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Under an English Heaven: An Ellie Kent Mystery

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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. But this challenge is nothing compared to what happens when she stumbles across a body in the churchyard. The villagers insist they don't know the murdered man, so 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. But this challenge is nothing compared to what happens when she stumbles across a body in the churchyard. 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 to stay one step ahead of the police to unravel a decades-old literary mystery and love story. Will others die before she can solve it? And what will be left of her new life and marriage, even if she succeeds? Page Numbers Source ISBN: 193981636X


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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. But this challenge is nothing compared to what happens when she stumbles across a body in the churchyard. The villagers insist they don't know the murdered man, so 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. But this challenge is nothing compared to what happens when she stumbles across a body in the churchyard. 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 to stay one step ahead of the police to unravel a decades-old literary mystery and love story. Will others die before she can solve it? And what will be left of her new life and marriage, even if she succeeds? Page Numbers Source ISBN: 193981636X

30 review for Under an English Heaven: An Ellie Kent Mystery

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tracey

    Which is a great title, isn't it? Of course I bought it. Unfortunately, I hated it. No, that's not accurate; it really wasn't bad, in terms of writing or all the usual reasons a book is bad. I liked some of the writing – the description of the burning of the Guy was vivid, for example. I didn't *hate* it. I just really, really didn't like it. At all. The idea is this: an English vicar, Graham, goes on sabbatical in California, comes home married; his first wife died a little while ago. New Ameri Which is a great title, isn't it? Of course I bought it. Unfortunately, I hated it. No, that's not accurate; it really wasn't bad, in terms of writing or all the usual reasons a book is bad. I liked some of the writing – the description of the burning of the Guy was vivid, for example. I didn't *hate* it. I just really, really didn't like it. At all. The idea is this: an English vicar, Graham, goes on sabbatical in California, comes home married; his first wife died a little while ago. New American wife, Ellie, formerly a college English professor, must now adapt to trying to live up to the memory of the beloved dead wife, drinking tea, filling the role of Vicar's Wife, and driving on the left. Meanwhile, on Halloween, an old man is murdered, and Ellie finds the body in the graveyard, and through a series of unlikely yet believable events becomes a person of great interest to the police. Given that the book opens a few months after the wedding, when they've moved together into the home Graham formerly shared with Wife #1, I have all sorts of problems with that summary. How long have they in fact been married? Don't know. How long ago did they move in? I don't know. How long has the first wife been dead? I don't know. If I was told any of this in the text (and I admit it possibly was without my registering it) I didn't retain the information, and afterward I had no interest in going hunting. I should know. They're kind of important pieces of information; it all plays a big part in how I'm supposed to feel about Graham, and how the villagers can be expected to look at Ellie. She's gone for years? Okay, he's still young (I assume – I don't know), good for him. She's gone for months? I hope he's dead by the end of the book. Next, the daughter: how old is she? I don't know. She's away at school for most of the book – but that could be any age above say six. Contextually she seems to be a teenager or older – say thirteen or up. Again, I should know. It matters. Even the description of the girl refuses to give her age – or coloration, or anything else useful: "Isabelle was not as tall as Ellie, but nearly, and, as they hugged, her bones felt fragile and light beneath the skimpy clothes she wore: a cropped sweater and skintight jeans. She had Louise's beautiful fine features and clear fresh complexion, but Graham's lankiness and shining intelligent eyes." Thanks, that's marvelous. It's well put – but … This is a cozy sort of a mystery – in that it takes place in a sweet English village, and the vicar's wife investigates the death of an old man who seems to be unknown and unimportant to anyone in the place. This should mean that one of the main reasons to read it would be the characters. Unfortunately, for me they were the worst part of the book. Graham, the vicar, is a nonentity. I can't imagine why Ellie would marry him; he's introduced naked, so perhaps the author thought that would be a shortcut to explaining the attraction: "Look, they just had sex! He must be worth giving up everything for!" But he fades into the wallpaper, even naked – except when he is being an ass. That observation comprises quite a few of the notes I made on the Kindle, just a one-word comment on some of his actions (like showing signs of believing his new wife could be a murderer): "ass". There is an incident with a bouquet of flowers relating to the anniversary of the first wife's death, which Ellie mistook as being for her, and that was just altogether moronic, pointless, and annoying. The rest of the villagers are an unpleasant lot; the children are hooligans, and the adults are snide or standoffish, except for another "incomer", a gay shopowner who strikes up a friendship with Ellie. Well, after a while it starts to morph into friendship; it starts out with him making snide or outright insulting remarks and taking his dead ex-partner's golden retriever everywhere, including church. (Really?) The police are just antisocial thugs. I don't know