mystery in her family history.  In Regina, Joanne is working on a retelling of her early life history in a miniseries of Sally Love.  Her daughter and daughter's love,  a mega star, are involved.  Joanne is helping with the production when a series of misfortunes overwhelms the studio.  The primary screenwriter dies mysteriously, there is a fire at the film studio, and a troubled young man cannot accept that her daughter and lover Vale have a lesbian relationship.  Who is tampering?  Is there a crime?  Read on.
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The Unlocking Season is the nineteenth title in the popular Canadian series featuring Joanne Kilbourne. I have read some, but not all, of the books. My impression is that the more familiar readers are with Joanne and those around her, the more they will enjoy this book. It can be read as a first introduction as well but it is quite possible that a reader would then want to return to older stories in order to fully understand this title’s complexities.

In this entry, there is a lot about Joanne’s family history. She was raised by a father who was not her birth father and a documentary is being made about them both. Readers also spend some time with Joanne’s half sister. The family, like many, has a tangled past.

When something happens to the friend and colleague of Joanne’s who is helping with the script, Joanne wants to know what happened. What did? Why? Read the book to find out and to deepen your relationship with the characters.

I toggled back and forth between the book and the audio for this one. I enjoyed both.

Many thanks to NetGalley for this title. All opinions are my own.
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I have been a fan of Joanne Kilbourn and this series since the very beginning and the series gets better and better as it goes along.  It has a wonderful protagonist, a great family of characters, a wonderful setting in Regina, which I enjoy learning more about, and, as always, a compelling plot. This is truly one of the best mystery series out there and I highly recommend it.
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I enjoyed the writing of this book but I haven’t read the books before this so was kind of lost on who was who. I do plan to purchase the other books to read and then revisit this book. I just think I would enjoy this book more if I had a clear picture of characters. That being said I like the way this writer writes
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I haven't read A Joanne Kilbourn Mystery before. This was my first. If I had known I would have probably read another of the earlier Joanne Kilbourn books.
I was definitely at a disadvantage because of the above reason. I somehow could not get into the book. I was at sea with a lot of the characters and their relationships and their equations.
I liked the story well enough but I think reading a few of her earlier books in the series would have definitely helped.
I liked the way the author has written the story and I am sure fans of the series will love it. 
It wasn't just for me.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for sending a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I received this book from the publisher through Netgalley for review and all thoughts and opinions are my own.
From Arthur Ellis Award winning author, Gail Bowen, comes the latest addition to her Joanne Kilbourn series. In this fine, Canadian mystery; Joanne's history is being made into a television show. She's been working with renowned writer Roy Brodnitz when he goes missing, turning up hours later frightened and spouting gibberish. With so much on the line; the show, family and legacy, Joanne uncovers the mystery behind Roy's death. Author is new to me but this won't be the last book I read by her.
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First book I read in this series and won't surely be the last.
I loved the storytelling, the fleshed characters and the solid mystery that kept me guessing.
It's a gripping and highly entertaining read, highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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Joanne Shreve is 60 and is about to go on a harrowing journey back to her childhood.  Living Skies productions is producing Sisters and Strangers, a 6-part TV series about the complicated relationships between the Ellard and Love families.  Roy Brodnitz, a brilliant writer and friend, has been working on the first two episodes.  But things start going awry when Brodnitz disappears when scouting locations in northern Saskatchewan and is later found incoherent, muttering gibberish and is rushed to hospital where he later dies of a massive heart attack.

Joanne is determined to learn what happened to Roy and to ensure the TV production stays on track.  Joanne reluctantly teams up with Georgie Shepherd to finish writing the remaining scripts.  But problems continue to plague the production as director Ainsley is grieving the loss of her long-time partner Brodnitz.

Meanwhile, Joanne and Zack's talented daughter Taylor Love is starting a romantic relationship with the series lead Vale.  Joanne worries that not everyone is ready to accept their lesbian romance and her worries soon becomes justified.  There are also plenty of changing family dynamics in the lives of Joanne's adult children that are unnecessary sub-plots to the story.

