ARC BOOK REVIEW: The Framed Women of Ardemore House by Brandy Schillace
Jo Jones has always had a little trouble fitting in. As a neurodivergent,
hyperlexic book editor and divorced New Yorker transplanted into the
English countryside, Jo doesn’t know what stands out more: her
Americanisms or her autism.
After losing her job, her mother, and her marriage all in one year, she couldn’t be happier to take possession of a possibly haunted (and clearly unwanted) family estate in North Yorkshire. But when the body of the moody town groundskeeper turns up on her rug with three bullets in his back, Jo finds herself in potential danger—and she’s also a potential suspect. At the same time, a peculiar family portrait vanishes from a secret room in the manor, bearing a strange connection to both the dead body and Jo’s mysterious family history.
With the aid of a Welsh antiques dealer, the morose local detective, and the Irish innkeeper’s wife, Jo embarks on a mission to clear herself of blame and find the missing painting, unearthing a slew of secrets about the town—and herself—along the way. And she’ll have to do it all before the killer strikes again…
An American woman moves to England after her mother dies and she inherits a
run down estate. Jo has nothing to lose by moving to England, her mother is
gone, and her marriage ended she is planning on starting over in the estate
that she inherited from her mother. The estate however is falling down, the
gardens over grown, a hole in the roof that has ruined priceless books and a
strange painting found stashed in a upper room that goes missing in the
first few hours she is there. The woman in the painting is unknown and looks
sad. Jo first wants to find out who took the painting but later starts to
focus on who is in the painting and what happened to her. Mixed in
with this mystery is the mystery of the dead body Jo literally stumbles on
in the cottage she intends to occupy on the property while she fixes up the
Lots of great characters, not a fast paced book but there are a lot of
moving pieces. I love that the main character is neurodivergent and on the
autism spectrum leaving her interactions with people refreshing and awkward.
Her observations are also fascinating and more astute than if she didn't
think differently. Although she doesn't think she fits in she makes an
impression on several of the locals and quickly finds herself with friends
who are willing to stand with her.
The ending makes me think this may be the first of a series or at the very
least a duology which I would welcome. I could definitely revisit
these characters again.
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