Christmas Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke Book Review
The lowdown from Goodreads
It’s Christmas many years ago, and topping young Hannah Swensen’s wish list is becoming the go-to baker in Lake Eden, Minnesota. But as Hannah finds out, revisiting holiday memories can be
murder . . .
With her dream of opening The Cookie Jar taking shape, Hannah’s life matches the hectic December hustle and bustle in Lake Eden—especially when she agrees to help recreate a spectacular Christmas Ball from the past in honor of Essie Granger, an elderly local in hospice care. But instead of poring over decadent dessert recipes for the merry festivities, she instantly becomes enthralled by Essie’s old notebooks and the tale of a woman escaping danger on the streets of New York. Hannah’s surprised by Essie’s secret talent for penning crime fiction. She’s even more surprised when the story turns real. As Hannah prepares to run a bakery and move out of her mother’s house, it’ll be a true miracle if she can prevent another Yuletide disaster by solving a mystery as dense as a Christmas fruitcake.
Christmas Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke Book Review
Getting back to Lake Eden, MN & hearing from my old friend, Hannah Swensen is like slipping on the most comfortable pair of slippers. I wonder why I ever left.
My Introduction to Joanne Fluke’s Hannah Swensen Series
In case you didn’t know, I’m a huge fan of the Hannah Swensen series. While in college, I was reading way too much James Patterson & watching way too much CSI. I began to feel paranoid, nervous & I was in dire need of an escape. One day, I spotted Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder & thought to myself, now that looks different.
I remember looking at the bright yellow cover & thinking, this seems nice. I love baking & I do love a good mystery, so I guess I’ll try it. Well, I freaking LOVED it. Instantly, I was hooked. I spent the summer catching up on the series & I was first in line to buy Fudge Cupcake Murder when it was published.
Cozy Mysteries for the Win
I’ll be honest. The last few years I haven’t kept up with the series. Initially, I was Really Into it but none of my friends were reading it. That sounds so lame, but I really love talking about what I read with my friends. Thus began my unintentional break from Hannah Swensen.
I turned back to my old stand-by murder mysteries with some chick lit thrown in to keep things light. Then, I found my bookstagram community. I didn’t even know these types of books are categorized as “cozy mysteries”. But, that’s EXACTLY what they are. This was like an Oprah A-HA moment for me. I had found my fellow cozy lovers & my obsession had a name!
Let’s Go to Lake Eden
Maybe you’re new to cozies, but let me tell you there is no better time to start the Hannah Swensen series. Christmas Cake Murder is a prequel. Yes, that means read this book first & then you can binge the entire Hannah series. If you’re already familiar with the series, then you’ll enjoy Christmas Cake Murder too. The story takes place right before Hannah opens her bakery, The Cookie Jar.
If you’re a baker like me, you’ll swoon over the recipes featured throughout the books. I’ve made at least one recipe from every book thus far. To this day, I still I LOVE the chocolate chip cookie recipe with cornflakes. Another thing I love about this series is that food is a central character. Hannah and her family are making a pot of coffee at 8 PM & are eating the second round of cobbler topped with ice cream. If there’s dialogue, there’s a discussion about food. Some people may find the food talk a bit excessive, but I like it. These are my kind of people!
Christmas Cake Murder – The Prequel I Didn’t Know I Needed
It’s been so long since I read a Hannah book that reading this prequel is like starting over. Immediately, I’m transferred back to Joanne’s fluid writing. It’s so easy to fall into her books. Joanne’s books are so cozy, warm, inviting & filled with food, friends & family, how could you not want to be a part of it? And why the heck did I ever leave it?
Christmas Cake Murder is a great addition to my beloved series. Hannah has a wonderful family & it’s so cool to meet them when they were a bit “younger”. Hannah lives in Lake Eden, MN & it is a quaint little town full of friendly people. Sure, there are murders, but there has to be a mystery to solve, right? Christmas Cake Murder is where Hannah starts her sleuthing & really starts her life. After reading this prequel, it does make the rest of the series a bit more special.
I am Really Into This book & I am Really Into This series. Christmas Cake Murder rekindled my love for this fantastic series.
You’ve got to check out the fantastic Hallmark movies based on Joanne’s books. They are a TON of fun!
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Joanne Fluke is theNew York Times bestselling author of the Hannah Swensen mysteries, which include Double Fudge Brownie Murder, Blackberry Pie Murder, Cinnamon Roll Murder, and the book that started it all, Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. That first installment in the series premiered as Murder, She Baked: A Chocolate Chip Cookie Mystery on the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Channel. Like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke was born and raised in a small town in rural Minnesota, but now lives in Southern California. Please visit her online at firstname.lastname@example.org