This was a less satisfying entry in the long-running Joanne Kilbourn mystery series.
I received an eARC from Netgalley and ECW Press with no requirements for a review.  I voluntarily read ths book and provided this review.
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The Unlocking Season combines mystery and family drama. There are really two stories here. The narrator for both is Joanne Kilbourn-Shreve who is writing Sisters and Strangers, a limited TV series about her family. 

She is writing the series with her friend Roy Brodnitz.  When Roy dies of a sudden heart attack after a suspected overdose, Joanne begins to investigate. Roy’s death leads to a crisis in the show’s production. A mystery unfolding behind the scenes of a TV show is one of the two stories. The other is Joanne’s tangled family history. Her half sister was Sally Love, a famous artist. We know that Sally and her much older husband died at a banquet but don’t learn how until later chapters.

Have you ever read one of those big juicy British historical novels that begins with a cast of characters you can refer to?  Unfortunately, The Unlocking Season doesn’t have one. That puts a first time reader of the series (me) at a disadvantage. The first chapters were confusing but the writing was so good that I was quickly won over. The characters were well described and I enjoyed reading about Saskatchewan. 4 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley, ECW Press and Gail Bowen for this ARC.
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I found this hard to read & review.  I was at a disadvantage as this is the 14th book in this series & I found the list of characters and their relationships hard to keep track of.  While it was well-written,  I found it slow moving & boring.  If you are a fan of this series, I think you will enjoy it, but it was just not for me.
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For those new to the series, the storyline is a bit too assumptive in regard to characterization and history. The pace begins slow with a significant cast of characters to keep track of. Unfortunately, this made the novel a bit too difficult to enjoy as the entire plot is centered around twists and turns of already established characters. Best for those familiar with the series. 

Thank you to #NetGalley for the ARC which was read and reviewed voluntarily.
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This book had way too many characters for me , but having said that I still liked it. It was a fast read and kept me on my toes.
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Joanne Kilbourn-Shreve is now 60 years old and a television series is being filmed in her home city, Regina, Saskatchewan.  It will chronicle the life of the Ellard family (Joanne’s family tree) and the Love family, in particular, Joanne’s half sister, Sally Love.  Before the scripts are completed however, the writer dies in an unnerving manner.  The plot focuses on what happened to the writer and what will happen to the television series – is it now in jeopardy? As always, the author pays a special emphasis on Joanne’s relationships with her husband, children and grandchildren.

Something readers should keep in mind is that this is the 19th book in the Kilbourn series and while some books in long-running series can be read as standalones, in my opinion, this is not one of them.  This series is not only very character driven, but in particular, this book contains many characters and at times a score card would come in handy.  If you are not familiar with Gail Bowen’s writing, I believe that this book would prove to be frustrating for readers new to the series.

One of the many things I admire about Bowen’s writing is her ability to move the protagonist forward.  She has Joanne age naturally and the reader has been along on Joanne’s life progression from a widow with young children, to being married again, to grandmother and now empty nester.

As long as Gail wants to keep writing this series, I am interested in reading it.

Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced reader's copy.  A copy of this review will be placed on my blog and Instagram closer to publication date.
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Thank you so much to netgalley for sending me a copy of this book. I really enjoyed reading this book and i can’t wait to read more from this author.
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A relaxing and enjoyable read.  A fast moving plot with enough suspense that makes it hard to put the book down. The characters are well written and the dialogue easy to follow.  I have read the whole series and although you can read this as a stand alone , I recommend them All to anyone who enjoys a light mystery. Gail Bowen is my favourite Canadian author and to me there is no better location than Saskatchewan.
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This is a welcome return to the Joanne Kilbourn series.
This is a true Canadian treasure in the realm of mystery novels.
I recommend you read the series in order, you won’t be disappointed.
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader copy of this book.
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