Title: Engagement and Espionage
Author: Penny Reid
Series: Solving for Pie #1
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Contemporary romance, Cozy mystery
Dates read: 22nd – 24th October 2021
Publisher: SmartyPants Romance
5th sentence, 74th page: What am I going to do about those cows?
Jennifer Sylvester made her deal with the devil… and now they’re engaged!
But all is not well in Green Valley. A chicken choker is on the loose, 61 dead birds most “fowl” need plucking, and no time remains for Jennifer and her devilish fiancé. Desperate to find a spare moment together, Jenn and Cletus’s attempts to reconnect are thwarted by one seemingly coincidental disaster after another. It’s not long before Cletus and Jenn see a pattern emerge and the truth becomes clear.
Will an undercover missions unmask the culprit? Or are these love-birds totally plucked?
I already know that Penny Reid can write an amazing romance and a wonderful story. Plus, I did fall stupid in love with Cletus and Jenn in Beard Science. But, I was a little intrigued as to whether she could write a decent cozy mystery or not. It turns out, she can. And, like everything else I have read by her. It’s brilliant. And fun. And just all around a really good read.
I love that throughout this story, there is not only the question of who is out to get Jenn, but how Cletus is going to propose. I love that he is sweet enough to have multiple rings and to want to try again and again to get the exact right proposal. He’s incredibly dense, but also completely adorable. A nice balance in my opinion. I mean, I don’t know many people who aren’t kind of dense in at least one area. And the fact that for Cletus, it’s how relationships work… loved it.
One of the hardest things I’ve found about being in a relationship is trying to juggle everything when things get a little hectic. I know that my partner is always in my corner, but I also know that I need to make the time and space to show him that I’m also in his corner. I love that Cletus and Jenn very much go through this. They are madly in love and completely understanding of one another, but they’re not quite meshing completely throughout this story. Something that, realistically, I think most relationships go through at some point.
Jenn and her mother have a contentious and difficult relationship from the very moment that you meet them. I like that Reid acknowledges this and works towards finding a more satisfactory way to live with one another. It’s a difficult line to walk and I found the way that they try and negotiate this to be absolutely brilliant. It’s a reminder that no one is perfect, and all relationships need work – particularly those that have been dysfunctional for far too long.
There are a number of cute moments throughout this, but the part that, of course takes my attention the most – the battle that Jenn and Cletus face. The way that they are racing against the clock to try and figure out who, exactly, is trying to sabotage them. The relationships and the negotiation of their worlds’ just makes this all that much better. And, of course so much harder to put down.