what to think about them. I don't want to think too much about the silly bint who names her child "Dolphin". And Ellie, Our Heroine? You know how most of my comments about his vicarness amounted to "ass"? Most of my comments about Ellie amounted to "bitch". The reader is expected to believe that she was a professor of English literature, specializing in Jane Austen apparently, when she met Graham, fell in love, and dropped her entire life to move across the ocean to become the vicar's wife of a smallish village. What I would expect would be something like clear evidence of a huge and overwhelming love between the two of them, which would explain the vicar's sudden emergence from grieving his beloved first wife as well as Ellie's willingness to abruptly cut loose from family, friends, career, country. Continent. I would also expect something from Ellie along the lines of "I've been reading about England all my life now OMG I'm living here hey this isn't Jane Austen's England"… I would expect her to be one of the most sympathetic characters I've read in a long time, with her study of the role of gossip in the novels of Jane Austen. Instead, there is nothing about Ellie's decision to cut all her ties and relocate. She seems thoroughly unwilling to do anything expected of her as a vicar's wife, and indeed comes off as thoroughly heartless, warbling Beatles songs in the car as she drives (probably on the wrong side of the road) to the home of a family that has just lost a child. There is nothing about giving up her career (of how many years, I don't know – how old is *she* supposed to be, anyway?), or leaving family and friends – except that she seems to be avoiding their emails (scrolling past "urgent messages" – really? REALLY??); why? I don't know. (And why doesn't anyone call her?) How does she feel about becoming a step-mother to an-I-don't-know-how-old girl, other than awkward? I don't know. All I know is she hates driving or even riding in a car on the left side of the road, and occasionally mourns her former diet of tofu and such. For the matter of that, what color is her hair? I don't know. Eyes? Don't know. Age range? Don't know. (This, by the way, all goes for every character in the book. While sometimes descriptions can get irritating, a complete lack of description is worse. For the most part there is only a précis of what someone is wearing, and maybe a general impression.) Siblings? Don't know. Best friend from home? Don't know. Dogs or cats? Hopefully dogs since her husband has one, but – don't know. (Although she looks askance at a golden retriever, and without reason asks if it is "in the habit of attacking people", so she doesn't sound like a dog person.) She meanders into her new life with a combination of resentfulness and extreme touchiness on the subject of her predecessor (and no help at all from hubby there)(at all), condescending distaste for the habits and customs and beef stew of the people by who she is now surrounded and a near-complete lack of real willingness to make an effort, and a general air of "I am so much smarter than all of you, and I eat tofu, and I can't believe you people believe in God – I'm American, get over it and get stuffed." Which isn't, I wouldn't think, a good attitude to take with the cops. And defensive and touchy as she is over being questioned by the police, it never occurs to her to make sure a lawyer is at her side. "Nothing in her marriage vows had mentioned baking!" My note – and you can tell it's deeply annoyed, given the length when I had to hunt and peck: "for god's sake any idiot can make cookies and if you don't want to then damn well don't and smile and tell the old bats so". Her scholarship is … frankly ridiculous. "Her whole career had been focused on prising out information about who writers were from what they wrote" – which is how all those people get tangled up about whether a certain playwright actually wrote what he wrote. Speaking of whom: "'All the world's a stage,' she thought, was clearly written by someone who had lived in an English village." Yes, clever clogs. In Stratford. What a startling observation by an English lit professor. Honestly, I found her intelligence questionable: "Graham said it never worked to pray for results. You had to pray for acceptance of the results, whatever they were. Ellie could not understand that. What kind of magic was that?" Er… magic and faith: actually not the same thing. "It wasn't her fault that she didn't fit in and probably never would. She had tried." Was too. Did not. And her jealousy is horrendous. She's jealous of Dead First Wife, jealous of step-daughter Isabelle's relationship with Graham (since she herself has a less than great relationship with her own father, and because he has the temerity to want to spend time with her). It's all at a level that one might expect in a gothic novel. The writing was better than some … but then again it wasn't always. There is a eulogy that made my toes curl, and not in a good way. Then there were things like "'I don't know why these old girls are so attached to scatter rugs. I mean the name says it all, don't it?'" No… if you mean they're slippery, no, it doesn't. It's a little sad that up till late in the book I was rooting for a solution that amounted to Graham dead and Ellie standing over him red-handed, having previously killed the other victims in the village as well as a string of others back in the States. Oh well. And it's a shame; there are moments here that I really did like: that unlikely confluence of data and events that makes the police give Ellie some very hard looks was pretty well done, and her fear and horror at how things were falling apart was done pretty well – in the beginning, until it turned into "dammit, I'm from the home of NYPD Blue and CSI, I'm not afraid of you, you're stupid". I actually liked her difficulties with the whole left-side-of-the-road thing; it can't be easy and it can't be fun. But she was so overall horrible that I would have been delighted to see her arrested – or maybe the final murder victim. That would have worked too.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Aditi

