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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Okay, Now I'm Invested ... (With a Giveaway!)

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Note:  Although this review will not contain spoilers from The Clue in the Trees, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from its predecessor, Enchantment Lake.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.

After a harrowing summer at her aunts' lakeside cabin, 17-year-old Francie Frye has decided to stay in little Walpurgis.  As far as excitement goes, Brooklyn has nothing on the Minnesota Northwoods.  Not that Francie is looking for anything more thrilling than the normal, everyday life of an average, ordinary high school senior, mind you.  

When a surly archaeologist is strangled to death while manning an important dig near the aunts' cabin, everyone expects their own northwoods Nancy Drew to take up the case.  Francie couldn't be more disinterested.  Been there, done that.  Then her older brother shows up unexpectedly, trailing trouble in his wake.  Francie hasn't seen Theo in three years.  There's plenty she doesn't know about him and it's obvious he's hiding some big secrets.  Could one of them be that he's a murderer?  With Theo as the prime suspect in the murder of the archaeologist, Francie's got no choice but to launch her own investigation.  She has to prove her brother innocent.  With mounting evidence against him, though, she's forced to ask a chilling question:  Is Theo guilty?  In a situation where nothing is as it seems, Francie must solve a complex puzzle before time runs out for her brother and herself ...

You might remember that I wasn't overly enthusiastic about Enchantment Lake, the first book in the Northwoods Mystery series by Margi Preus.  I'm happy to report that I'm much fonder of its second installment, The Clue in the Trees.  While there are a few incongruencies in the tale that I'm still trying to figure out, overall, the book provides a fast, fun mystery that surprised me in the end.  The vibrant lake setting remains the star of this particular show, but I did find Francie more likeable this time around.  I'm also enjoying the continued mystery surrounding her parents' suspicious demises.  After reading Enchantment Lake, I had little desire to continue with the series.  Now, though, I'm invested and looking forward to Francie's next adventure.  

(Readalikes:  Enchantment Lake by Margi Preus; also reminds me a bit of the Jess Tennant series [How to Fall; Bet Your Life; Hide and Seek] by Jane Casey)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  I received a finished copy of The Clue in the Trees from the generous folks at University of Minnesota Press via those at Fantastic Flying Book Club.  Thank you!


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About the Author:
Margi Preus is a New York Times bestselling author of several books for young readers, including the Newbery Honor book, Heart of a Samurai, the Minnesota Book Award winning West of the Moon, and Shadow on the Mountain, a Notable Book for a Global Society. New in 2015 is Enchantment Lake, a northwoods mystery, and The Bamboo Sword, which Bookpage says is “historical fiction at its best.”

“Margi Preus has a remarkable ability to create fascinating, page-turning stories that transport readers to faraway times and places. Whether she’s evoking Norway during World War II or 19th century Japan, Preus combines impeccable research with strong characterization and plot—the very elements that draw readers into history and spark the curiosity to learn more.”  Bookpage, Sept. 2015



  1. Glad to know these books get better as you go along. This review makes me want to add both books to my TBR list. Thanks! ;D

  2. It's always great when a second book in a series is better than the first and makes you glad you gave it a shot.


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