Last year, I requested and listened to GreenWood Cove, by Celia Roman. Then, the narrator Rebecca Winder contacted me about reviewing the next two books in the series, The Deep Wood and Cemetery Hill. As I enjoyed the first one, I agreed.
Technically this is a review from last year, but I’ve pasted a copy here so that all three can be together.
I quite enjoyed this, both the story and the narration of the Audible. I struggled at first with Rebecca Winder’s version of a rural accent. It, combined with Roman’s phrasing, came across as artificial at times, more of a stereotypical mountain-speak than anything realistic. But I got used to it eventually.
I generally liked this. I liked the characters, the mystery, and the romance. But I struggled at times feeling like the romance overpowered everything else and, well, this really doesn’t feel like a first book. The characters have a lot of history and a certain amount of background is left unexplained. I kept feeling like there must be a prequel out there somewhere. (There isn’t as far as I know.) Some of this feeling probably would have been ameliorated by fleshing some of the plot points out a bit and bringing her whole paranormal investigation into the open earlier. As it was, I wasn’t even sure she’d had paranormal cases, outside of her lost son, before the events of the book, until it was finally mentioned toward the end. It felt like yet one more thing readers were just supposed to know already.
All the same, it was a fun read. There was a certain amount of humor and I’d be open to continuing the series.
The Deep Wood:
Again, I enjoyed my time with Ms. Sunshine Walkingstick. This isn’t a book of fast-paced action, but more of slow developments and strength of character. I happen to enjoy that, but if you’re looking for shootouts and car chases, or dramatic clashes of humans versus monster, you’ll be disappointed.
What I like most is Sunshines voice. She’s…Appalachian I suppose is what I’d call it. In the first book, I struggled a bit with it, but here I quite enjoyed it. Both the way Roman wrote it and the way Winder voiced it. Maybe it just took getting used to.
While I understood Sunshine had trust issues, I eventually became confused about why she was so unable to recognize Riley’s intentions toward her. He’s certainly not hiding his feelings. The whole of this is starting to stress the bounds of credibility. Similarly, considering the events at the end of the book, I’d have expected to see a bit more stress on his part.
All in all, however, I very much enjoyed this and am looking forward to book three.
I think maybe this series is just getting better, though it’s getting to the point that reviewing each individual book becomes difficult. After all, the voice, characters, world, etc is all the same. I liked it in the past two books and I still like it here. This particular mystery and monster didn’t seem quite as important as some of the past ones, maybe because it’s a middle book.
I’m still finding Sunshine’s resistance to her relationship with Riley a bit too much to believe. But I appreciate that the reader sees Riley’s frustration with this.
All in all, I’m still all in for Sunshine Walkingstick and look forward to future books. I think I’ll stick with the audio too. Winder is still doing a lovely job.