Hannah is thrilled to be marrying Ross Barton, her college crush. And her excitement only grows when she learns he’ll be able to join her on her trip to New York City for the Food Channel’s dessert chef contest. They get a taste of the Big Apple before Hannah wins the Hometown Challenge and the producers bring all the contestants to Lake Eden to tape the remainder of the show. It’s nerve-wracking enough being judged by Alain Duquesne, a celebrity chef with a nasty reputation. But it’s even more chilling to find him stabbed to death in the Lake Eden Inn’s walk-in cooler—before he’s even had a chance to taste Hannah’s Butterscotch Sugar Cookies! Now Hannah has not only lost her advantage, she’ll have to solve a mystery with more layers than a five-tiered wedding cake…
Features over a dozen cookie and dessert recipes from the Cookie Jar, including Chocolate Coffee Cake and Butterscotch Sugar Cookies!
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Wedding Cake Murder
By JOANNE FLUKE
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2016 H.L. Swensen, Inc.
All rights reserved.
"No, it's not the wedding I dreamed of, but it is the wedding I want!" Hannah Swensen's hands shook slightly as she replaced her cup of coffee in the bone china saucer. She'd been so startled by Grandma Knudson's question that a few drops had sloshed out of her cup and landed in its matching saucer. The matriarch of Holy Redeemer Lutheran Church was known for being outspoken, but Hannah hadn't expected to be grilled about her upcoming nuptials when Grandma Knudson had called her at The Cookie Jar, Hannah's coffee shop and bakery, and invited her to the parsonage for coffee.
"Everyone's talking, you know," Grandma Knudson confided, leaning forward in her chair. "No one can understand why they haven't been invited to the wedding. I told them you preferred a small, intimate family affair, but they feel left out. And almost everyone from my Bible study group asked me if there was something wrong."
"Wrong?" Hannah repeated, not certain what Grandma Knudson meant.
"Yes. People always think that there's something wrong when a wedding takes place behind closed doors. Weddings aren't supposed to be private. They're supposed to be joyous celebrations."
"I am joyous! I mean, joyful. And so is Ross. I just thought it might be easier for everyone if we didn't have a big public display."
"Because of Norman and Mike?"
"Well ... yes. That's part of the reason. This is rather sudden, and they haven't had time to get used to the idea that Ross and I are getting married. I thought it would be ..." Hannah paused, trying to think of another word, but only one came to mind. "I thought it would be easier for them this way," she finished.
Grandma Knudson was silent as she stared at Hannah, and that made Hannah want to explain. "You know ..." she continued. "If I'd invited everyone to a huge wedding and reception, it would be almost like ... like ..."
The older woman let her struggle for a moment, and then she gave a nod. "Like rubbing their noses in it?"
"Yes! I mean, not exactly. But some people might think that that's what I was doing."
"Perhaps," Grandma Knudson conceded. "Tell me about Ross. Did he think that a small, private wedding was a good idea?"
"I ... actually ..." Hannah paused and took a deep breath. "Ross and I didn't really talk about that. He just told me that anything I wanted to do about the wedding would be fine with him."
"I see. Did you at least meet with Mike and Norman and talk to them about what you'd decided?"
"No. I wanted to spare their feelings. I thought it might be too painful for them to discuss it."
"You mean you thought it might be too painful for you to discuss it, don't you?" Grandma Knudson corrected her bluntly.
Hannah sighed heavily. She had to be truthful. "Perhaps you're right," she admitted, and made a move to pick up her cup and saucer rather than meet the older woman's eyes. "I guess I really wasn't thinking clearly, and I certainly didn't think that a small wedding would cause all this fuss. I just wanted to get married before I had to leave for the Food Channel Dessert Chef Competition. I thought that Ross could go with me and it would be our honeymoon."
"I see. And the competition is in three weeks?"
"That's right." Hannah managed to take a sip of her coffee and then she put it back down on the table again. Why was Grandma Knudson asking all these questions? There must be a reason. As Hannah sat there, trying to think of why Grandma Knudson was giving her the third degree, the light dawned. "Mother!" Hannah said with a sigh.