    It is the dim haze of mystery that adds enchantment to pursuit. ----Antoine de Rivarol, a Royalist French writer during the Revolutionary era Alice K. Boatwright, an American author, entranced me with her cozy mystery novel, Under an English Heaven: An Ellie Kent Mystery , that will keep you guessing through the pages as the main protagonist Ellie searches for the truth behind the murder of a mysterious man. Synopsis: When Ellie Kent moves to an English village with her new husband Graham, she It is the dim haze of mystery that adds enchantment to pursuit. ----Antoine de Rivarol, a Royalist French writer during the Revolutionary era Alice K. Boatwright, an American author, entranced me with her cozy mystery novel, Under an English Heaven: An Ellie Kent Mystery , that will keep you guessing through the pages as the main protagonist Ellie searches for the truth behind the murder of a mysterious man. Synopsis: When Ellie Kent moves to an English village with her new husband Graham, she fears the villagers will always see her as that young American who snared their attractive vicar during his sabbatical in California. But this challenge is nothing compared to what happens when she stumbles across a body in the churchyard. 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 to stay one step ahead of the police to unravel a decades-old literary mystery and love story. Will others die before she can solve it? And what will be left of her new life and marriage, even if she succeeds? Ellie Kent is modern and independent woman who in her other life was a literature professor in the US, but in her present she is married to an alluring English vicar in an old English village. From her dressing style to talking style, everything is in contrast with the people of the English Cotswolds. But when people discovered a body of a mysterious on her backyard, it was not hard for them to put their fingers on! But, Ellie is on a mission to clear her name as well as to find the identity of this mysterious man, thus stumbling upon some forgotten love-affairs as well as her own darkest secrets. I know many people don't prefer cozy mysteries, even I too fall into that category, since the mysteries are not that thrilling/intriguing enough to keep me guessing till the end! But Boatwright's new book simply changed my perspective about cozy mysteries, I read quite a few cozy mysteries, and I have to say this that Alice K. Boatwright is one hell of a rare gem in the world of cozy mystery writers. Her writing style is absolutely fabulous, though the book opened in a slow pace, as the author was building her characters in the beginning of her book. But her plot is really mind-blowing, it was one hell of a thrilling roller coaster ride for me. The author's protagonist, Elli may project herself as someone who is bold and loves to follow trends that are either considered as too modern or forward. And the way Ellie lighted up the dark road to an unraveling mystery is simply striking enough and with the author's intricate detailed layering of the mystery, it felt really nice and brilliant to read the story. The rest of the characters are equally bright and colorful and terribly English! Their quirkiness made the story more interesting to read. Moreover, the way the story progressed is simply scintillating, and the author unraveled her mystery one layer at a time. But the plot had its own flaws, at times I felt the tightly wrapped mystery was falling short and I could guess away the killer quite easily. Well, if you enjoy a good cozy mystery, then go for this! Verdict: Cozy stories are always meant to be read under a cozy blanket with a hot mug of coffee in a lazy Saturday afternoon! Courtesy: I'm really grateful to the author, Alice K. Boatwright, for giving me an opportunity to read and review her book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Chip Noon

