Cover Image: Chapter and Curse

Chapter and Curse

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Member Reviews

Sigh. This had so much potential and fell so short. There was just so much that was meh in this book, and while I liked Molly and Nina and Aunt Violet and the surrounding characters [George is such a fantastic supporting character; I just loved him], the story just fell flat for me. From knowing who the killer was V E R Y early on [<i>I am having a hard time with this one - it was so blatantly obvious who the killer was and the author doesn't do much to conceal that, making the mystery not really a mystery at all. I may or may not have kept shouting at the characters when they would chase another supposed "red herring"</i>], to also knowing the sub-plot almost right away as well [<i>also extremely blatantly obvious</i>], to knowing who is selling photos and info about Molly and Kieran to the tabloids [though this isn't revealed in this book, it is pretty obvious who is doing it and well, it STINKS. I dislike people like that], this was more of a budding romance book than a mystery [<i>and I won't even go into how annoying that whole thing was</i>]. Overall, I was really disappointed.

All that said, I DID like the characters. Molly is a decent MC and she does her job AND sleuths, which is a huge point in her favor IMO. She truly loves books and that shows in how she wants to promote the store and get more books into people's hands. I am not a fan of the whole romance thing [I'd LOVE a MC that can just be somewhere and enjoy life without needing or even wanting a man to be a part of it - this is her first time in England and she is in freaking Cambridge for Pete's sake - I wish we could have just seen her adapt to her new surroundings and just learn and love about that place BEFORE she gets swept away by a guy. The same thing goes with Nina - she has just lost her husband and at the beginning of the book is still grieving [<i>and yes, I know that everyone grieves differently, but watching my Mom grieve the loss of my Dad these past five years has made a huge impression on me</i>] and then she goes to England and all is well and by the end of the book she is thinking of a relationship. I am not saying she shouldn't be, but it seems like the whole grief thing was a way to get them to England and then promptly forgotten, which just rubbed me the wrong way. The rest of the characters are a lot of fun and should there be a second book [<i>because I would read a second one should there be one. I have learned that you cannot judge a new series by its first book - there have been moments where the first one was just awful and then the second one blows everyone out of the water - so second chances are now almost always given</i>], it will be fun to see how that all moves forward - will we see more of them? I sure hope so [<i>though less of Clive would be AWESOME! LOL</i>].

Thank you to NetGalley, Elizabeth Penney, and St. Martin's Press/St. Martin's Paperbacks for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Uprooting themselves from Vermont, Molly Kimball and her mother move to Cambridge to help run a family owned bookstore. Soon they're up to their necks in murder. Debut of a charming new series with tremendous potential...wonderful location, well done mystery plus interesting characters. Looking forward to the next book in the series

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This is the first cozy I've ready by Elizabeth Penney. I will be reading more.

In Chapter and Curse, we are introduced to Molly Kimball and her mom Nina. After losing her job as an assistant librarian, Molly, is happy to be invited to go to Cambridge England to help save the family bookstore. With their first big event comes a murder and Molly's great aunt is the prime suspect.

This is a lovely little cozy. I enjoyed and liked the characters. I will definitely read more from Elizabeth Penney.

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Great read! Cold case cozy mystery is rare and I loved this one immensely. The characters and writing combined to make for an enjoyable read and easy recommendation to friends and family. Will look for more from this author.

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I just knew I'd love this book when I saw it in NetGalley and noticed who the author was. I enjoyed her writing and characterization in the Apron Shop series so much. This book definitely didn't disappoint and had characters I took to immediately. The key characters were all really awesome, but I think my favorites were Aunt Violet and Sir Jon. Sir Jon might've been a retired MI6, but he could still do the job when he needed to as we see toward the end. Everyone needs an aunt like Violet. I hope she and Sir Jon can get together sometime, 'cause from talk about all their college days, I think he's always had a little thing for her. Molly didn't waste any time in finding a handsome and genuinely nice guy as well in Kieran. And Molly's mother Nina, well there might be some love interest going on for her eventually too.

Another favorite character was George, a local landlord and good friend of Violet's as well as her handyman for the bookshop sometimes. He's another friend that everyone should have one of. I honestly couldn't quite figure out whodunit until Molly did, and it was obvious at the showdown which by the way, was a really good one! But I thoroughly enjoyed how Violet, Molly, Nina and Sir Jon sort of teamed up to solve the murder. They knew if they relied on the evidence only, poor Violet would end up in jail. Their investigations always turned up something useful for the police, and I think Sir Jon's respected status helped as well.

