I usually love this kind of cozy mystery in a small English village, but I didn't love this one. Main reasons are characters. In cozy mysteries, characters are very important. The characters Boatwright created are not multi-dimensional and uninteresting including villains. But, the worst ones are the 2 main characters. I didn't understand why Ellie left a busy life as a college professor in California to become a vicar's wife despite the fact she was a nonbeliever in a small English village. Gr I usually love this kind of cozy mystery in a small English village, but I didn't love this one.
Graham doesn't seem to be attractive or sympathetic enough for Ellie to give up her independence. At least I was not convinced. What baffled me the most was that Ellie never talked about the dilemma. She even apologized for having made "such a mess of things" and being "farther than ever from being your Mrs.
If this is how the protagonist thinks, I'm not interested in this series. It will make me angry again. Nov 28, Gloria Mccracken rated it it was ok. This seemed so promising when I read the synopsis: Doesn't that sound like fun? Well, perhaps if there had been the slightest bit of character development or logic to the plot, it might have been. However, there wasn't and it wasn't. And for the record, I'd have left that vicar in the first week if h This seemed so promising when I read the synopsis: And for the record, I'd have left that vicar in the first week if he acted that way to me.
Aug 05, Rosie Genova rated it really liked it. This was a really fun summer read--with smart writing, a charming setting, and a likable protag. Our girl is a transplanted American married to an English vicar who finds herself a bit of an outsider in his cozy village.
But things really get complicated for Ellie when it appears she has a connection to a recently murdered stranger. Aug 18, Maren rated it it was ok. I couldn't really get behind the premise of this book. I wished the entire time that I was reading an Aunt Dimity book which is far more believable even though it contains a ghost that communicates with people through a magic journal.
Read this to get in the mood for visiting the Cotswalds. This is a shining example of a cozy mystery. The book feels like it is probably from a small press, which means that it's not quite as This means that the mystery is perhaps a bit clunkier than average, but there are also interesting observations by the author that might have been edited out of a more thoroughly worked-over manuscript. All in all, I liked it and would hig Probably 3. All in all, I liked it and would highly recommend it if you need some soothing. Ellie Kent is the new vicar's wife in Little Beecham, a small Cotswald village.
I confess that the vicar's wife thing almost kept me from opening the book at all- I don't care for that sort of cozy. But Ellie is a former professor of literature Jane Austen, natch and the former wife of a poet. She's more comfortable in her "New York armor" of all black than in a vicar's wife's church tweeds. And her literature degree and skill in analysis actually comes in handy in a logical way in the story! Ellie is trying to figure out how she fits into village life and still hold onto her self.
A murder which pulls her in as a possible suspect does not help her at all with this goal, but it does show that she can be plucky and independent. Her husband isn't too much of a goober, and Ellie begins to make friends with characters that I'd like to see again. I'd also love to see Little Beecham- the author writes lovely description of just what I hope to see when I get to visit the English countryside. The book is a quick read. I was actually hoping for a bit that the murderer was going to be someone other than who it turned out to be- that would have been more interesting in my opinion, because the murderer really showed no redeeming qualities whatsoever and that was a bit boring.
Read to enjoy spending time with Ellie in front of the Aga while rain patters on the vicarage windows, not for the tricky puzzle. It was my cup of tea, I guess, because I just bought the second book in the series for that rainy day when I need some comforting myself. Feb 04, Mary D. This book ticked all my boxes. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with Ellie Kent again in the second book of the series.
Under an English Heaven by author Alice K. Boatwright is an enchanting cozy mystery about American Ellie who marries an English vicar, Graham Kent, and moves to a small village in rural England where she quickly becomes known Mrs. All is not calm in this sleepy little village as first one then two murders shock the residents of Little Beecham. Nicely told story, and I'm looking forward to reading the second book in the series next. An easy read - not too detailed and not too complicated. An interesting portrayal of a small English town, it's cast of characters and what ensues after the entry of an outsider into the 'midst.
An enjoyable, light read. When Ellie Kent moves to an English village with her new husband Graham, she fears the villagers will always see her at that young American who snared their attractive vicar during his sabbatical in California. The villagers insist they don't know the murdered man, so suspicion mounts that the killer must be the incomer -- the vicar's new wife. As evidence piles up against her, Ellie tries t When Ellie Kent moves to an English village with her new husband Graham, she fears the villagers will always see her at that young American who snared their attractive vicar during his sabbatical in California.
This simply didn't work for me. The premise was strong, but the biggest struggle I had was I didn't like Ellie Kent. Or Graham - her husband, the Vicar. Or any of the other characters. They didn't feel quaint or cozy for an English village and that really disappointed me. They felt angry and self-absorbed most the time.
