Sweet On You, written by Chautona Haig
It is my hypothesis that social conventions are created to test our fortitude.
Rockland circa 1900-
As the mayor’s daughter, Madeline Brown enjoys a rich social life that many might envy. But a sharp mind but a growing talent for observation leaves Madeline torn between avoiding social censure and exploring the world around her.
With an aunt who considers higher education and employment equally unsuitable for the mayor’s daughter, there is little to amuse her save endless committee meetings, evening socials, and her favorite pastime: curling up with an exciting detective novel. The temperance and suffrage movements hold little interest for a young woman who has just endured the rigors of her father’s mayoral campaign.
So when a young man shows interest in her friend, Madeline’s interest piques–until his actions hint that he might not be the upstanding gentleman everyone presumes him to be. Unable to ignore her concerns, Madeline finds herself in the middle of an investigation into his character and discovers a side of Rockland she’s never encountered.
Will her new hobby reduce the tedium of her life, or will her “meddling” create tension for herself and her father? Will she be forced to squelch this budding skill of hers or has Madeline finally found her calling in life?
Meddlin’ Madeline: Sweet on You.
Welcome to Rockland’s infancy.
Sweet on You is the first book in the Meddlin’ Madeline Mysteries. Watch for the second book in the series, Such a Tease, in winter, 2017
SERIES: Meddlin’ Madeline #1
GENRE: Historical Mystery/Romance
PUBLISHER: Wynneword House
RELEASE DATE: April 24, 2016
“When one asks help from Providence, one should be prepared for the consequences.”
If you’re a fan of Chautona Havig’s contemporary Rockland books (Ready or Not, Argosy Junction, Noble Pursuits, etc.) then you will love going back in time a bit to experience Rockland at the turn of the twentieth century. Madeline, with all her well-intentioned meddling & her sweet relationship with her father & her obliviosity (new word) to how her friend Russell feels about her, reminded me in all the best ways of Jane Austen’s Emma. Which would make Russell a shoe-in for Mr. Knightley, and after yesterday’s bookish confession‘s post we all know how I feel about him
Madeline is a delightful character, one who is aware of her father’s position as mayor – and of her position as his daughter – and (mostly) behaves accordingly. But at the same time, she refuses to fit obediently into the mold that society would dictate to her. She’s more interested in figuring out what Mr. Vernon Smythe is hiding than in joining the temperance or suffragette movements, certainly more invested in investigating than in finding a husband.
And yet, even as Madeline ignores social conventions to follow in Sherlock Holmes’ footsteps, we the readers are treated to glimpses of a fascinating time in our country’s history. A time when electricity and cars were just starting to catch on. A time when the temperance and suffragette movements were the talk of newspapers and parlors. A time when women were starting to realize they had more options than they’d been given. And yet a time when women still had fewer options than they should have had. The history never takes over the story – that’s all Madeline and her capers! But it supports the plot and the setting in subtle ways that enhance both.
Bottom Line: Sweet on You, this first book in the new Meddlin’ Madeline series by Chautona Havig is fun and entertaining. The beginning felt a little awkward to me – as though I had missed a previous book and had to catch up. There isn’t a lot of background given, and we’re sort-of dropped into the story in progress. But other than that – and once you get past that – the story moves along nicely and Madeline in all her Emma-like quirks quickly endears herself to you. I am looking forward to more books in the series, particularly to find out if Madeline ever notices that Russell is her Knightley. : -)
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 3.5 stars / Entertaining read
Guest review contributed by Reading Is My Superpower. Peek at Top Ten Tuesday and Favorites Friday but also frequent author interviews/giveaways in a style of review that stands out from the rest.