"What did you say?"
"I said Mother. She put you up to this, didn't she? She wanted me to have a big wedding and I refused. So Mother came running to you to see if you could convince me to change my mind! Isn't Mother the reason you invited me here for coffee?"
"She's part of the reason. But the other part is that I wanted you to taste my lemon pie. It's the easiest pie I've ever made. All you need is a lemon, sugar, butter, and eggs. You put everything in a blender, pour it into one of those fancy frozen piecrusts Florence carries down at the Red Owl, and bake it. But you haven't even sampled it yet."
Hannah looked down at the dessert plate resting next to her cup and saucer. Grandma Knudson's pie did look delicious. "Is that crème fraiche on the top?"
"Yes. It's your crème fraiche, the one you use on your strawberry shortcake. And if you don't want to go to the bother of making that, you can use vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream. Taste it, Hannah. I want your opinion."
Hannah picked up her fork and took a bite. And then she took another bite. "It's delicious," she said. "It has exactly the right amount of tartness to balance the sweetness."
"I'm glad you like it, but let's get back to Mike and Norman. You're not getting off the hot seat so easily. Your mother's very upset, you know. People have been stopping her on the street and asking when your wedding invitations will arrive."
"Did she tell them that it was a small, private wedding?"
Grandma Knudson shook her head. "No. She was too embarrassed. You know as well as I do what people think when you get married so fast in a small, private ceremony."
"They think I'm ... ?" There was no way Hannah could finish her question. She was too shocked.
"Of course they think that. It's usually the case, especially with a first marriage like yours. There's even a betting pool that Hal McDermott set up down at the café for the date the baby will be born."
Hannah's mouth dropped open and she shut it quickly. And then she gave a rueful laugh. "What happens to the betting pool if there's no baby? Because there isn't!"
"Good question. My guess is that Hal gets to keep the proceeds, and that's not right. I think I'll have Bob and Claire go down there and convince him to give all that money to the local charities. That would serve people right for betting on something like that!"
"Do you think Hal will agree to give the money to charity?"
"He'll have to. Betting pools are illegal in Winnetka County, and Hal knows it. So is playing poker for money behind that curtain of his in the back room of the café. He'll knuckle under. You don't have to worry about that. And if he doesn't, Bob will give a rousing sermon about gambling the next time Rose drags Hal to church."
Hannah couldn't help it. She laughed. Grandma Knudson always got what she wanted, and this would be no exception.
"That's better," Grandma Knudson commented. "It's good to hear you laugh. Now what are you going to do about Mike and Norman?"
"What do you think I should do? Invite them to be Ross's groomsmen at a huge church wedding?"
"I think that's exactly what you should do! Give Mike and Norman a chance to step up to the plate. As it stands right now, everyone's buzzing about the fact that their hearts are broken. If both of them are in the wedding party, it'll put all those wagging tongues to rest. Believe you me, they'll jump at the chance to do that!"
"Are you sure?"
"I'm positive." Grandma Knudson locked eyes with Hannah. "Neither one of those men enjoys being the butt of gossip, and both of them like Ross. Of course they're disappointed that you didn't choose one of them, but they'll do the right thing if you ask them."
Hannah thought about that for a moment. Norman and Mike did like Ross. The three men were friends. And she knew that Ross liked Mike and Norman. If she'd said she wanted a big wedding and asked Ross to choose two men to be groomsmen, he would probably have chosen Mike and Norman.
Grandma Knudson was waiting for an answer, and Hannah hedged a little. "You may be right, but I'll have to ask Ross what he thinks of the idea."
"I did that this morning. I called Ross at work and he said it was fine with him if that was what you wanted. And Mike and Norman are definitely on board. I double-checked with them right afterwards. And both of them told me that they'll accept if you ask them."
"You called Mike and Norman, too?"
"Of course I did. I wanted to make sure this would work."
Hannah gave a little groan. Railroaded. She'd been railroaded, but Grandma Knudson had a point she couldn't ignore. If everyone in town was gossiping about her and Hal had even set up a betting pool, she had to do something to turn things around. And then she remembered what Grandma Knudson had said. "You said you double-checked with Mike and Norman this morning?"
