Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Bitter Roots by Ellen Crosby

 Bitter Roots
 Book Summary

The brutal murder of a beautiful vineyard expert and a devastating storm force Virginia winemaker Lucie Montgomery to confront painful changes on the eve of her wedding.

In just over a week vineyard owner Lucie Montgomery and winemaker Quinn Santori will be married in a ceremony overlooking what should be acres of lush flowering grapevines. Instead they are confronted by an ugly swathe of slowly dying vines and a nursery owner who denies responsibility for selling the diseased plants. With neighboring vineyards facing the same problem, accusations fly and the ugly stand-off between supplier and growers looks set to escalate into open warfare.

When Eve Kerr, a stunning blonde who works at the nursery, is found dead a few days later, everyone wonders if someone in the winemaking community went too far. What especially troubles Lucie is why Eve secretly arranged to meet Quinn on the day she was murdered - and whether Lucie's soon-to-be husband knows something he's not telling her.

Then a catastrophic storm blows through, destroying everything in its path. With no power, no phones, and no wedding venue, Lucie needs to find out who killed Eve and what her death had to do with Quinn. 

 My Thoughts

Bitter Roots by Ellen Crosby is the twelfth A Wine Country Mystery.  I did not know Bitter Roots was part of a series when I requested the book.  Bitter Roots can be read as a standalone since the author provides all the necessary background information.  However, I believe it would have helped me if I had at least read the first book in the series, The Merlot Murders.  Reading a series in order allows you to get to know the characters and watch them grow as the series progresses.  I thought Bitter Roots was well-written with developed characters.  Ellen Crosby is a descriptive writer.  She paints a picture so readers can envision Virginia’s wine country.  I could imagine myself sitting on the patio behind the house sipping a glass of wine while looking at the grape vines blooming.  The detailed descriptions, though, do slow down the pace of the book.  The story goes into details on growing grapes, making wine, diseases that affect grapes, climate change, and the myriad of other details that go into making wine.  It is interesting to learn, but I wish it had been presented in a different manner. There are numerous characters.  It is difficult to keep track of all of them (vineyard owners, the vineyard managers, employees, family, townspeople, etc.).   I did feel there was too much repetition, especially regarding the affected grapes. 

The mystery was straightforward.  Lucie investigates Eve’s death because her fiancé, Quinn is at the top of the suspect list.  There is misdirection, several suspects, and helpful clues.  A severe storm hinders the investigation and there is a chance the wedding will not take place.   I did not find the whodunit challenging.  I kept hoping for a twist that would surprise me. The reveal explained who and why they committed the crime.  The ending will have fans of the series smiling.  Bitter Roots is not a lighthearted, fun cozy mystery.  Bitter Roots has a serious tone that delves into issues affecting grape vines.  I do want to let you know that there is foul language in the story.  While Bitter Roots was not a good fit for me, it appeals to many readers.  If you like the sound of Bitter Roots, you should read a sample to see if it is the right fit for you.  Bitter Roots transports readers to Virginia’s wine country where there is a vine virus, nursery controversy, blending get-together, a severe storm, wedding worries, confrontation with killer, and, hopefully, a happily ever after.

Bitter Roots is available from Amazon*.  You can find the other eleven A Wine Country Mysteries here.  You can follow Ellen Crosby on Amazon so you will be notified when she has a new release.  If you like the sound of Bitter Roots, please read a sample to see if this book suits you.  That is the beauty of books.  There is something for everyone.  I appreciate you reading my review today.  I will return tomorrow with Knit or Dye Trying by Allie Pleiter.  It is the second A Riverbank Knitting Mystery.  I hope that you have a stress free day (wouldn't that be wonderful).  Take care, be kind, and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader 

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