I'm so hoping these books might come out more than once a year. I just enjoyed the characters so much I hated to see the book end!

I voluntarily read and reviewed an ARC of this book provided by the publisher, St. Martin's Press, via NetGalley, and my opinions are my own.

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Not usually one for books set in England, I really enjoyed this story. I loved the color color, and the story was riveting and well-told. I thought I had it figured out early but I was wrong. Great start to a new series!

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I've enjoyed Elizabeth's Kennedy's Apron Shop series, and I enjoyed the first book in her Cambridge Bookshop Series. A few months before the book begins Molly's father passed away. Now she has lost her job as an assistant librarian and is looking for something to do. A letter arrives from England with a request for help from her great aunt that she has never met. A short time after Molly and her mother arrive in England, one of her great aunt's friends is found dead behind the great aunt's book shop, killed by a knitting needle owned by the great aunt. Love the characters, the setting fit in well with the plot, and the ending wasn't something that I was expecting.

I was kindly provided an e-copy of this book by the publisher and/or author via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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Chapter and Curse is the first book in Elizabeth Penney’s new series, The Cambridge Bookshop. Molly Kimball and her mother, Nina, eagerly accept an invitation to go to Cambridge, England to help save the family bookstore. When a murder occurs on the evening of their first big event, more than the store will need to be saved. With her Aunt Violet as the main suspect, it’s up to Molly, her family and newfound friends to find the killer and save Aunt Violet and the family reputation.

Chapter and Curse is a mesmerizing read. Detailed descriptions of locations, particularly of the bookstore, brought to mind the old-world building as I’ve seen them on travel shows. References to historical places had me dreaming of traveling to England. Diverse personalities populate the book, characters you will love and characters you will love to hate; they are charming, loyal, witty, nosy, deceitful, intriguing, and so much more. Sir John is my favorite so far, I hope we see much more of him in future books. The story is so well written and flows so beautifully that I read through it in no time. Ms. Penney has expertly crafted a complex mystery with plenty of twists, turns and secrets. The big reveal includes an unexpected revelation.

I highly recommend Chapter and Curse to all cozy mystery fans, but especially fans of British mysteries.

I received an advance digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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I received a complimentary ARC copy of Chapter and Curse (Cambridge Bookshop Series #1) by Elizabeth Penney from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press in order to read and give an honest review.

… “I really enjoyed Chapter and Curse and found it entertaining”…”It’s a quick fun read”…

Chapter and Curse by Elizabeth Penney is the first in the new Cambridge Bookshop Series and introduces us to Molly Kimball and her Mother Nina who respond to Aunt Violet’s plea for assistance with her struggling bookshop, Thomas Marlowe—Manuscripts and Folios. Uprooting their life in Vermont and moving to Cambridge, England opens a world of opportunities for Molly but when a poetry reading at the bookshop becomes a murder scene, her new life becomes more than she bargained for.

The victim, an old school mate of Violet’s, as well as a habitual blackmailer is murdered using Violet’s knitting needles ensuring that Violet becomes prime suspect in her murder. Molly is now on a mission to save both her aunt and their livelihood but needs to look to the past to unlock secrets and save the day.

Elizabeth Penney has done an incredible job creating a cast of characters that include a former spy, a handsome neighbor as well as new friends and foes for Molly. For me, although I really enjoyed Chapter and Curse and found it entertaining it was somewhat predictable and I guessed the perpetrator and motive fairly early. It’s a quick fun read if that’s what you are looking for and I am looking forward to reading future books in this series!

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I've read several of Penney's Castleton Manor Library books and was excited to see that she had a new series and that it was also about books. This is a solid start, with interesting characters and a great cozy setting in Cambridge. Highly recommend!