"If you double-checked, that means you or someone else had checked with them before this morning. Was that someone you?"
Grandma Knudson looked slightly flustered. "Actually ... no."
With a burst of lightning clarity, Hannah saw the whole picture. Her eyes narrowed and she faced the matriarch of the church squarely. "Mother checked with them before you did. Is that right?"
Grandma Knudson sighed. "Yes, but she didn't want you to know that it was her idea."
"That figures," Hannah said with a sigh.
"Your mother is an expert when it comes to gossip," Grandma Knudson attempted to explain, "but she was afraid you'd reject her plan out of hand if she was the one to suggest it. That's why she asked me to talk to you about it. And I did. Your mother, Andrea, and Michelle are already working out the details of your wedding."
"They're planning my wedding without me?"
"Yes, but you know how long wedding plans take. Delores and the girls have everything organized, but nothing's been firmed up yet. All they need is for you to give them the go-ahead."
Hannah was silent. She wasn't quite ready to cave in yet.
"Your mother said to tell you that she knows you're busy at The Cookie Jar and you have to be in New York for the dessert competition very soon. She's absolutely certain that everything will be ready so that you can get married, have a reception at the Lake Eden Inn, and leave for New York the next morning."
"Mother can pull off a big wedding in less than three weeks?"
"Yes. And you don't have to do any wedding planning. Your sisters and Delores are completely prepared to arrange everything."
Again, Hannah was silent. She didn't like the idea of turning everything over to her mother and sisters, but it seemed like the only reasonable option since she'd made such a mess of it on her own.
"Delores said to tell you that there are only two things you have to do," Grandma Knudson spoke again. "The first thing is to choose your wedding dress. Your mother has already consulted with Claire at Beau Monde, and Claire has ordered more than a half-dozen gowns for your approval. When they come in, Claire will let you know so that you can run next door to try them on. All you have to do is choose the one you want to wear and Claire will do any alterations you might need."
Hannah gave a slight smile. At least they were letting her choose her own wedding gown! And it was true that she didn't have time to organize a big wedding. The nightmare of trying to arrange Delores's wedding was still fresh in her mind. There was no way she wanted to get involved in a morass like that again, but she was the bride and it was a bit disconcerting not to be involved in any of the planning. "What's the second thing they want me to do?" she asked.
"Show up at the church on time."
Hannah's sarcastic nature kicked in, and the question popped out of her mouth before she could exercise restraint. "Do they want me to show up with or without Ross?"
Grandma Knudson burst into laughter. "With Ross. Not even your mother could accomplish a wedding without a groom." The older woman reached out to take Hannah's hand. "Are you all right with this plan, Hannah? If you're not, we can try to come up with something else that'll work."
Grandma Knudson was waiting for an answer and Hannah took a deep breath. "Yes, I'm all right with it as long as Ross and I can get married before the Food Channel competition. Do you think that's possible?"
"Your mother assured me that it was."
Hannah gave a reluctant nod. "All right then. I'll do it, if you'll do something for me."
"I'd like a second piece of your lemon pie, and I'd also like to have the recipe. It's the best non-meringue lemon pie I've ever tasted!"
EASY LEMON PIE
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F., rack in the middle position.
Note from Grandma Knudson: I got this recipe from my friend, Lois Brown, who lives in Phoenix, AZ. She has a lemon tree in her backyard so she always has lemons to make this pie.
Hannah's 1st Note: You can make this recipe in a food processor or a blender. We use a food processor down at The Cookie Jar.
1 frozen 9-inch piecrust (or
one you've made yourself)
1 whole medium-size lemon
½ cup butter (1 stick, 4
ounces, ¼ pound)
1 cup white (granulated)
4 large eggs
Sweetened whipped cream to
put on top of your pie
If you used a frozen pie crust, take it out of the package and set it on a cookie sheet with sides while you make the filling for the pie.
If you made your own piecrust, roll it out, put it in a 9-inch pie pan, cut it to fit the pie pan, and crimp the edges so it looks nice. Then set it on a cookie sheet with sides to wait for its filling.
