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The Red Book of Primrose House by Marty…
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The Red Book of Primrose House

by Marty Wingate

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Showing 5 of 5
Sissy: The Red Book refers to actual landscaping plans done by Humphry Repton, who is a real historical figure. This made the whole story, along with the English setting (you know how I love my English settings) more interesting to me. Overall, a very entertaining read.
Bubby: The Red Book of Primrose House actually made me want to go plant something. That's an accomplishment! Can't wait for book (Read full review at www.bubblebath-books.com) ( )
  bubblebathbooks | Jan 14, 2015 |
3.5 stars
Texan transplant Pru (Prunella) Parke was offered and accepted the position of head gardener at Primrose House in Sussex. Using the famous Red Book of Humphry Repton, Pru’s mission is to restore the gardens to their former glory. Hiring Pru, versus the local applicant, has created tension and bad feelings locally. Are those feelings strong enough to justify the murder of one of Pru’s crew?

THE RED BOOK OF PRIMROSE HOUSE (Potting Shed Mystery #2) was my introduction to Pru and Christopher.

Pru is half English (mother) and Texan (father). Her mother’s stories about England created a yearning in Pru, from a young age, to live in England. She finally makes the leap and at the end of #1 is offered the head gardener post at Primrose House ensuring her stay in England.
There’s a lot I like and enjoy about Pru.
Her maturity, she’s fifty-four.
Her work ethic, gardening isn’t easy work but it does have numerous benefits physical and mental.
She’s intelligent, has a sense of humor and is courageous. Not many people would pull up stakes leaving everything behind and move to another country.
Now here is what bewildered me about Pru. Feeling an affinity for another country or place when you’ve grown up hearing stories about it and experiencing many of its traditions is understandable. There’d naturally be a desire to see and experience it yourself. What’s hard to fathom is why Pru would want to suppress her Texan. She pretty much has the British reserve down with the exception of a cry or two. These lapses are completely understandable given the circumstances. What I didn’t see was any real evidence of the justifiably famous Southern warmth and charm. On the contrary, she tries to keep Texas from her speech and hides to drink ice tea? Why? Is there an attempt to explain this in the first book?

Christopher Pearce, Pru’s fella. Christopher is a DCI at the Met in London. He’s handsome, intelligent, and not the least reserved when with Pru. They have the weekends but soon discover that isn’t enough. Nor is he close enough to suit him when the garden vandalism incidents begin. He’s aware of Pru’s penchant for getting involved and the danger that can entail. His protective streak is endearing, even more so as he can’t always be there or fix everything. His feelings obviously run deeply. There’s no shortage of passion and intensity between these two.

THE RED BOOK OF PRIMROSE HOUSE is the only mystery I can recall where the prologue is the murder from the victims point of view. The first chapter then pre-dates the murder giving the reader a unique perspective. This literary device actually made it easier for me to suss out the who in whodunit. The secondary characters are well developed. However, taking into account the ending of THE RED BOOK OF PRIMROSE HOUSE and the nature of Pru’s work these appear likely to change each book, with a few exceptions of course.
THE RED BOOK OF PRIMROSE HOUSE is an entertaining niche cozy liberally laced with clever red herrings and a mature protagonist who is taking life by the horns and giving it her all. The gardening details combined with the historical aspect of the Red Books and their author is especially interesting. Personally speaking, historical additions always make a good read better.
Reviewed for Miss Ivy’s Book Nook Take II & Manic Readers ( )
  ivydtruitt | Nov 12, 2014 |
Marty Wingate is a Seattle-based author with an advanced degree in urban horticulture. She has not only published non-fiction works on gardening but also leads garden tours throughout the U.S. and Europe. The Red Book of Primrose House is Book #2 in her Potting Shed Mysteries series; however, I had not read Book #1, The Garden Plot, and had no problem jumping right into Book #2. The Red Book of Primrose House is a classic English cozy mystery for all of you who like the puzzles that mysteries present but with more of that it-takes-a-village feel that we get with cozies. If you love the idea of gardening even if you never do it, this one is a no brainer. The same is true if you like classic cozies and fish out of water stories. So, let’s find out if it should be on your TBR pile at http://popcornreads.com/?p=7825. ( )
  PopcornReads | Oct 23, 2014 |
This was an entertaining, cozy mystery. Pru Parke is an England and has landed a dream job. She is restoring the gardens at an eighteenth-century manor house. If only someone wasn't trying to sabotage her work by acts of vandalism and, if only, her employer would quit sending her emails filled with her latest "good ideas."

Pru is busy working on restoring the gardens on a very short timeline. She is also trying to maintain a long-distance relationship with Inspector Christopher Pearse who is also massively busy in London. When vandalism turns to murder, Pru begins investigating to clear her employees and winds up putting herself in danger.

I had figured out the murderer early on but it was still entertaining to watch Pru investigate. The story was filled with interesting characters. Even the most minor, like the nosy neighbor, were well-rounded people.

I enjoyed watching Pru try to juggle her work responsibilities with her growing romance with Christopher. I also enjoyed seeing her work out her relationship with her newly-discovered family. I think what I liked best was the the romance was between two fifty-somethings who had lives and histories that had to be balanced.

Fans of cozy mysteries and gardeners (I don't know a dandelion from a petunia myself) will enjoy this story. ( )
  kmartin802 | Sep 30, 2014 |
Sissy: This is a sequel to The Garden Plot which we reviewed back in February. So lovely to follow Pru Parke to her dream job as Head Gardener of Primrose House and to watch her romance blossom with the dishy Inspector Christopher Pearse. She's of course involved in a new murder mystery (some people just have bodies following them around all over the place!) and this one does not disappoint.

Bubby: As much as I enjoyed Marty Wingate's writing on the last go-round, I really have to say that she's improved her skills in this new offering. The dialogue is sharp and witty and the characters are memorable and interesting. I enjoyed the heightened romance between Prue and Christopher as well. I'm excited to see what happens next in their relationship! Read full review at www.bubblebathbooks.net ( )
  bubblebathbooks | Sep 5, 2014 |
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