A Beginner’s Guide to Murder

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Pub Date 30 Aug 2022 | Archive Date 20 Sep 2022

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The brand new book from a powerful literary voice, author of The Stranger She Knew, shortlisted for the Paul Torday Prize.

‘Guaranteed to hook you . . . At times both touching and darkly funny, A Beginner's Guide To Murder explores the vital ways in which women can support one another through their darkest hours’ Anna Bailey, Sunday Times bestselling author of Tall Bones

‘A beguiling, beautifully crafted treat of a novel. It holds so much wisdom yet wears it so lightly. There are shades of Kate Atkinson in the way Rosalind balances dark themes with dry humour, a great plot, exquisitely realised characters, and more than a hint of feminist sensibility… truly everything I want in a novel’ Jessica Moor, bestselling author of Keeper

‘A quirky, witty thriller that reminds us not to underestimate the older generation’ Best

‘Darkly comic and gripping’ Woman’s Own

* * *

Grace, Meg and Daphne, all in their seventies, are minding their own business while enjoying a cup of tea in a café, when seventeen-year-old Nina stumbles in. She’s clearly distraught and running from someone, so the three women think nothing of hiding her when a suspicious-looking man starts asking if they’ve seen her.
Once alone, Nina tells the women a little of what she’s running from. The need to protect her is immediate, and Grace, Meg and Daphne vow to do just this. But how? They soon realise there really is only one answer: murder.
And so begins the tale of the three most unlikely murderers-in-the-making, and may hell protect anyone who underestimates them.

* * *

Readers LOVE Rosalind Stopps:

‘I was hooked from the start and finished it in little more than two days, because it was truly unputdownable. Beautifully written and really quite scary in places . . . A brilliant book. More from this excellent writer please!’ Amazon 5*

‘This is how fiction should be done! A fabulous, thrilling tale and I loved it!’ NetGalley 5*

‘An exceptionally powerful psychological thriller’ NetGalley 5*

The brand new book from a powerful literary voice, author of The Stranger She Knew, shortlisted for the Paul Torday Prize.

‘Guaranteed to hook you . . . At times both touching and darkly funny, A...

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Featured Reviews

I was not sure what to expect going in but I ended up really enjoying it. It kept me on the edge of my seat and I eagerly turned each page.

Daphne, Grace, and Meg are a group of golden girls with an unbreakable bond. While enjoying some tea at a shop, a young girl approaching them clearly in need of some help. They agree to help the girl, especially when a intimidating man asks if they’ve seen her. The three ladies don’t bat an eyelash as they whisk the girl to safety.

The girl, Nina recounts her story and why she’s running. The three ladies unanimously agree the only way to truly protect Nina is to commit murder. What follows is an exciting series of events that show how brave these women are.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this arc in exchange for my honest review.

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As an Anglophile I may be predisposed to sum up the moral of this book way, way down into two beautiful words: “sod it.” A story that is a secret handshake to the insecure. The introverted, the self-aware and the over-thinkers. A lifetime of second-guessing and pacing one half-step back when what’s needed is a leap.

Three “old pussies,” as Agatha Christie would have called them, are exhaling in a coffee shop for post-Pilates small talk when duty comes bursting through the door in thinly disguised hysterics. A young “bird,” teenaged and in way over her head; hints of abuse that make a reader wish Nina, our victim, had an old Northern Irish type to pick up a phone and elucidate on her behalf: “I have a very specific set of skills...I will find you…” But Nina’s Liam Neeson had already had his coffee that morning. Instead, she found something better.

Engrossing from top to tail, “A Beginner’s Guide to Murder” is a bit of a misnomer. The heroic septuagenarian troika make plenty of mistakes on their way to a thrilling conclusion; by the time they’ve made them, the reader is all but certain to have fallen in love with these surrogate grand-guardians and the indomitable camaraderie they find together.

Suspense haunts every move made in this book, from the captivating opening line onward. Like afikomen, the deeper meaning is hidden but easy to locate. These women weren’t the heroes needed. But push came to shove. They said “sod it,” they leapt, and I’m glad author Rosalind Stopps chose to take us along for the ride.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Murder by Rosalind Stopps was definitely different.
But different I did enjoy!
What I loved most about this story.....
Grace, Meg and Daphne, all in their seventies, helping seventeen-year-old Nina. These strong, fierce, bad ads characters are amazingly interesting and brilliantly developed.
Also the writing, the setting, the story, the kick ass character's! Done so well.
The main storyline moved swiftly. There were many twists and turns the story quickly captured my interest and kept it through the entire novel. 
A very intriguing story.