Cut the tough ends off your lemon. Cut it in half and then cut each half into 4 slices. (The slices should be round, like wagon wheels.)
Cut the other half-lemon into 4 similar slices to make 8 slices in all.
Examine the slices and pick out any seeds. Throw the seeds away.
Place all 8 seedless slices in a blender (or a food processor).
Turn on the blender or food processor and process the lemon slices until they are mush. (This is not a regular cooking term, but I bet you know what I mean!) Melt the half-cup of butter in the microwave or on the stovetop. (If you'd rather do it in the microwave, this should take about 50 seconds on HIGH.)
Pour the melted butter over the lemon mush in the blender.
Add the cup of white sugar.
Crack open the 4 eggs and add them one by one.
Turn on the blender or food processor and blend everything until it is a homogenous mush. (Another nonregulation cooking term.)
Pour the lemon mixture into the crust.
Bake your Easy Lemon Pie at 350 degrees F. for 40 minutes or until the mixture turns solid and the top is brown.
Take your pie out of the oven and cool it on a cold stove burner or a wire rack. Once it is cool, cover it with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate it until you're ready to serve.
Hannah's 2nd Note: I like to use my Crème Fraiche on this pie. Here's the recipe just in case you don't have it handy:
HANNAH'S WHIPPED CRÈME FRAICHE
(This will hold for several hours. Make it ahead of time and refrigerate it.)
2 cups heavy whipping cream
½ cup white (granulated) sugar
½ cup sour cream (you can substitute unflavored
yogurt, but it won't hold as well and you'll have to do
it at the last minute)
½ cup brown sugar (to sprinkle on top after you
cut your pie into pieces)
Whip the cream with the white sugar until it holds a firm peak. Test for this by shutting off the mixer, and "dotting" the surface with your spatula. Once you have firm peaks, gently fold in the sour cream. You can do this by hand or by using the slowest speed on the mixer.
Transfer the mixture to a covered bowl and store it in the refrigerator until you are ready to serve your Easy Lemon Pie.
To serve your pie, cut it into 6 generous pieces or 8 smaller slices and put each slice on a pretty dessert plate.
Top each slice with a generous dollop or two of Hannah's Whipped Crème Fraiche.
Sprinkle the top of the Whipped Crème Fraiche with brown sugar.
Hannah's 3rd Note: If you want to get really fancy, cut a paper-thin slice of lemon, dip it in granulated sugar, and put it on top of each slice of pie.
Excerpted from Wedding Cake Murder by JOANNE FLUKE. Copyright © 2016 H.L. Swensen, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Wait, so the arrogant & self-righteous Hannah strings 2 guys along over 18 books only to turn around & marry a guy out of left field. Hmmm. Mike & Norman, both, should buy lottery tickets. They had a lucky escape. What an unpleasant character she has become. I wouldn't let friends or family treat me the way she treats her friends and family. I know these are supposed to be "clean" cozy mysteries. However, I find Hannah's lack of basic manners and respect towards people for whom she supposedly cares far more repugnant than a tasteful love scene. This series needs to be put out of it' s misery. Also, the cost of each book is getting too high! $12.99 for the next one to be released? Really!?
Better than last two books. Should have developed ross better or had him killed off. Killing off fiance would have been more exciting.
Hannah didn't get an engagement ring.. With all the unimportant details, where's the ring? Come on, Jo!!! So disappointed with you!
I have read all of the Hannah Swensen series and I love this book!!! I couldnt put it down!!
Very disappointed in this book. I have enjoyed all of the books in this series, but the suddenness of Hannah's engagement to Ross didn't fit with the character. Plus, the wishy-washy behavior was out of character. At one point, I was wishing that Ross would be the murder victim and Hannah would see that Norman was her real true love.
There is very little in the way of mystery in this book. Not much about the murder is mentioned, it is mostly about a cooking competition. Not even the wedding was a big topic & it has been a huge topic in all the books about getting Hannah married. We have seen Hannah develop relationships with Mike & Norman for 18 books & then marry Ross out of nowhere. Ross & Hannah don't even have more than a couple paragraphs together, always eating. And seriously, how is the most intimate thing mentioned a hug with a couple kisses? Is this series meant for 12 year olds?