This didn't read as a cozy mystery and that was what I wanted. The writing was fairly solid, although she has Ellie a comment about Shakespeare and an English village as if she didn't know he was from Stratford - an English village - and it really bugged me. I mean Ellie is supposed to be a Jane Austen expert and have taught at the collegiate level, and she was unaware?
This made the character vapid. I also really struggled with the time line - we open to a naked Vicar that has recently returned from California with a new wife in tow after the death of his first wife. How long was the first wife dead? We are never told - I'm not sure how I feel about this. Dead for years - okay, good for you And he's very unsupportive of his new wife; she's slighted by him and the village at almost every turn as if she will never be as good as the first wife.
This was difficult to swallow as in theory, the church should have welcomed her with open arms again - this makes me think the marriage was hasty. Anyway - this just wasn't my cup of English tea.
Under An English Heaven
I will not be pursuing the rest of the series, but there are several solid reviews out there of this novel - so it may still be something you want to read! For more about Mrs. Boatwright and the Ellie Kent series, visit her website at: Jun 18, Althea Booth rated it it was amazing.
I am not one of those readers who is stingy with four and five star ratings. If I enjoy a book for what it is, I give it four stars. If I really enjoy it, I give it five. I know, I have very specific reading itches.
Under an English Heaven
The only reason I'm not giving it five stars is that I'm also not one of those people who tries to figure out whodunnit, I am not one of those readers who is stingy with four and five star ratings. The only reason I'm not giving it five stars is that I'm also not one of those people who tries to figure out whodunnit, at least not more than idly guessing, yet I had this one figured out immediately. So I figure it wasn't a terribly clever mystery--although there was one shock--and I knocked off a star. It was still an almost perfect cozy mystery and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.
I just prefer to be surprised by a mystery. This is the same reason I was disappointed by The Sixth Sense, whose surprising ending I figured out before I even saw the movie, just from reading that there was a "shocking twist. Ellie Kent is American, yet my brain is so used to reading the dialogue in English mysteries with English accents that I had to keep going back and rereading, forcing my brain to read in an American accent.
That's not a fault of the book, though, that's just my brain being dumb. Okay, it's been about four months and I check at least every couple of weeks to see if the next book in the series has come out. It hasn't yet, there's not even a publication date yet, so I'm considering just rereading this book in the meantime. I very rarely reread mysteries, so I'd say that makes it a damn good book in my estimation, and I'm adding the fifth star. Jan 12, Tannis Laidlaw rated it it was amazing. I love well written books, and Alice Boatwright has the talent to fit the description.
Second, I was brought up on Agatha, Ngaio, Dorothy and other wonderful mystery writers. Under an English Heaven is in the same grand tradition. Ellie Kent is a recently retired academic who has met and married an English vicar, plunging her into a foreign world. Last but not least is the murder mystery itself, where Ellie, the foreigner, the new wife, is thrown into suspicion herself. Just solid curiosity, the most gentile of nosiness and quick thinking. Just my type of book.
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May 28, Brenda Mengeling rated it really liked it Shelves: Well done, classic, small English village murder mystery. Ellie Kent is an American newly married to the local vicar when the body of an old man is found dead in the church yard. He's wearing Italian underwear, and Ellie's first husband was an Italian, so Ellie decides she better figure out whodunit before the police decide she did.
The only weakness is that the author relies on Ellie not being willing to tell anyone much of anything that she learns, even though common sense would dictate that s Well done, classic, small English village murder mystery. The only weakness is that the author relies on Ellie not being willing to tell anyone much of anything that she learns, even though common sense would dictate that she should, and in other regards she's a smart, nuanced character.
Well-developed characters and a well-done plot make this a pleasant read. Dec 22, Bryn rated it did not like it Shelves: I generally like reading British mysteries, but not this one. Every character is unlikeable. It made English villages look nasty, gossipy, and depressing, which took all of the fun out of reading this type of novel. The new American wife started off her new life with a defensive, bad attitude, which didn't help matters. And her husband seemed entirely unsympathetic and insensitive Also, I wondered why a vicar would marry someone who has doubts about Christianity, and vice versa.
Tha I generally like reading British mysteries, but not this one. That didn't make sense at all, and made me disappointed in both of them. Dec 19, Kathy Moberg rated it really liked it. I found this to be a very satisfying mystery and eagerly look forward to the next book in the series. Aug 22, Darian rated it really liked it. A very enjoyable read! Nice and neat I thought at first it was a typical English old fashioned mystery but I was soon caught up in who was the victim and who was the murderer very unlikely suspect.
