Aunt Dimity Slays the Dragon by Nancy Atherton
The latest installment of Nancy Atherton’s cozy Aunt Dimity series starts off innocently enough. Ex-pat mom of twins, Lori Shepard, is finding herself bored with life in their small English Village, but is trying to throw herself into village life anyway in the hopes of making it slightly more interesting. Her husband is working away in his law-office, her sons are doing their five-year-old thing, and she’s coming off of a wedding-planning high.
Luckily, with summer comes event-season in Finch: The Tidy Cottage Contest, Best Garden, etc etc. Even more luckily, at the town meeting one of the nephews of a local farmer announces that on his Uncle’s land that summer will be held a Renaissance Faire of the type generally seen in America: historical accuracy isn’t as important as enthusiasm, come in costume for a more enjoyable time...and oh yes, a daily joust will be held.
Even incorporeal Aunt Dimity thinks it’ll make the summer slightly more interesting around town and encourages Lori and family to take part and report back. So costumes are made - the boys will be pages, Lori will be...well she can’t really decide what she wants to be, and her husband has put his foot down: over his dead body will he don a costume. They’re lucky he’s going, and that’s really only because the boys are in the daily parade.
But, because this is a mystery, shenanigans occur. Accidents happen during the opening ceremony, the town is trashed, and Lori’s imagination runs wild.
Admittedly, I read this months ago so some of the details have been pushed to the back of my brain (I was also deep in the throws of early-pregnancy grossness and so my retention wasn’t what it normally is) but I can say these things without a doubt: I do love this series. I love that it’s not generally gory. I love that the characters are at once familiar people and “characters.” I love that Lori is in a stable, very loving, long term marriage. I like that time passes as we read. When we first meet Lori (not in the first book) she is young, single, penniless, and casting about for something outside of her work and now she is a happily married mother of two who hasn’t lost who she is even though life has taken her places she never imagined.
This is a good rainy-day book. It’s good “I thought morning sickness was only supposed to last the morning” book. Or a flu book. Or a “it’s too cold, let’s sit by the fire with cocoa and a book” book.
If you haven’t read this series, pick up the first one (like I said, they move forward and build on the last) and enjoy yourself. If you have read the series, you won’t be disappointed with the latest installment.