I've always loved this series but this one really seems to have been phoned in. Fluke has always had a habit of having her characters think something then someone else say almost that exact thing out loud but this book was heavy with it. There was also a lot of very bad dialogue. I'll admit I'm also very disappointed about having read 18 or so books building up relationships between Hannah, Norman, and Mike just to have Ross pop up recently and marry her. I think I am done with this series. I may reread the earlier books but I do not have any interest in future ones.
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for my fair and honest review. All thoughts and theories are my own. I have been reading this series for at least 13 years, give or take. I have read the opinions about her Norman/Mike romance, I have read all the negative opinions as well as the positive. Everyone has a right to their own opinion and I think everyone is entitled to state their opinion as well. This is mine: I feel like I know all the Swenson sisters as I have read each book more than once. I am happy with the marriage between Ross and Hannah, I believe Hannah deserves happiness and contentment and I don't think she would find it with Mike or Norman. We all know Mike has a wandering eye and he can be very arrogant at times. Norman is sweet, kind, caring and he does love Hannah, however, I think the author would feel obligated to keep up that image if they were to marry, and to be honest, the book would go from mystery to romance in a flash. With her marriage to Ross, her college friend, a man we know very little about, it can lead to all kinds of wild ideas for further books. In this book, Hannah is preparing for the Dessert Chef Competition, as well as her up and coming wedding. As nervous as she is, Hannah really wants to win the competition and with having her sister Michelle by her side, it could be a win win situation. When the competition is moved to an earlier date, Hannah has no choice but to leave the wedding plans in Andrea and Delores' hands, and well, we know how that can be! As Hannah prepares for the competition, she gets some insight on one of the judges and hopes her stunning desserts will land her a win. Unfortunately, the judge Hannah hopes to impress is a nasty piece of work and someone decides to take him out, literally. Now Hannah has a competition to win, a wedding to prepare for and a murder to solve, all in a few days! Will she make it to the altar on time? I think the wonderfully talented Joanne Fluke did a marvelous job with this book. The story was well developed and fast paced. There were times I actually suspected Ross as being the murderer. This story really blends the relationship of Hannah, Ross, Mike and Norman. It didn't feel overdone or too mushy. There are so many Hannah fans that will appreciate the smooth writing style as well as the story itself. Well done and I can't wait for the next one.
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The latest installment in the Hannah Swenson series follows Hannah as she prepares to marry Ross, while she is a contestant in the Food Channel’s dessert chef contest. Halfway through the novel, one of the celebrity chefs is found murdered. Hannah is soon on the case. This is another enjoyable addition to the series. I enjoyed the parts where Hannah was in the cooking contest. I like to watch cooking competition shows, so this part of the novel was fun. What I did not care for in this novel was Ross, Hannah’s fiancé. Along the series, Hannah has dated Mike and Norman and hasn’t been able to make up her mind; she has not been ready to get married. Along the way, I have been rooting for her to pick Norman. He is a great guy who treats Hannah well and several times has helped her when she is trying to solve a murder. Mike, while also a nice guy, hasn’t been as considerate of Hannah. Numerous times he will show up late at her house, expecting Hannah to cook for him. Inconsiderate! Especially considering how Hannah is a baker and needs to get up early to work at her cookie shop. He also discourages Hannah from trying to solve the murders that keep happening in their small town. However, I would have been happier had she chosen one of these two guys over Ross. (Even if it had been Mike.) Ross seems to come out of nowhere, all the sudden Hannah is in love with this guy and ready to get married. I don’t trust him! Something is off. Along the way, Hannah finds her plane and hotel upgraded when she goes to the cooking show. Ross claims he is using frequent flier miles, but he seems shady. It makes you wonder if something else is really going on. In on part of the book, the cooking show is moved up earlier and Hannah immediately calls a family member to let them know. Hannah’s family then questions her why Ross wasn’t the first person she called to tell the news. How is this not a red flag? Her fiancé should be the first person that she should have wanted to take to. Hannah claims to not have wanted to bother him while he was at work. Lame. She just shouldn’t marry him. I would definitely recommend checking out this entire series. It is a great light, mystery series. Plus, in each book you will find wonderful recipes between some of the chapters. Lake Eden, where Hannah lives, is a wonderful little town that makes you want to go there. It is filled with great characters along the way.