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Many dream of making a major life change and when Molly Kimball and her recently widowed mother, Nina get the chance to return to Nina's home country and Cambridge, England, they don't waste any time. On a day cold Vermont day Nina receives a letter from her Aunt Violet and it's a plea for help. Molly no longer has her job as a town librarian but this offer will put an entire used bookstore in her hands. Molly and Nina are ready to start a new chapter but a homicide never entered their plans.
As soon as they arrive it's obvious that there is trouble on Magpie Lane home of Thomas Marlowe - Manuscripts and Folios founded in 1605. If Molly can't bring modern technology and fresh ideas to the store with the help of Nina and Aunt Violet, it will be sold off to a big box bookstore and all that will be left is its historic registered building. Its heart and soul will be no more. Cousin Clive has plans of his own that will certainly make that come to pass.
Acting swiftly and using Nina's renown as a celebrated poet, Molly starts off by making a move into the local Cambridge literary festival, underway when they arrive. Thinking they are on the right track they soon face disaster when one of the people at the poetry reading, by Nina's old classmate, is murdered with one of Aunt Violet's knitting needles. Fighting to prove she's innocent means tracking down the real killer. Lots of suspects and lots of long buried secrets to be sifted through - are some of them within their own family? There is no doubt that the bookstore is worth saving.
I love the setting of Cambridge and Thomas Marlowe. Molly and Nina along with Aunt Violet and George are wonderful characters and there is, of course, the resident feline, Clarence - a big furry marmalade. As for the puzzle to be unraveled it was well crafted with the necessary red herrings and wrong guesses for this reader to make. For a debut mystery introducing a new series it's off to a five star start.
My thanks to the publisher St. Martin's Press and to NetGalley for giving me an advance reading copy in exchange for my honest review.

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I really enjoyed this first mystery that I have ever read by this author. I am really looking forward to getting to know all of these characters so much better. I love stories based around a bookshop especially in England. Each of these characters are wonderful. We are even getting some romance. I loved Molly, her mum, her Aunt Violet, Kieran and the two cats in the bookshop. The mystery was well done. I received a copy of this book from Minotaur for a fair and honest review that I gave of my own free will.

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The first book in the Cambridge Bookshop series introduces us to Molly and her mom Nina. The pair moves from Vermont to Nina's hometown in England after a request Aunt Violet who runs the family bookstore. As a librarian, Molly has lots of ideas to bring the 400 year old shop into the 21st century. The first being a poetry reading by a acclaimed poet who happens to be a college friend of Aunt Violet. A murder occurs during the reading and Molly steps in to clear her aunt's name.

This is a wonderful start to the series. The characters are well written and relatable. I really like the easy friendship that develops between Molly and Daisy, the local tea shop owner. Kieran is a wonderful male lead. (And my new book boyfriend!). He owns a bike shop even though he is a part of high society. I look forward to seeing where his relationship with Molly goes. Sir Jon adds a bit of flair to the story as a retired spy.

The murder victim was also a former college mate to Aunt Violet. We quickly learn that she was not a nice person and seemed to be blackmailing or scamming pretty much all of her friends.

I love when authors write and animal into the story. It is quite obvious from the descriptions that the author is owned by a cat or two. I was particularly taken with Puck as I had a black cat by that name when I was in college.

This book had it all-books, cats, tea, a quaint village and a good mystery. I look forward to reading more in this series.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for providing me with a copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Chapter And Curse is the first book in the Cambridge Bookshop series by Elizabeth Penny.

Six months after their father and husband’s death, Molly and Nina are packed up and on their way to Cambridge, England. Nina had received a letter from her Aunt Violet asking if she would be interested in taking over the family’s bookstore, Thomas Marlowe - Manuscripts & Folios. Shortly after arriving at the bookshop, they learn that the shop has been having financial problems. This required Aunt Violet to borrow money from a cousin, Clive. Aunt Violet is behind on repaying the loan, and Clive wants to sell the bookshop to recover his loan.

With experience as a librarian and her social skills, Molly set to work to bring the bookshop into the 21st century. Molly has read a newspaper headline that the Cambridge Literary Festival will be next week and asks if they could have something ready in time. Myrtle, a college classmate of Violet’s, asks if she should contact poet Persephone Brightwell, another former classmate, about doing a reading from her latest book that has just been published. The bookshop was able to get Brightwell to provide a reading of her new book, and it was a very successful gathering. Most everyone has departed the bookshop, and Molly and Kieran, owner of the bike shop next door, head outdoors for some fresh air and conversation. Molly notices the kitten that she has been trying to catch and takes off after her. She catches her as the kitten heads for the dead body of Myrtle. Myrtle has been stabbed with a knitting needle.

