Book Review

Six Sweets Under

Six Sweets Under

  • Author: Sarah Fox
  • Genre: Cozy Mystery
  • Publication Date: February 7, 2023
  • Publisher: Berkley
  • Series: True Confections Mystery #1

Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

CONTENT WARNING: panic attack, murder, violence

Former actress Becca Ransom lived her dream in Hollywood for seven years before returning to her hometown of Larch Haven, Vermont. Known as the Venice of North America, Larch Haven has canals instead of roads, gondolas instead of cars, and charming cottages that look like they were plucked from the pages of a fairy tale. It’s also where Becca is pursuing her newest passion as a chocolatier at True Confections, the chocolate shop owned by her grandparents, Lolly and Pops.

While Becca’s testing new flavors and reconnecting with old friends, the town is gearing up for the annual Gondola Races, popular with both residents and tourists, with one exception. Local curmudgeon Archie Smith wants nothing more than to keep tourists away from Larch Haven. He’s determined to derail this year’s event and does his best to stir up trouble for the organizers, including Becca’s grandfather.

Following a heated argument with Pops, Archie is found floating face-down in the canal, and Pops finds himself in hot water as one of the top suspects. Becca’s determined to clear her grandfather’s name, but when the case heats up, she could be facing a sticky end.

This sounded like such an adorable start to a promising series, and I couldn’t resist picking this one up. I loved the idea of this picture perfect town, and a family-run chocolate shop! However, this book didn’t quite meet my expectations.

I really liked Becca. She’s the kind of character that feels like someone I’d want to be friends with, and I especially loved her relationship with her best friend Dizzy. They have the kind of long-term friendship where you can rely on the other person no matter what. 

Another strength of the story was the diversity. Becca’s brother is gay, and he’s in a healthy, loving, and supportive marriage, so we see a lot of the relationship that her brother and brother-in-law have with Becca and the rest of the family. There are POC in the story as well—some more peripherally, but Dizzy’s family comes from the Philippines, and it is incorporated into the story.

However, the story was relatively repetitive. A lot of the story follows Becca around on her day and thinking about the kind of questions she wants to ask, but she doesn’t actually ask very many questions. We do hear a lot about her walking around town and making chocolates, but she also does a lot of bumbling around and collecting random information that doesn’t really further the investigation. 

While this is a light and fluffy read, I found that it moved rather slowly for me. It took me days to read it, because I struggled to get invested. This was mostly because not a lot was happening for so much of it, and it wasn’t until the end that the pace picked up. Ultimately, I found myself rather disappointed in the story, which had so much potential.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 5

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