I enjoyed this book but there are too many recipes!
Love this series
It was nice to see the main character get her "happy ending"
I have always loved this series and continue to follow Hannah, whatever she does. I can understand why others are upset but, "what happens next?"
Title: Wedding Cake Murder - Hannah Swensen Murder Mystery Book 19 Author: Joanne Fluke Published: 2-23-2016 Publisher: Kensington Books Pages: 304 Genre: Mystery; Thrillers & Suspense Sub Genre: Culinary Mystery; Amateur Sleuths; Cozy Mystery; Women Sleuths; Animals ISBN: 13: 9781617732164 ASIN: B00Y6RB46W Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley Rating: 4.0 I received a copy of Wedding Cake Murder from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Description From the Publisher: Everyone in Lake Eden, Minnesota, may have had their doubts, but at long last, Hannah Swensen is getting married! Hannah is thrilled to be marrying Ross Barton, her college crush. And her excitement only grows when she learns he'll be able to join her on her trip to New York City for the Food Channel's dessert chef contest. They get a taste of the Big Apple before Hannah wins the Hometown Challenge and the producers bring all the contestants to Lake Eden to tape the remainder of the show. It's nerve-wracking enough being judged by Alain Duquesne, a celebrity chef with a nasty reputation. But it's even more chilling to find him stabbed to death in the Lake Eden Inn's walk-in cooler—before he's even had a chance to taste Hannah's Butterscotch Sugar Cookies! Now Hannah has not only lost her advantage, she'll have to solve a mystery with more layers than a five-tiered wedding cake… My Review: This was one of the hardest of the Hannah Swensen books I ever had to read. Hannah betrayed me. I have read every book from the beginning and at times became frustrated the Hannah facilitating between Norman and Mike, but to up and marry someone else never crossed my mind. Ms. Fluke definitely caught me off guard with that one. This is the 19th book in the series and if you haven't read the rest you may have a bit of trouble following the characters relationships, but Ms. Fluke does give enough information to keep a reader from being totally lost in the story. For those who have read the previous books you will understand why I am upset. Whether on Mike's side or Norman's we and the entire town of Eden Lake awaited the day Hannah announced her true champion. The story seemed so wrong I hd trouble enjoying Ms. Flukes crafting of the plot and guidance to finding the killer. I will go back and maybe with the third reading I will finally accept and enjoy the thrill that is always found in Hannah Swensen mysteries. There is humor and tears in this book, but most of my empathy goes out to Mike and Norman. I want Ross to die or turn out to be a bad man so that Hannah realizes her mistake. Since that isn't going to happen I will swallow my bitter disappointment and hope he turns out to be the best match for her. My rating is 4 out of 5 stars (I was mad enough to give it a 2.5, but tried to be honest) Give me time Miss Fluke I will forgive you and Hannah soon.