    Under an English Heaven is one of the most delightful whodunits I've ever read. Along with the atmosphere, the plot, the back-story, the progression, the development, and the denouement, Alice has added many touches this former English major enjoyed tremendously! I was enveloped in awe when she quoted from Rupert Brooke. "Satisfying" in every way is how I shall describe it further. I was so charmed that I am now on pins and needles waiting for the next installment of the Ellie Kent series. This Under an English Heaven is one of the most delightful whodunits I've ever read. Along with the atmosphere, the plot, the back-story, the progression, the development, and the denouement, Alice has added many touches this former English major enjoyed tremendously! I was enveloped in awe when she quoted from Rupert Brooke. "Satisfying" in every way is how I shall describe it further. I was so charmed that I am now on pins and needles waiting for the next installment of the Ellie Kent series. This is a must-read for everyone, not just mystery lovers. I'm ordering the Kindle edition for my mother-in-law. She'll have as much fun as I did!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Valerie

    This was only OK. With a few tweaks it would have been much better. The characters weren't enlarged enough to get a feel for who or what they really were. There was very little background given on how the newlywed Ellie and her vicar husband met, what drew them together, or indeed, what kept them together in their marriage. The interactions between them seemed strained and formal; I never got the feel that they loved, or even liked, each other. Ellie herself wasn't described, beyond that she had This was only OK. With a few tweaks it would have been much better. The characters weren't enlarged enough to get a feel for who or what they really were. There was very little background given on how the newlywed Ellie and her vicar husband met, what drew them together, or indeed, what kept them together in their marriage. The interactions between them seemed strained and formal; I never got the feel that they loved, or even liked, each other. Ellie herself wasn't described, beyond that she had been a teacher, and had been married once before to an Italian poet. How old is she? What does she look like? The plot was good, but was carried out longer, I suppose to get more pages in the book, due to Ellie's refusal to share her finds or to communicate with her husband. Finally, toward the end of the book, my interest was snagged, and this is what earned my 2 stars. Maybe with time the author will draw more dimensions in her characters, but I don't plan on reading any more of her material.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Yukari Watanabe

    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. 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. 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. Vicar". If this is how the protagonist thinks, I'm not interested in this series. It will make me angry again.

  6. 4 out of 5

    John Martin

    I enjoyed this. The author painted a good picture of the little village and the characters within in. I liked the interesting contrast provided by the American in the story, who is the key character and the one through whose eyes we see the story unfold. The story was a little slow to get going but we are compensated by an easy writing style that zooms in on every scene and leaves us in no doubt where we are at any given time, and a sense that this is just the tranquility before the storm to come. I enjoyed this. The author painted a good picture of the little village and the characters within in. I liked the interesting contrast provided by the American in the story, who is the key character and the one through whose eyes we see the story unfold. The story was a little slow to get going but we are compensated by an easy writing style that zooms in on every scene and leaves us in no doubt where we are at any given time, and a sense that this is just the tranquility before the storm to come. As murder mysteries go, this is a gentle one. No blood, no gore. If you are looking for something gritty, this won't do it for you. I happened to be in the mood for a change of intensity so this worked for me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    This had been on my 'to read' pile for some time so I was very pleased to finally read and enjoy it. Each time I thought about reading it I would look at the reviews and be slightly put off, but I soon found that I was in complete disagreement with most of the negative reviews. I didn't need to be given a physical description to have a picture of what Ellie looked like, and I also disagreed that the characters were undeveloped. There is always a slight worry when American authors write about Eng This had been on my 'to read' pile for some time so I was very pleased to finally read and enjoy it. Each time I thought about reading it I would look at the reviews and be slightly put off, but I soon found that I was in complete disagreement with most of the negative reviews. I didn't need to be given a physical description to have a picture of what Ellie looked like, and I also disagreed that the characters were undeveloped. There is always a slight worry when American authors write about English villages because they tend to get the small details wrong but in this case I thought her portrayal was realistic and fairly accurate. The only small detail I did wonder about was selling fireworks on a market stall - but I'm not sure about this and couldn't find any concrete information on whether this is actually legal or not.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Hughes

    Up for a great mystery set in The Cotswolds? This is definitely a page-turner, written by a friend and a former colleague from my time at UC Berkeley. Loved her writing then (we worked in the Communications unit) and continue to love her work. Available online (I purchased through Barnes and Noble). A wonderful new mystery from an award-winning author (this is her second novel along with many short stories and nonfiction). Some call themselves writers and talk about it or hope someday to write t Up for a great mystery set in The Cotswolds? This is definitely a page-turner, written by a friend and a former colleague from my time at UC Berkeley. Loved her writing then (we worked in the Communications unit) and continue to love her work. Available online (I purchased through Barnes and Noble). A wonderful new mystery from an award-winning author (this is her second novel along with many short stories and nonfiction). Some call themselves writers and talk about it or hope someday to write that great novel. Others just get to work and write great pieces, intelligent and well-developed and flowing. Alice is the latter. A great read with lots of suspense.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bryn