The police will soon identify the needle as belonging to Aunt Violet. In addition to getting the bookshop on financially solid ground, Molly will also need to remove Aunt Violet’s name from any connection to Myrtle’s demise. Fortunately, Molly has several of Violet’s friends and friendships that she has made to help with the investigation. Molly’s sleuthing will soon point to Myrtle’s blackmailing of several residents, but they will first have to learn the reason for blackmail.

I really enjoyed this first book in the Chapter and Curse series. For me, the author provided me with enough backstory to understand the premise of the story. The writing is descriptive enough that I felt I was with Molly as she was conducting her sleuthing. The book is well-written and plotted. The book has interesting and believable characters that I would enjoy knowing.

I’m looking forward to my next visit to Cambridge and seeing what Molly and her family and friends are up to next.

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Chapter and Curse by Elizabeth Penney (The Cambridge Bookshop Mysteries #1) 5 stars

This the first book in a new series by Elizabeth Penney. It sets up the new life of Molly Kimball in Cambridge, England. Molly and her mom, Nina need a change from their current life in Vermont. Molly, a librarian by profession is being downsized and her mom is still grieving from the recent death of her husband, Derek. An unexpected letter arrives from Nina's Aunt Violet requesting their help in running the family bookshop in England. The request to too good to refuse and they move to Cambridge to help revitalize the family bookstore. During an author event featuring the poet Persephone Brighwell, Molly finds the body of Myrtle Marsh. Myrtle Marsh was an old college friend of Aunt Violet's and Persephone. Ms. Marsh had a lot of secrets and unfortunately Aunt Violet is a suspect because it happened in her back garden. In order to clear her Aunt Violet off the suspect list, Molly has to find out more about Myrtle Marsh; the revelations provide even more suspects for the police to question.

Since this is the first book in the series, it has to do a lot of world building and introducing the supporting characters. I loved a lot of the supporting characters and hope that the potential love interest for Molly stays on. Molly shows that being a librarian helps when investigating a crime because research skills count. This was a fun mystery to read and the ending was exciting. I look forward to the next mystery in this series

Thank you Netgalley and St. Martins Press for this ARC.

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Cozy mysteries have had a place in my heart since, as a kid, I read my Mom's Agatha Christie books. Chapter and Curse is the first in a charming new cozy series by Elizabeth Penney, and it hits all the right notes for an enjoyable cozy. Molly Kimball and her mother, Nina, leave Vermont to help run the 400-year-old family bookstore in Cambridge, England, only to be caught up in a murder investigation. The captivating setting, engaging characters, and slow-leak of long-buried secrets were well written, with plenty of clues for the reader along the way. I did figure out the murderer and motive before the end, but I enjoyed doing so. Because that's part of the fun of cozies; trying to solve the puzzle along with the detective, and reading along to see if you are right. Loved the nods to some great British writers along the way, including Agatha Christie herself! Looking forward to the next one. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s press for the opportunity to read this ARC.

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I like this author a lot. This is the first book in this series. I feel it is off to a good start. I like the characters and that it is set in England. The mystery kept me guessing. I also like how the family reconnected with the relatives who still lived in England. I look forward to more in the series.

Thank you to the author, publisher and NetGalley for my eARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This was a quick fine little cozy mystery read. I was not familiar with the writer before requesting this book but she is one I will look out for in the future.

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Molly Kimball and her mother move to Cambridge, England to takeover a historic bookstore from her aunt in Chapter and Curse. Bodies start dropping. Whodunit? Her relative who is trying to sell the book store to a developer? A busybody? A poetess? A family member. Traditional cosy well worth reading. New series.

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This is a new author to me, and I found the story to be quite enjoyable. Molly and her mother, Nina, move to historic Cambridge, England, to help her aunt run the family bookshop. An aunt and additional family members that Molly didn’t even know existed.

Aunt Violet gets accused of murdering a former college classmate. Molly sets out to clear her aunt and discovers mysteries from the past, as well as the present, several suspects, jealousy, twists and turns, and blackmail. Can Molly solve the crime before anyone else gets hurt or murdered?

I was given an advance copy by NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press. This review is my honest opinion.

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