Book review: 'Garden Plot' is great reading dessert

By Valerie Steimle

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Sept. 27 2011 5:00 a.m. MDT

"GARDEN PLOT," by Kristen McKendry, Covenant Communications, $14.99, 222 pages (f)

Desserts come in all assortments that nurture the senses and relax the mind. The latest novel by Kristen McKendry, titled "Garden Plot," is one such dessert. Starting on the first page from finding a dead body in the garden to the end where we find out how it all happens, this mystery romance is woven around a whole congregation of interesting and funny characters, lightly dusted with some Mormon culture.

Written in the first-person, this delightful novel can be read by anyone who wants to be entertained, and it’s definitely family entertainment. There was no gore or gratuitous violence, and it was enjoyable to read to the very last page.

The who-done-story keeps the reader guessing, and the end is satisfying as the tale winds down. The main character, Erin Kilpatrick, is a widow with a daughter who is dealing with the death of her father.

The guests living at the Whole-Life Wellness Center in Canada that Kilpatrick directs make life complicated and interesting when she has to deal with the body found in the garden. Included in the mystery are characters overcoming addictions: Kevin Carlisle, a dentist; Jason Baumgarten, a gentle giant of a man; the Lewis sisters, a gaggle of non-stop-talking women; and a father-son duo, Max and Ed Polinsky, to name a few. As the story progresses, the reader learns clues through Kilpatrick and a police detective, Liam Harris, who seems a bit mysterious as he also hides a family secret.

Great lessons are learned from all who are involved, including Kilpatrick's noisy visiting teacher across the street. Romance flourishes from two different characters, but it isn't obvious what will happen until the end.

All in all, McKendry gives us a wonderful story to escape to, and after a long day of work and frustration, what better dessert to have than a good book to read, such as the "Garden Plot."

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