    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....and worse. 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. 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....and worse. Also, I wondered why a vicar would marry someone who has doubts about Christianity, and vice versa. That didn't make sense at all, and made me disappointed in both of them.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Gloria Mccracken

    This seemed so promising when I read the synopsis: an American woman marries a widowed English vicar with a grown daughter after a whirlwind romance only to find herself embroiled in the mysterious death of a drifter who is found in the churchyard. 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: an American woman marries a widowed English vicar with a grown daughter after a whirlwind romance only to find herself embroiled in the mysterious death of a drifter who is found in the churchyard. 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 he acted that way to me).

  11. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    loved this book. it was a quick read. I really didn't know "who dunnit" until close to the end. I felt like if I closed my eyes-I could have been there. Can't wait for more Ellie Kent mysteries! loved this book. it was a quick read. I really didn't know "who dunnit" until close to the end. I felt like if I closed my eyes-I could have been there. Can't wait for more Ellie Kent mysteries!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Les Wilson

    As for myself I did not enjoy this book until chapter 20. Others may not find this the case therefore the star rating is based solely on my reading

  13. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Shropshire

    This book was featured by Book Bub in a recent email I received; it sounded intriguing and was either $.99 or $1.99, so I bought it. It was WELL worth that price, and I enjoyed it very much. It is a cozy English mystery, set in a Cotswold village seen through the eyes of an American turned English vicar's wife, Ellie Kent. Ellie has recently married The Reverend Graham Kent, a widower with a grown daughter, and has come to live in the vicarage with Graham and his Jack Russell, Hector. In fact, i This book was featured by Book Bub in a recent email I received; it sounded intriguing and was either $.99 or $1.99, so I bought it. It was WELL worth that price, and I enjoyed it very much. It is a cozy English mystery, set in a Cotswold village seen through the eyes of an American turned English vicar's wife, Ellie Kent. Ellie has recently married The Reverend Graham Kent, a widower with a grown daughter, and has come to live in the vicarage with Graham and his Jack Russell, Hector. In fact, it is Hector who finds the dead body in the churchyard, but it is Ellie who falls under suspicion by the police. Out of self-preservation, Ellie decides she had better try to solve the crime herself. Unfortunately, the dead stranger is neither the first nor last victim of the murderer - Ellie herself comes close to becoming a victim. It was quite a good mystery - I did figure out whodunit about 5 chapters before the unveiling, but it was still quite compelling nonetheless. The village and it's characters are very well drawn. Ms. Boatright's descriptive passages are beautifully written - I could feel the damp wind and smell the smoke from the Guy Fawkes bonfire! I very much look forward to more of Ms. Boatright's works. 4 stars!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    This book had potential, but there are loose ends that are never really tied up (including how one of the murders happened and why!). It’s highly annoying that the characters and the mechanism of the crime—two of the most important aspects of the plot—are so vaguely sketched out. The final nail in the coffin is the fact that Ellie is so cold in her personal relationships, and she makes dumb decisions even when she knows she’s under suspicion for murder. She’s not likeable or sympathetic. I finis This book had potential, but there are loose ends that are never really tied up (including how one of the murders happened and why!). It’s highly annoying that the characters and the mechanism of the crime—two of the most important aspects of the plot—are so vaguely sketched out. The final nail in the coffin is the fact that Ellie is so cold in her personal relationships, and she makes dumb decisions even when she knows she’s under suspicion for murder. She’s not likeable or sympathetic. I finished it out of pure curiosity, not out of enjoyment.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Very strange. I get virtually no sense of character chemistry in this book. It almost felt like an exercise in how to plot a mystery. Even the bad actors were sterile (rude, but sterile). The only time I connected with a character was when (view spoiler)[the little brother of the dead boy was crying about his dead hamster. What does that tell you about a book with multiple deaths / murders of people? (hide spoiler)] Very strange. I get virtually no sense of character chemistry in this book. It almost felt like an exercise in how to plot a mystery. Even the bad actors were sterile (rude, but sterile). The only time I connected with a character was when (view spoiler)[the little brother of the dead boy was crying about his dead hamster. What does that tell you about a book with multiple deaths / murders of people? (hide spoiler)]

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rosie Genova

    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. Or is he????

