searching through some of my old blogposts and came across my photo of a slide
Gary Metivier used in a presentation at the Children’s Literary Festival in
2016. I liked the concise way it framed the essence of plotting with five Cs:
“Create a Character readers care about, in a Conflict
with stakes, making Choices, whose Consequences build to a Climax.”
Cheryl B. Klein, author of The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children
and Young Adults.
I thought of
using this framework for
a review when I was given a copy of Bee in Her
Bonnet by Jannifer Powelson.
Her Bonnet is
Powelson’s fifth book in the Nature Station Mystery
series. The first chapter introduces the character of Kristen
Matthews as the owner of the Nature Station, a natural resource education and
event center. It’s a business that has grown over the first four books, as has
Kristen’s reputation and talent for amateur sleuthing in her central Illinois hometown
nothing better for conflict than a murder discovered the day after a
bridal shower was held at the Nature Station with a visit to its brand-new
pollinator garden as one of the party activities. The stakes couldn’t be higher
when the white-haired relative of the soon-to-be groom appears to have fallen
victim to a severe reaction to a bee sting.
are limited. She has questions to ask. Leads to track down. Because the nice
old lady’s past harbored some not so nice secrets. But Kirsten has so much help
streaming in from the many locals who have come to expect great things from her
detective skills. The consequences of all that help and ego boosting praise
just might compromise Kirsten’s ability to make the best decisions.
Who’s telling the truth? Who’s holding out on her. What is she missing? The answers to these questions can mean life
or death as she nears the climax of the action. Readers will want to
know if they solved the mystery or not. I certainly didn’t. Jannifer Powelson
has created a fine addition to her Nature Station Mystery series.
I was introduced to Jannifer Powelson’s Nature
Station Mystery series when I was given a copy of Bee in Her Bonnet to
review. This is Powelson’s fifth book in the series, so I was meeting her
protagonist, Kristen Matthews, at a high point in her personal life; she is
engaged and has a winter wedding in her future. Kristen’s business, the Nature
Station, is doing well as a natural resource education and event center. In
fact, as the action opens, it is summer, and she is hosting the bridal shower
for Hope Johnson, co-worker and best friend. We are introduced to a lot of people: family,
friends, citizens of small town Eklund; all have potential as either victim or
villain. A visit to the Nature Station’s brand-new pollinator garden is turned
into a bridal shower party activity.
The next day, Kristen and Hope are first
on the scene when the white-haired relative of Hope’s soon-to-be groom appears
to have fallen victim to a severe reaction to a bee sting. The stakes are high
for Kristen, time is in short supply for her to find the murderer and save her
best friend’s wedding day.
But Kristen’s reputation and talent for amateur
sleuthing precedes her every move. She has questions to ask. Leads to track
down. It seems the nice old lady’s past harbored some not so nice secrets.
Kirsten has so much help and information streaming in from the many locals who
have come to expect great things from her detective skills that it just might compromise
her ability to make the best decisions. Nothing is easy. Who’s telling the
truth? Who’s holding out on her, and why? What is she missing? The answers to
these questions could mean life or death as the murderer prepares to strike
again in an ending I did not see coming.
Friendship, family ties, and the chemistry
of small town Eklund are key themes for this book. As is the author’s respect
for native plants and prairies. Jannifer Powelson has created a fine addition
to her Nature Station Mystery series.
and star ratings are important gifts for authors. I always try to write
something about the books I read and then post to Amazon and Goodreads.
The more popular titles of well-established authors don’t need as much help as
local, regional authors of small presses or the self-published. For those, I
make an extra effort.