Aunt Dimity Has Taken Over My Life… Again!
Just a quick reminder – there are only 6 days left to enter my Roman Coin Earrings giveaway.
I haven’t been talking very much this year about my personal reading challenge, but, of course, I do have one. I’m hoping to top last year’s 113 new books read. So, my stated goal is 110, but really, I’m hoping for 125. I’m doing pretty well so far with thirty-three books under my belt. (I’ll post a full list at the bottom.)
But, recently, I’ve been distracted. You see, I got an advance copy of the forthcoming Aunt Dimity book. I love Aunt Dimity. i have loved Aunt Dimity since I was a teenager and my mom presented me with Aunt Dimity’s Death. I have devoured all nineteen of the currently published volumes, plus the forthcoming twentieth book, Aunt Dimity and the Lost Prince. Each one is a little gem unto itself.
They are, technically, mysteries, although there is rarely a body. Most of them have something fairly profound to teach me about life, beauty, the nature of friendship, and family. But they’re not saccharine. They don’t really moralize at the reader so I don’t feel like I’ve had a message shoved down my throat on a wave of Karo syrup. Which is good, because while I like Karo syrup I prefer it to come with pancakes (I’m southern) not sermons.
Aunt Dimity is not actually the protagonist of the books. Lori Shepherd is the star of the books. Lori is an American. An informal expert on antique books and manuscripts. She is perhaps a little prone to flights of imagination but how could she not when she has Aunt Dimity in her life?
Aunt Dimity is no ordinary aunt! For one thing, she is not actually related to Lori. Dimity Westwood and Beth Shepherd met during WWII while they were each working in London. They remained best friends until Beth passed away a few months before the first book opens. Dimity and Beth never saw each other again, but they exchanged letters for the rest of their lives.
The other unusual thing about Aunt Dimity is that… well, she’s dead. But certainly not departed. She elegantly haunts a blue journal and communicates with Lori through elegant, copperplate script. Now you see why Lori’s flights of fancy aren’t so strange?
When Dimity passed away she left Lori with the means and motivation to go to England, which is where most of the books are set. England unfolds in the books the way I always watched it on PBS programming as a child. There are villages and fetes and ladies in big hats. But Nancy Atherton doesn’t wrap everything up in sweetness and light. There are petty jealousies, big cities, homeless people, theft, and spite. It is still a world that I can recognize, but maybe with the edges softened a little. I know that we’re going to solve the problem and, much like the girl scout motto, leave the world of the books better than we found it. More than anything, these books are full of hope. It was a heady brew for a depressed teenager, and I still indulge in it today. So, when a new book came out in the series I got a little tipsy on it.
I got Aunt Dimity & the Lost Prince last Wednesday (3/13). I took it home. I finished it Thursday. It was great. Next, I read the new book in Cindy Spencer Pape’s steampunk series. That took an evening. And I had to finish an ARC of Ink by Amanda Sun. But I just couldn’t get Aunt Dimity out of my head. But, I realized that I had MISSED AN AUNT DIMITY BOOK!!! I rushed through Aunt Dimity Slays the Dragon. A Renn Faire has come to the village and no one is quite sure what to make of it. I LOVE Renn Faires so I can’t believe that I missed it!
I wasn’t satisfied after that. I need more Aunt Dimity. I decided to go back and re-read Aunt Dimity’s Death. Although, technically, I listened to it on audio. Then I couldn’t resist Aunt Dimity: Down Under, which is like a love letter to New Zealand, one of my all-time favorite places to visit. Over the last week I’ve also gone back and revisited Aunt Dimity and the Next of Kin, Aunt Dimity: Detective, Aunt Dimity’s Christmas, Aunt Dimity Digs In, Aunt Dimity Takes a Holiday, Aunt Dimity: Snowbound, and I started Aunt Dimity’s Good Deed last night. I’m sort of accidentally reading in reverse order, but I’ve read all of them before, so it doesn’t matter.
The publisher has gone in a new direction with the book covers. Aunt Dimity and the Lost Prince and Aunt Dimity Slays the Dragon show the newer, cleaner covers, while the Aunt Dimity’s Death and Aunt Dimity’s Good Deed give you an idea of the original, cozy covers. I like both.
Several of the book are currently available on Audible.com. Aunt Dimity and the Lost Prince will also be out on audio when it releases on April 18. I highly recommend it!
I’ll also remind you, that if you sign up for a free trial at audible you can get an audibook for free. I highly recommend the Aunt Dimity books. (No, Audible doesn’t sponsor me, but they do sponsor the Sword & Laser podcast, Do I Dare to Eat a Peach, and Writing Excuses, all of which I love so much.)