  17. 5 out of 5

    Maren

    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). 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).

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jacqie

    Probably 3.5 stars. 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... processed as the ones from larger publishers. 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 3.5 stars. 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... processed as the ones from larger publishers. 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 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.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mary D. Warren

    EXCELLENT MYSTERY COZY I was looking to read a light mystery. This book ticked all my boxes. Although UNDER AN ENGLISH HEAVEN won't win the Nobel prize for literature, it gets my vote for for being an entertaining page turner. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with Ellie Kent again in the second book of the series. EXCELLENT MYSTERY COZY I was looking to read a light mystery. This book ticked all my boxes. Although UNDER AN ENGLISH HEAVEN won't win the Nobel prize for literature, it gets my vote for for being an entertaining page turner. I'm looking forward to reconnecting with Ellie Kent again in the second book of the series.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    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. Vicar. 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. :-) 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. Vicar. 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. :-)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sandra McKenna

    Not at all disappointing. This is my first read by Alice K. Boatweight, but definitely not the last. An easy to read murder mystery; a cross between Miss Marple and Midsomer Murders. Set in a charming village in The Cotswolds, and centered around the local Vicar and his wife. For cozy mystery lovers, it is a book I would highly recommend.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Larene Devine

    Loved the twists and turns, getting to know the people in this small town. I was left guessing up to the very end. What started as reading a sample ended with my following the author.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sherry

    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. 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.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    A typical British cozy. It was convoluted how the heroine could have figured out who dun it...but it made sense when revealed

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kathy Burge

    American professor marries a widowed vicar and moves to a small English village, only to find an unknown dead man in the churchyard and become the leading suspect in his murder. What is she to do but solve the mystery herself? Wonderful, well-developed cozy mystery. The story and characters kept me turning the pages. Highly recommend this first book in a series.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    A well written book. Believable characters, good dialogue, and a decent plot. I liked how Ellie is drawn into trying to solve the murder. I did have some problems with who the villain turned out to be and I wasn't 100% convinced that the given motivation would have led to murder. Still, it was a good read. A well written book. Believable characters, good dialogue, and a decent plot. I liked how Ellie is drawn into trying to solve the murder. I did have some problems with who the villain turned out to be and I wasn't 100% convinced that the given motivation would have led to murder. Still, it was a good read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cresta McGowan

    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. But this challenge is nothing compared to what happens when she stumbles across a body in the churchyard. 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. But this challenge is nothing compared to what happens when she stumbles across a body in the churchyard. 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 to stay one step ahead of the police to unravel a decades-old literary mystery and love story. Will others die before she can solve it? And what will be left of her new life and marriage, even if she succeeds? Boatwright, Alice K. “Under an English Heaven: An Ellie Kent Mystery by Alice K. Boatwright.” Goodreads, Goodreads, 30 May 2014, www.goodreads.com/book/show/22398705-.... My review: I give this book 🍷🍷🍷and I feel like I'm being generous. This simply didn't work for me. The premise was strong, but the biggest struggle I had was I didn't like Ellie Kent. At all. 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...dead for months - well, not so good. 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. 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: http://alicekboatwright.com/

  28. 4 out of 5

    Althea Booth

    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 really enjoyed this book, and it scratched the "cozy mystery set in an English village, preferably featuring a vicar and/or his family" itch I've been having. (I know, I have very specific reading itches.) 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. If I enjoy a book for what it is, I give it four stars. If I really enjoy it, I give it five. I really enjoyed this book, and it scratched the "cozy mystery set in an English village, preferably featuring a vicar and/or his family" itch I've been having. (I know, I have very specific reading itches.) 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." Oh, the other weird thing: 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. Edit, 10/8/15: 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.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tannis Laidlaw

    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. Not only does she have to cope with traditional village life, but she is a ‘new’ wife where the late wife was a paragon. And there’s a stepdaughter who 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. Not only does she have to cope with traditional village life, but she is a ‘new’ wife where the late wife was a paragon. And there’s a stepdaughter who is still grieving. Difficult. We follow Ellie’s reactions and growth throughout the book. Last but not least is the murder mystery itself, where Ellie, the foreigner, the new wife, is thrown into suspicion herself. It’s a cosy, so don’t expect buckets of blood or high tension chases. Just solid curiosity, the most gentile of nosiness and quick thinking. Just my type of book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    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. 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 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.

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