5 November 2012

Review: Take the Trophy and Run by Gail Stattler

Amber Weathersby owns the Gardens and Gifts Galore. Each year, she places a gnome in the garden that wins the Bloomfield Garden Club prize. Except this year, Gnormon (with a silent ‘g’) the gnome has gone missing, along with the trophy. She soon finds a clue, a poem comprised of letters cut out of the local paper, and this leads her and her best friend, Stan Wilson, to the gnome. But no trophy. And then Gnormon disappears, and so starts the chase to find Gnormon’s next location, and hopefully the trophy.

As he works with Amber, Stan discovers that Amber isn’t just the girl he grew up with, his oldest, closest friend. He’s in love with her. And she seems to be drawing away from him. Stan doesn’t know that Amber is also struggling with financial issues. Her parents are dead, and her uncle is pressuring her to repay his business loan, on which he has doubled the interest payments (not exactly sure how he could do that with a written contract, but never mind. Don't want to let logic get in the way of the story).

I found Take the Trophy and Run difficult to get into, although I usually enjoy cozy mysteries and I have a real soft spot for friends-to-lovers plots (this is Christian fiction, so lovers in the Victorian sense, not the modern sense). The style of writing didn’t really work for me, although there was nothing I could pinpoint as why. I think my main problem was that I was more interested in the relationship between Amber and Stan than in the mystery of the missing gnome or Amber’s financial issues. And even this has been done better, particularly in the Smart Chick Mysteries by Mindy Starns Clark. Take the Trophy and Run wasn’t bad, it just didn’t grab me until about three-quarters of the way through, and that wasn’t enough to make up for the weaker start.

Thanks to B&H Publishing and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Gail Stattler at her website.

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