“I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.”

Harper 360, HQ,
Thank You for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!
I will post my review to my platforms, blog, B&N and Waterstone closer to pub date.
This is my first Rosalind novel but it won't be my last.

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Wtf did I just read??? Going into this book, I thought it was going to be a cozy mystery or a humor filled thriller. Golden girls with a twist of murder if you will. However, that could not be further from what it was! This was such a dark and compelling story. It exposes issues in this world that desperately need to be talked about more. I was truly captivated by this book and found myself so consumed despite how heavy it was. This book left me feeling angry and sad because although it was fiction, it is the disturbing reality for too many people in this world. Very well written and a story that unfortunately needs to be told to bring more awareness. This one will stay with me for a long time.

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What a sweet but dark story. Not what I was expecting at all with a book about senior citizens plotting murder. This was full of humor, regret, anger, love and happiness. I rooted for these "ladies" throughout the entire book. While there was darkness showing the horrors of the real world, there was also light that showed the bond and connection women have and the lengths they would go to for each other. I truly loved this book.

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I really enjoyed this book. It was a bit of a darker story, and although the characters were damaged they were loveable. I thought the storyline was very well done, it kept me guessing. I couldn’t put this book down, I needed to know what was coming next.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book exchange for an honest review.

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Fun planned murder story. If you think the idea of old ladies planning a murder sounds fun give it a go.

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Daphne, Grace and Meg are giving me golden girl vibes and I am absolutely living their cute wit and charm! These three ladies are not what you think and who would question 70 year old women in a plot to save Nina 17 and pregnant from a relationship that has a dark side.

I was immediately enthralled with this story. It’s not your typical mystery and these are not your typical women. They knew exactly what they were doing and made a plan to accomplish and did hesitate. The story is dark and twisting and it will suck you in until the last word.

This was a well written and thought provoking book and o highly recommend.

A special thanks to netgalley for providing me with an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.

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What a surprise ending! Meg, Daphne and Grace come together to help Nina, who has been sold into the sex trade. You never know when you're strong enough, mentally or physically, until you need to find out. Each of these women find a bit of their own strength with each attempt to get Nina out of the clutches of the Toad. Well done Rosalind!

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This is an absolute (deadly) delight! Fans of The Thursday Murder club will be taken by the elderly crime angle, but the first line will sell itself time and again. A recommended purchase for collections where crime fic is popular.

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A Beginners Guide to Murder was perfect. Loved the premise, the writing and the characters. Definitely a summer hit!

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I thoroughly enjoyed this story!
Never underestimate old ladies.
This was full of humor, regret, anger, love and happiness. Well written with excellent plotting and characterization. This is a thriller with a difference that captured from the beginning. I rooted for these "ladies" throughout the entire book.

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How far would you go to protect someone you love?
How far would you go to protect a complete stranger?

This book is a slow start, but it grabs your attention in the middle and does not let up until the end. It left me with a lot of thoughts about what I would do in this situation. I think it is a unique take on justice and friendship as well as asking the question "when is murder worth it?"

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I truly enjoyed this book. The older ladies in this book were so encouraging and brave. I pray to be as strong and willing as they are to help others. Some bits of this book was slow, that's why I took off a star. However, majority of this book kept me on my toes. The ending was so unexpected but so thankful it played out the way it did. Such a good read!

I received this book from NetGalley and the publishers to read and review. All statements above are my true opinions after fully reading this book.

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The description of this book got me hook, line and sinker! Three elderly ladies become hitwomen? Yes, please.

Meg, Grace and Daphne are all in their 70's, meet at a Pilates class, and come together to help the 17 year old Nina who is being abused. The relationships in this book pull at the heartstrings, and as we peel back the layers of all of their back stories, a dark, off beat crime story is born.

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I was drawn to this book based off of its description (swipe to read it) and it was a fun read. Reading in both the point of views of the three women in their seventies and a girl the age of seventeen was different for me. I found it amusing how the author was able to write it (in a good way)! The only thing that really confused me about it was that while Meg’s and Grace’s view were in first person, the other two were in third person limited. Other than that, I liked the way this was written, all of the details and the descriptions given, the dark humor of it all. I loved the diversity of the characters. And the ending!!!