Wedding Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke Wow Can't believe Hannah is gonna get married-finally!? After all the books where she's undecided about marrying Mike the cop or Norman the dentist an old beau comes to town and he's involved in TV broadcasting and she's agreed to marry him. Not only that but all the drama about her and assistant Michelle, her sister entering a contest in NYC! After the first contest the contestants will go to the winner's hometown to finish the competition. So many plans along with recipes and how others like them. Problem is one of the guys is leery of Ross....the ride to the airport, the breakfast prior to boarding, the plane seating and the hotel were all upgraded by Ross for his assistant and the ladies. Hannah knows he can't afford the luxuries on his salary. The men are there to film the contest. Enjoy the parts where the judges tell you some hints as to make the dish just perfect. After another night of competition they are onto the cookie portion and their team is the first to practice but things change when Michelle goes to the walk-in cooler... Love how Hannah sticks her nose and others in the family, into the thick of things to get down to the truth-lots of clues from everybody as there are a lot competing... What I really love is the learning: how to make new recipes by experimenting-love the idea of frozen bananas-will be trying this for sure as I know what happens to butternut squash when frozen. As the girls strive to figure out who the murderer is by just talking to a lot of people and piecing things together... Love the idea of the wedding cake, so colorful and tasty! Shocked at who really did the deed! Love the gift the Food Channel gave to the bride and groom-will Hannah actually get married? Excerpt from another book by the same author: Eyes is included. I received this book from The Kennsington Books in exchange for my honest review
This book is OK. I love all the other books in this series but not this one. This was boring. I love Andreas character and she was barely in it. Both Mike and Norman weren't really in it. The mystery solving was not consistent with Hannah's past. I like how she works with her family and friends as well as other town members to solve murders. The fact that she didn't tell Mike and Norman she was engaged to another man is inconsistent with her personality. She is supposed be an honest and forthright person who says what she feels. She doesn't make apologies for who she is. In this book she was portrayed as weak. I hope in the next book in this series she is more like herself and that the other characters are more involved. Also she was just all of a sudden engaged to a man she doesn't see much and he is living in town. There should have been more built up to it in the last book. So you don't have to try to play catchup with what is going on. I hope the next book is better.
I have read all of the books in the Hannah Swenson Mystery series. For a number of books Hannah has had two men wanting to marry her and she just couldn't decide what to do. The odd part is the men just waited as it went on and on and on and they would even all eat together and were friends. Then suddenly enters man #3, a friend from college, and Hannah quickly falls in love with him. In this book all three men are are now friends and all eat together?! Hannah even ends up asking the first two to be groomsmen in her marriage to man #3 and they accept. With that being said it is an easy to read story and the mystery is okay. Also, there are a lot of good sounding dessert recipes included.
Hannah Must Solve a Murder Before She Can Get Married I’m going to start this review with a spoiler warning. No, not because I’m going to spoil Wedding Cake Murder in my review. But the fact that Hannah Swensen is getting married is big news for fans of the series, and I will be discussing her choice of groom in my review, so if you don’t know and you don’t want to know, stop reading now. We’re good? Then let’s move on to discuss this book. Hannah has a busy few weeks ahead of her. Not only is she getting married in just three short weeks, but the dessert competition she’s entered on the Food Network has been moved up and will now take place just before her wedding. Fortunately, her mother and sisters are running with the wedding planning, so all Hannah has to focus on is the dessert challenge. However, that’s not as sweet as it sounds since there is tension between the contestants and the judges that involves more than just worry over the scores. While Hannah and her sister Michelle are having their practice round one morning, they stumble over a dead body connected to the competition. Will the murder distract Hannah from the competition? Can she solve the murder before the suspects all leave town? Obviously, with the baking competition, there is lots of talk of food. Unlike some books where I feel this gets in the way of the story, it feels like a part of things, so I enjoyed it. After all, Hannah and Michelle do need to decide what they are baking and test it out. I did still feel like it over shadowed the murder a bit at times, but it wasn’t as much of an issue as in some books. Yes, there is a murder, and there are a viable number of suspects. I didn’t figure out who the killer was until Hannah did, and I must say the climax was a nice twist on the traditional killer confrontation scene, although Hannah was fairly stupid for part of it. With the baking competition set up, we don’t see quite as much of some of the series regulars, but they do get at least cameos. It’s always fun to hang out with these friends again. The new characters are interesting and viable suspects in the murder. Which brings us to the wedding. (I didn’t realize I’d take this long to get to it.) Yes, there is a wedding in this book. And those who were upset by the love triangle being resolved with a none of the above choice will probably still be upset. Mike and Norman are both in the book, and I must say I found their part in the book to be a bit laughable. On the other hand, I really do like Ross, Hannah’s fiancée. In fact, since Hannah obviously couldn’t decide between Mike and Norman, this was a great way to go. Yes, the wedding is definitely rushed, but I am looking forward to seeing their relationship grow as the series continues. Of course, there are recipes – more so than any other book I’ve found in the culinary cozy realm. By my count, we get 18 (not counting the frostings separately). Since Hannah is a cookie baker, we get plenty of those, but we also get other dishes and desserts. They all sound mouthwatering. The ones I made from earlier books were as delicious as they sounded, and I really need to get motivated to start baking again. I think series fans will be happy overall with Wedding Cake Murder. If you are new to the series, back track and work your way up to this lovely addition.