So many questions unasnwered What year is it? Based on the amount of tweed these people wear it seems like it's , but contemporary addition of computers and cell phones say otherwise. And yet Ellie Kent checks her emails like twice in the whole book. Why does the born-and-bred American Ellie Kent all of a sudden drink tea by gallons? Just because she moved continents doesn't mean she had to completely change her personality, right? Does she miss her friends? Watchi So many questions unasnwered Watching American TV shows? She seemed very one dimensional, meaning her personality absolutely adhered to her British surroundings without a thought of her previous life, which is very unrealistic.
How much does her husband make, when she can afford to quit her job, move her life to a village and seemingly do nothing all day, every day? Anyways, I think it was a good book, she had the right motive and opportunity to solve the crime, but the fact that she solved how and why her husband's first wife died was a little too far fetched. I would totally enjoy the book without bringing this up. Just because the culprit is old, weak, respectable in the community or simply generally beloved does not mean they have to take the lazy way out and escape prosecution. This was a classic British cozy murder mystery.
The reader is introduced to the new Mrs. Vicar, one Ellie Kent. It is a second marriage for both Ellie and her husband, Reverend Graham Kent. The Reverend Kent has charge of St. Michael's and All Angel's church in Little Beecham as well as the added responsibilities of being a widowed father of one daughter. Together the two newly married Kents have enough love to handle the lar This was a classic British cozy murder mystery. Together the two newly married Kents have enough love to handle the large adjustments which will come their way When a body is found in the Graveyard, the local police look immediately at the new Mrs.
After all she is the newest foreigner in the village. The community which surrounds St. Michaels is filled with whispers, false smiles, true friends, and pillars of the church. Ellie sees the handcuffs coming her way and realizes that it will be up to herself to infiltrate this close village and find out what secrets caused the man's murder.
As bodies begin to accumulate and police harassment increases Ellie senses that her marriage may not survive. This was a well-written and excellent view of being a new cleric's wife behind the scenes. I enjoyed the passages of poetry slipped in the dialog. All in all, I sincerely hope there will be a volume two. And then I just sort of stopped reading them in favor of other authors that were a little more realistic or darker. Maybe it was Scandi-crime that did it. I guess Agatha Christie counts as "cozy" and I've been working my way through those for the last couple of years.
Other than these ur-cozies, though, I haven't been reading them much. I found this book as a free Prime Reading selection and I really liked it. It reminded me why I enjoyed those cozy mysteries so much. This was really well written and the characters were nicely developed. So far, there's only one more in the series but I am going to be sure and buy it. Because authors need to eat and pay bills too. I wouldn't consider Anne Perry, Charles Finch, Jacqueline Winspear or similar authors to be cozy writers, but maybe others would.
Ticked all the right boxes As a genre piece, this book keeps the faith with its target audience. A smooth, satisfying novel that doesn't stumble or disappoint. Well written characters, placed in a convincingly constructed milieu, traveling along a clever plot, towards a rewarding denouement The climax seems to be slightly muddled and less compelling than the denouement, however.
But that is just my opinion, of course. It would make the reading feel more immersive. Because the protagonist is the only Yank in the book, really--isn't she? Apr 01, Nancy rated it really liked it Shelves: This novel follows Ellie, an American academic who's recently moved to a small village in England, having married a vicar after a whirlwind romance.
She's just starting to settle in when she discovers a dead body outside of the church and becomes a prime suspect of the investigation. I really dug this one. The writing was very well done and had clearly been well-edited and proofread; the story flowed well and kept me intrigued but didn't skimp on the worldbuilding or make the characters shallow. Also, it didn't feel too short, like a lot of cozies, but also didn't drag on. I only had a few nitpicks; the denouement felt a little slow, but the reveal of one sub-mystery felt kind of rushed and sudden.
Also, towards the end, there was a little bit of what felt like sermonizing, though the rest of the book had been non-preachy; overall, though, these were pretty minor points in an otherwise great read, and I'm going to hunt down the sequel one of these days. Jun 02, Scilla rated it liked it. They met when he went to the US for a visit, and she is American.
Graham's first wife died suddenly, and she was loved by the whole town. Ellie is led by Hector, their dog, to a dead body in the graveyard behind the church. She calls the police, and soon finds she is the prime suspect for murder. She begins to investigate in order to save herself. She's sure that the young librarian Charlotte Worthy and her great aunt Priscilla Worthy may know something about the man, but everyone in Little Beecham claim he is a stranger.
Soon a young boy, who is somewhat of a trouble maker, is missing and finally found dead along the road. He has somehow found a bag on money. When Ellis finds Priscilla Worthy has been pushed down the stairs by someone and the police think she did it, she really needs to figure things out. She finally tells the police who the culprit is. Under an English Heaven chapters 36 7 Mar 09, Boatwright is the author of the award-winning Ellie Kent mysteries. It's now Christmas in Little Beecham. Ellie Kent is looking forward to her first English village Christmas, but a missing Oxford student and an abandoned baby soon draw her away from the fireside into danger.