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This book involves trafficking, abuse, kidnapping, and more so it feels wrong to describe it as “cute,” and yet, that’s how I feel. Meg, Daphne, and Grace make an unlikely trio of rescuers but age and fear are not going to stop them from trying to help Nina who approaches them desperately in a cafe.

There are very serious, and at times heartbreaking themes but throughout you get to experience a deepening friendship among the ladies that is heartwarming. By the end there is a beautiful found-family that is created and you get a satisfying resolution to the main dilemma and mystery that is the main driver of the plot.

4/5 stars for a fun and unique take on a very serious subject.

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A Beginner's Guid to Murder by Rosalind Stopps is a thriller with a twist that captivated and engaged me in equal measure. It's funny, smart, well-written, and has good storyline and characters. I highly recommend that people go out and purchase this book. Thank you to NetGalley and Harper 360, HQ for this copy.

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4 Stars

I saw a review somewhere saying this book was funny so I decided to give it a read. This book is not funny whatsoever, but it is good.

A young girl runs into a coffee shop and asks three elderly women for help. She’s been kidnapped for sex trafficking, and the three seniors decide to best way to help is murder.

This book was very devastating at times, but the emotions were written very well. Despite the terrible crimes occurring within this novel, I never felt overwhelmed by the descriptions. The difficult topics were handled with care.

This book switches narration between the three elders (Meg, Daphne, and Grace) and the young girl (Nina). Meg and Grace were written in first person and Daphne and Nina were written in third. It was an odd choice and I don’t understand the reasoning for this split, but it didn’t affect my reading experience. I did enjoy seeing how each of the characters thought about themselves and each other.

Overall this is a great choice if you’re looking for a charming thriller.

Thank you NetGalley and Harper 360 for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Well I did NOT expect that. I just went in blind and enjoyed the ride and I loved every single page. The twists and turns. The pacing and plot. The characters. It was all just a joy to read.

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This ARC was provided to me via Kindle, Harper 360 and by #NetGalley. Opinions expressed are completely my own.

Wow. I’m absolutely stunned. What a read. Dark but wildly entertaining.

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Three seventy-something women, Grace, Daphne, and Meg, acquaintances from taking a Pilates class for seniors, decide to go for tea together after class. A terrified young teen named Nina races in, improperly dressed for the cold, begging them to help her. They see how desperate she is, and send her to the ladies’ room to collect herself. It is when she has gone that a man who resembles a toad with no neck barges in, demanding to know if anyone saw her and claiming her as his “daughter.” They all deny she came in, including the shop owner, who sends him away. The owner then promptly demands that the four of them leave, telling them she wants no trouble brought to her by them or the man chasing the girl.

After the new friends discover what a horrible, criminal man “Toad” actually is, they decide to drive to to Daphne’s place on the water to keep Nina safe, only to be followed and stopped on the road by Toad and his cronies. They grab Nina out of the car and take off with her, threatening the ladies and leaving them to ponder their next move. As they begin to share their stories, the women discover the many things that both bind them together and make them so different; but one thing they agree on is that Toad must be murdered. Their decision is to hire a hit man, remove him from the picture, and get their now-beloved Nina back safely. It’s easy to see how one might underestimate these three older women, but that person will do so at their own peril…

Captivating, imaginative, mysterious, compelling, and most importantly, the one word I use infrequently: unputdownable! A psychological suspense novel, “A Beginner’s Guide to Murder,” has many twists and turns; some stunning, some a bit more predictable, but it’s full of dark humor, and I quite literally laughed out loud at some parts, which was unexpected. The main characters are beautifully written, fully fleshed-out, and I’m sure that every reader will see a bit of his-/herself in Grace, Daphne, and Meg, and quite probably the supporting cast of characters as well. There are triggers throughout the book to be aware of, including rape and trafficking of young women. That being said, it was an absolutely entertaining, clever, compelling book at “family” and what that means to each individual, and how much one is willing to risk to save someone they truly love.

I’d like to thank NetGalley, HQ/HarperCollins Publisher, and Rosalind Stopps for the ability to read and review this ARC.

