Book Review: The Ruby Locket by Anita Higman and Hillary McMullen

Book Review: The Ruby Locket by Anita Higman and  Hillary McMullenThe Ruby Locket (Belrose Abbey Mystery #1) by Anita Higman, Hillary McMullen
Narrator: Michelle Babb
Series: Belrose Abbey Mystery #1
Published by Winged Publications on 02-28-17
Genres: Cozy Mystery, Mystery
Length: 3 hrs and 22 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Narrator
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Goodreads
Overal Rating: four-half-stars

When Anne’s mother agrees to marry a wealthy, mysterious man, she expects a nice mansion in the hills. But their new home, Belrose Abbey, is more like a castle—imposing, cold, and full of shadows. The more Anne explores the corridors and vacant rooms and dusty crannies, the more she discovers about the abbey’s master—her soon-to-be stepfather—Ivan Helsburg. As her mother’s wedding draws closer, Anne begins to harbor a creeping suspicion that all is not well at Belrose Abbey.

Some time after her husband’s death, Dauphine has decided to remarry. The groom, Ivan Helsburg, is an old fashioned Hungarian who is stinking rich and lives in Belrose Abbey, a great mansion in the middle of nowhere. Dauphine and her daughter Anne move to the Abbey some days before the wedding, just to find a dark and somber place with mysterious servants and secret passages. Soon after their arrival mother and daughter find out that there was a previous Mrs. Helsburg, but what happened to her?

I always love a good cozy mystery to rest from other harder listens. This one is quite short, ideal to listen from beginning to end on the same day. I felt something unnatural in all the mystery surrounding Ivan and the Abbey. Paranormal is not my favorite genre, but the story trapped me in a way that I could not stop listening. The atmosphere of the Abbey is very well described, and the feelings of the characters seem so real that I was almost able to smell the dusty passages they had to traverse.

Chapters are narrated from the point of view of either Dauphine or Anne. To make things clear, each is preceded by the name in question. I found this made the story easy to follow. Somehow, even despite the age difference, I found myself connecting to the teenage daughter more thsn to Dauphine. Anne is clever and resolute, and the heroin in this book; while Dauphine is severely damaged by her past and weak to the point that I wanted to shake her and tell her to open her eyes.

I found the setting and events really intriguing, and the characters very well pictured. The characters feel like real people, and each one of them is very well defined.

I had the impression that the story had a paranormal touch, but in the end it did not show up. I am not sure if it will be like this on future books, I am curious to find out.

There is a long build up, reveling pieces of the mystery. This kept me interested and intrigued, but I felt the end a bit rushed and anticlimactic. It could be that I expected something more due to that paranormal touch, and the end eliminated any possibility of supernatural forces behind the Abby mysteries. Still, I think there are still a lot of unrevealed mysteries that will show up in future installments.

My main reason for listening to this book was that it is narrated by Michelle Babb. Apart from Cozy Mystery is also considered YA, and with this genre I tend to tread carefully, since they do not always fulfill my expectations. With Michelle Babb narrating this book I decided to give it a chance, and I am glad that I did, since it was a much better book than I expected. Michelle Babb’s abilities to narrate Cozy Mysteries are unique, giving the story a special rhythm, and interpreting the characters in a way that brings them to life. There is no boring listening with Michelle, and I am sure I would even enjoy her reading the phone book.

I am looking forward to the next book, see how  Dauphine and Anne get acclimated to the Abbey, and discover what mysteries are still awaiting them.

I received a copy of this book in audio format from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.
My name is Elena. Since I was a little child I loved science fiction and fantasy, and I can’t resist to a good novel. In 2015, while wait I started to listen to audiobooks and I discovered the pleasure in being able to read while doing my daily tasks, so there’s always an audiobook playing on my phone. If you see me with my Bluetooth headphones on, please be gentle, I get easily startled.

I live with my boyfriend, which I met during my six year stay in Belgium, two cockatiels, five lovebirds, and two Gouldian finches in Madrid, Spain; and I like to spend my free time knitting and sewing while listening to audiobooks.

Story (Plot)
four-stars
Narration
five-stars
Overall: four-half-stars
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