Lucy Resnick grew up visiting her grandmother’s farm in small-town Buttercup, Texas and never forgot it. Years later, after taking an early retirement from the dying newspaper business, Lucy buys her grandmother’s farm and sets about making ends meet by growing her own and selling her candles and jams in town. Suddenly the life that she’s beginning to build for herself threatens to come apart as a surveyor for an oil company comes by and lets her know that even though she owns the property, she doesn’t own the mineral rights and the owner is requesting that oil exploration begin on her property. Just a few days later, Nettie Kocurek is found dead at the Founders’ Day Festival with a bratwurst skewer impaled in her chest and one of Lucy’s jars of jam in her hand. Nettie was the owner of the mineral rights to Lucy’s property and in the eyes of the local Sherriff (who happens to be Nettie’s nephew) Lucy has become the prime suspect.
Lucy sets out and decides that she is going to have to prove her innocence herself and save her budding farm in the process from becoming the newest oil well in Texas.
I really tried to like this book. I knew going in that it wasn’t going to be a dark and mysterious thriller. I would have categorized this as a “beach read” an easy book to lose yourself in for a few hours. But I can’t even put this book in that category. I’d have to put this one on a shelf for books full of small-town cliches, frustrating main characters and a completely unnecessary romantic involvement. I couldn’t connect with Lucy or really any of the characters that we’re introduced to. Every one of them seems to fall into the typical cliches that we see when a book is written about small town life. Everyone in a small town must be xenophobic because they always blame the outsider, even if that person has a tie to the community or has been there for a decade. They all become cardboard cutouts instead of people that you can relate to and I think that was the downfall of this book.
It’s not a bad read. If you want something that’s going to read fast and not challenge you too much and you don’t mind the small-town life cliches, go ahead and try it. It might be your cup of tea, but it certainly wasn’t mine.