Marriage and Murder, while the second book in this series, falls after book #4.5 in the Winston Bros. series. Cletus is a Winston and Jenn is his baked good champion fianceé who have spinned off their own mystery series set in the same world and in the same timeline as these other Winston and Folk Tales series. In Marriage and Murder we are a little closer to their upcoming nuptials and in fact the heart of the story revolves around their engagement party and the murder of a family member. If you’ve read Beard in Hiding you will already be familiar with this tale, but from Diane Bonner’s point of view (Jenn’s mom). This story is more of a murder mystery with Jenn and Cletus using all of their devious (Cletus) and naive (Jenn) skills to find out who, what, and why. There are many perils, pitfalls, and reveals revolving around this whodunnit that was surprisingly emotional and super sinful.
I listened to this book and was again skillfully led along by narrators Joy Nash and Chris Brinkley. Both of whom are very talented and have their characters Tennessee accents voiced spot on. Despite the talent of these narrators, I was a little let down by the repetitiveness of this story with Diane Bonner’s own version in Beard in Hiding. Other than some romantic moments between Cletus and Jenn and a few other added scenes leading up to their marriage I got a little bored. Oh, I know that I said that I was disappointed in Beard In Hiding’s ending because of all the unanswered questions, and those questions were definitely answered in this book, but there were too many repeated scenes leading up to those answers. Maybe if I had been reading the book it would’ve been easier to skim and skip, but in listening to the book I was held hostage by the slower moving audio. Admittedly, this did hamper my enjoyment of this novel so that I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first in this series.
What did I like about this novel? Well, Jenn is a fabulous heroine and while she lays on the sweet a little too much, she also has a sassy side that comes out when she’s around Cletus. Cletus also is devious and brilliantly written. This novel just didn’t have enough original content until about 2/3’s of the way through the book to hold my interest. It’s only because of my love for all things Penny Reid that I listened to this novel all the way through. This story felt pretty wrapped up so I’m unsure if there will be another book in the series, but despite my lukewarm feelings over this one I will most likely tune in to a third. Although, I think I may read the next novel instead of investing my hours in listening. ❤️❤️❤️
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