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Such a marvelous novel!
A trio of women, in their seventies, embark on a mission to save a young girl.
She has approached them in a coffee shop with the simple words “ help me”
These elderly women along with a merry band of helpers eventually free Nina from her captors.
Along the way we learn a bit about each of the women to discover what makes this decision so easy for them.
I couldn’t stop reading.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me this ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

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Meg, Grace, and Daphne are acquaintances in their 70's, having tea in a cafe together, when teenage Nina rushes in, in need of help and hiding from someone. The women all band together to protect Nina, and when they find out more of her story, the new friends quickly decide the only solution is to hire a hitman. I really liked this a lot. I wasn't sure at first, but once it got going a bit, I got more and more into it and couldn't put it down. I expected more of a Thursday Murder Club feel, and it has the kind of mix of unlikely people working together but it's less light and funny. It's just as realistic, which is to say probably not very, but who cares. 4.5 stars rounded to 4.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Murder
Genre: Mystery Fiction
Format: Kindle eBook
Date Published: 7/5/22
Author: Rosalind Stopps
Publisher: HQ
Pages: 368
Goodreads Rating: 3.65

TW ⚠️: Child abuse, child trafficking, and mental illness.

I requested a digital advanced readers copy from NetGalley and HQ and providing my opinion voluntarily and unbiased.

Synopsis: Grace, Meg and Daphne, all in their seventies, are minding their own business while enjoying a cup of tea in a café, when seventeen-year-old Nina stumbles in. She’s clearly distraught and running from someone, so the three women think nothing of hiding her when a suspicious-looking man starts asking if they’ve seen her. Once alone, Nina tells the women a little of what she’s running from. The need to protect her is immediate, and Grace, Meg and Daphne vow to do just this. But how? They soon realise there really is only one answer: murder.
My Thoughts: The story begins in the current with Nina running into the cafe, and then backtracks all of their own stories and how we got to that point. Each of the ladies, Grace, Meg, Daphne, and Nina narrates, alternating, from their own perspectives. Even the story starts with a bang, there are some slow parts in the first half of the story as the foundation is built. The characters are well developed, with depth, growth, inventive, and is just really works for this story. The author does a fantastic job at the plot, it is dark and disturbing, which fills you with horror and suspense, but is not graphic, it is just done in a very mysterious tasteful way. The author’s writing style is thought provoking, has complexity in layers, creative, and intriguing. I enjoyed this book and would read other books by this author.

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I have been wanting to read this book and it did not disappoint ! the title and cover of the book was asp perfect Z
I hope this author writes more book!

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Not everything is what it seems

First, thank you to NetGalley and Harper 360 for an advanced reader's copy of this great book!

On the surface, this book appears to hit all the soft spots of a cozy mystery. The three main characters are quirky and lovable but a little naive and totally inexperienced to murder someone. I was expecting a lot of laughing and although I did get some of that, I realized this plot is a lot darker than what I was expecting. That's always a plus in my book. I do enjoy dark and twisty.

It was slow in some places but I had no problem finishing the book. It was so unique and I would never have thought to put these aspects into a single book. I think it works very well. Not everyone in life is primed and ready for action. I'm definitely not so it gave some well needed air for me as a reader.

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This book was – surprisingly – both charming and touching, along with being a suspenseful caper novel. Three older women – Grace, Daphne and Meg – are sitting in a London coffee shop together when a young, frightened girl lurches in. She heads for the restroom, and not long after a suspicious man comes in, claiming she’s his daughter. They tell him they’ve seen nothing and watch him leave, then they immediately scoot out the back, taking the young woman with them.

As the title indicates, these women are beginners in the art of murder, but their target is immediately obvious. What isn’t obvious are the personalities and characteristics of the women, and the author goes back in time to flesh out each character’s backstory, so the reader can see what shaped each one. While the three hadn’t really known each other well before the coffee shop incident, they are united in their desire to save the young girl, Nina. The real heartbreaker of the book is Nina’s story.

The reader is taken back in time where we see Nina being raised in a “care home” – in the US I think this would be a foster home – and the difficulties as well as the connections she has with some of the others in the home with her. Unfortunately, she meets another young woman when she’s on the way to the library one day. Reading the book, you want to reach through the pages and tell Nina to stay far, far away from this other young woman, but the story is already inevitable.

When Nina is again snatched by the man in the coffee shop, after experiencing a moment of safety with the women, the three redouble their efforts to save her. It becomes unsurprisingly clear that Nina is basically a prisoner of this man. He pimps her out relentlessly, moving houses frequently. It’s unclear just how the women will save her but they find an ally, Des, a friend of Daphne’s. He’s actually been in prison so they are hoping he can offer advice or maybe kill this man for them.