After 10 years of living in England and France, she now makes her home in the Pacific Northwest. Visit Alice's website at http: Other books in the series. Ellie Kent Mystery 2 books. Books by Alice K. The writing moves along at an excellent pace, and the setting makes me want to head back to England as soon as possible, although I'd skip the detecting. Learn about English customs from the viewpoint of a young American wife while she's chasing clues to find the murderer.
Of course, there's a long-suffering police detective who can't keep up with her, and her teenaged "Watson" who is always eager to help with the detection. I'm now looking forward to the third book in this series. I devoured this delicious mystery in one sitting; I just couldn't put it down! A delightful treat in the Agatha Christie-Dorothy Sayers tradition, this well-written and expertly crafted story of love and murder in an English village is a pleasure from start to finish.
The Cotswolds village atmosphere is beautifully evoked and the lively dialogue brings the characters fully to life for the reader. The subtitle, An Ellie Kent Mystery, implies that there will be many more in store for us. I certainly hope Ms. Boatwright is hard at work on the first sequel right now!
Ellie Kent is a wonderful character, and I can't wait to see how she continues to fare in her new, charming-but-challenging environment. Ellie Kent is a modern American woman who's been set down in an old-fashioned English village -- a great combination. An outsider who married the favorite vicar, she tries to win acceptance from the women and men who live in this tight-knit community, but before she gets much headway a body is discovered in her backyard. Not only that, but as the investigation into the murder goes on, she becomes the prime suspect. The cast of characters in this well-writen, cozy mystery is wonderful: The writing here is assured and somehow easy-going -- it's one of those books where you almost don't feel like you're reading.
I got caught up in the mystery right away and I loved the village setting. You want to read this one with a cup of tea and a scone on hand. It's truly enjoyable from beginning to end. This was a classic British cozy murder mystery. The reader is introduced to the new Mrs. Vicar, one Ellie Kent. It is a second marriage for both Ellie and her husband, Reverend Graham Kent. The Reverend Kent has charge of St. Michael's and All Angel's church in Little Beecham as well as the added responsibilities of being a widowed father of one daughter.
Together the two newly married Kents have enough love to handle the large adjustments which will come their way When a body is found in the Graveyard, the local police look immediately at the new Mrs.
Under an English Heaven (World War II Trilogy, book 1) by Robert Radcliffe
After all she is the newest foreigner in the village. The community which surrounds St. Michaels is filled with whispers, false smiles, true friends, and pillars of the church. Ellie sees the handcuffs coming her way and realizes that it will be up to herself to infiltrate this close village and find out what secrets caused the man's murder. As bodies begin to accumulate and police harassment increases Ellie senses that her marriage may not survive.
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This was a well-written and excellent view of being a new cleric's wife behind the scenes. I enjoyed the passages of poetry slipped in the dialog. All in all, I sincerely hope there will be a volume two. One person found this helpful 2 people found this helpful. The story started out well enough, but then fizzled about halfway through. Village life descriptions are accurate and charming, but then become trite and tiring.
I was disappointed when the heroine lied to her husband and misled the police - not very credible for a "vicar's wife". Overall I found myself saying "I don't care who the killer is! There is the second wife feeling unequal to the mysteriously dead first wife and a burned out mansion. This has Ellie, the new American wife of the village Vicar, finding a body in the churchyard the morning after Halloween. She's now not only trying to fit in village life, a new marriage, and a new "job" as "Mrs.
Vicar" rather than an English professor, but has to become a detective to clear herself of murder. It's a pretty good plot, but I found the Detective Inspector and the Vicar both to be rather weak characters. The subtitle, an Ellie Kent mystery, seems to indicate more books to come. If so, I hope Ellie gets more support - even the family dog let her down at times in this story! It just didn't ring true. I was really hoping this book would come together.
Ellie Kent is a weak character with an inflated idea of her own self-worth.
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Over and over she withheld information from police without setting up the police as deficient! She didn't trust her husband, or even her best friend. She certainly was no heroine. I had never read anything by this author and was prepared to be disappointed. Ellie is an American and usually this is not a good match with an English vicarage, but it was a well written, exciting but not rushed, with a nice and somewhat complex couple as the focus.
They and the daughter at uni are very believable. The other characters are good, and over the series why call it an Ellie Kent Mystery if it's a stand alone? I suspect several of the ones I met and liked will be developed even more. I 'm glad I bought it, and dashed off to get the next one, but it'a not here yet. See all reviews. Most recent customer reviews.
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