I started reading Joanne Fluke books, on a whim at an airport 8 years ago. I was addicted, and I have loved her books since. Wedding Cake Murder was no different, a lovely book. I'm a little disappointed that I finished it so fast. With these books you want them to last a while. The writing is incredible, and its such an easy read. These books have inspired me to bake even, and the recipes are awesome and so tasty.
Wedding Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke is the nineteenth book in the Hannah Swensen Mystery series. Hannah Swensen is getting married (but not to Mike or Norman much to my dismay)! Hannah is marrying Ross Barton, an independent producer for KCOW Television (they dated in college). Hannah wants a small wedding because of Mike and Norman (does not want to upset them or throw it in their face). However, it comes to Hannah’s attention that this would not be a wise move (she is being manipulated). So Delores (her mother) and Michelle (her sister) get to plan a big wedding. While they work on the wedding, Hannah is preparing for the Dessert Chef Competition. The competition starts in New York and the winner of the first round gets the hometown advantage (the contest will move to the winner’s hometown). When Hannah wins, everybody heads for Eden Lake, Minnesota. Things are going well until the head judge, Chef Alain Duquesne ends up dead. Hannah sets out to solve the murder, win the competition, and find a wedding dress before her big day! Will Hannah be able to solve the crime (probably better than finding a wedding dress she will like)? Fans of the Hannah Swensen series, you will want to read Wedding Cake Murder. It is a simple book (easy to read though) and the mystery is a piece of cake (pun intended). However, Hannah is finally getting married (just not to Norman or Mike). If you have not read any of the previous books in the series, you do not want to start with Wedding Cake Murder (you will be lost). I give Wedding Cake Murder 3 out of 5 stars. There were too many recipes in this book (yes, there is such a thing). There are twenty-two recipes which takes up a third of the novel. Wedding Cake Murder was not of the same caliber as the earlier books in the series. I think it is time for the Hannah Swensen Mystery series to retire (just being honest). I received a complimentary copy of Wedding Cake Murder from NetGalley (and Kensington Books) in exchange for an honest evaluation of the novel.
Hannah Swensen is very busy. Not only does she have her own wedding to plan, she has been chosen to compete in a baking contest in New York. The winner of the New York contest will get to bring the rest of the contest to their home town. I don't like to give spoilers away but, in this case I'm sure that reeaders will know that Hannah wins the first leg of the competition and the entire Baking competition comes to Lake Eden. For Hannah to accomplish everything that needs to be done she turns all of the wedding preperations over to her mother and sister Andrea. Her younger sister, Michelle will be Hannah's baking assistant. I have always enjoyed the way Hannah and Michelle work so well together. Unfortunately, Michelle finds one of the judges dead in the walk in cooler. Hannah has no choice but to find the killer. I really enjoyed the baking cometition featured in this book, while the wedding drama was always in the background. As a long time reader of this series I have waited patiently for Hannah to decide between Mike and Norman, as I'm sure other long time readers have done. I have been on team Norman for a long time. Even though Mike has often been Hannah's hero when she's in danger, Norman is always there for everything else. That being said, I found myself hoping that Hannah's fiance Ross would turn out to be the bad guy/murderer by the time I was halfway through the book. I will not tell you if the wedding takes place, you need to read the book to find out.
While Hannah is the final stages of a hastily put together wedding with her college sweetheart Ross, she is also busy with a nationwide cable network's Dessert Chef competition. In fact, the competition was so interesting, the book almost didn't need a murder to fulfill all the twists and reveals that were part of the television show. I always forget how quickly these read, there are almost twenty recipes sprinkled throughout the book, which makes reading them go very quickly. I enjoyed returning to Lake Eden, Minnesota and happy to report that the resolution to the books-long love triangle seems to be solved.