It becomes clear Des was neither a good or committed criminal, but he does offer some insight: the man who has Nina is basically after money, and he knows some people who might be able to help with the murder bit of the plan. What follows is basically a suspenseful caper plot, as the three women work uncomfortably with Des’s acquaintances to offer a ransom and reclaim Nina.

What’s really unexpected about this book is how touching it is. Grace, Daphne and Meg all have their own heartbreaking backstories, and as one of the women says to Nina at one point, “There’s a bit of trouble in every life.” The fact that they understand trouble makes them want to help. While their efforts sometimes seem almost silly, they are so dead serious in purpose that each step they take gets them closer to Nina.

The story is wonderful and so are these wonderful women. I am honored to have spent some time with them, and (not really a spoiler) delighted by their ultimate success. The author fills in the cracks and crevices of her story with wonderful details of London and different characters that, even if only encountered for a chapter, are so memorable they stick with you. The specific details in her story and the sweetness of the characters makes her book special.

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I will admit I wasn't sure what to expect with after all three 70-year-old women and one teenage girl.

The story starts off with the back story of the 3 and what made these women want to protect the teenage girl and well plan a murder. Rosalind Stopps uses a lot of current questions ask by many older generations which is when did we become invisible to the world?

A Beginner Guide to Murder is a dark murder mystery that will have readers laughing and falling in love with three little old ladies. Yes just the right twist to keep readers hooked.

Thank you to Netgalley for advance copy of Rosalind Stopps A Beginners Guide to Murder

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This was a very enjoyable read. It was deeper than I expected from the description - it sounded kind of like a Thursday Murder Club with a group of mature women who try to help solve a crime. But it was so much deeper than that and the relationships that the characters built with the young girl that needs rescuing and how they come together was so enjoyable and more than I expected. I enjoyed that the chapters has alternating voices of the ladies - every so often the backstory of the characters slowed the book down a bit - but overall this was a book that kept me turning the pages and wanting to find out what would happen. If you are looking for a fun thriller (with a few trigger warnings so check those out!) but with a deeper message and characters - this would be the book for you!

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher - HQ - and the author for this ARC in exchange for my honest review! :)

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A Beginner's Guide to Murder is quirky and charming, but definitely not a "cozy" mystery. There are some dark themes about human exploitation running through the story, but it never loses its warm heart.

Meg, Grace, and Daphne are three 70-something women who are tentatively bonding at a coffee shop after leaving their exercise class together. Suddenly a young woman, a girl really, bursts in asking for their help. While she hides in the coffee shop bathroom, a vicious looking man they name "the toad" enters the shop looking for the girl. As if planned, all the women deny seeing the girl and try to convince the man he is looking in the wrong place. After his departure they sneak out the door to Meg's nearby house, all three committed to helping this girl who has wandered in their midst.

The reader gradually gets filled in on Nina, the girl, and the three older lady's back stories through flashbacks. The women all decide they want to help Nina escape from the toad, and that they are willing to go to extremes to do so. In an interesting twist, one of the women has a link to someone who knows how to hire a contract killer.

The toad is determined to have his girl back, and he doesn't see three old women as very threatening adversaries. As the women face scary challenges in their quest to free Nina, they bond with each other. All three have a need for this growing friendship, and it is one of the softer moments in the book to see this friendship bloom.

I enjoyed the book highlighting older women as the heroes in the book, and showing that just because you're old, you are still capable of doing great things. Especially when the world discounts your worth and value.

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Grace, Meg and Daphne, all in their seventies, are minding their own business when seventeen-year-old Nina stumbles into their lives. She’s clearly running from someone, so the three women decide individually and corporately to hide her from a suspicious-looking man who resembles a toad.
Nina is indeed in danger. The women must decide if they will continue to harbor her or let her fend for themselves. By supporting her, they also put themselves in danger. And they expose their deepest secrets, too. They may also resort to murder.
I really like the mature lady angle. Older women indeed are often underestimated but have mad skills. These women are also willing to confront their pasts and heal from trauma. The author also shares tidbits of wisdom that made me think.
I liked the cleverness and laugh-out-loud one-liners, too.
The storyline gets a little far-fetched in places. And the writing isn't always engaging.
But overall, I enjoyed this story and wish the three friends would get together for more adventures in the future.

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This book was an unexpected highly enjoyable read that kept me on my toes. Following along with the brave older ladies as they work to save and protect a young woman they just met was pretty inspiring. The ending was not expected and oh how I enjoyed this. I will be checking out the authors other books.

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