Saturday, September 18, 2021

Book Review: Murder at Morrington Hall by Clara McKenna

Murder at Morrington Hall

Clara McKenna
Series: A Stella and Lyndy Mystery (Book 1)
Publication: Kensington Books (May 28, 2019)

Description: Stella Kendrick is an all-American heiress who can’t be tamed. But when the lively aspiring equine trainer tangles with British aristocracy, she meets her match—and a murderer . . .

Like the Thoroughbreds she rides across the Kentucky countryside, Stella takes adventure by the reins when she’s asked to attend a mysterious wedding in rural England. But once she arrives at the lush Morrington Hall estate, her cold, ambitious father reveals that he has arranged to give away his daughter as bride to the Earl of Atherly’s financially strapped son . . .

Stella refuses to be sold off like a prized pony. Yet there’s something intriguing about her groom-to-be, the roguish Viscount “Lyndy” Lyndhurst. The unlikely pair could actually be on the right track with each other . . . until they find the vicar who was to marry them dead in the library. Now, Stella and Lyndy must put their marriage on hold to prevent an unbridled criminal from destroying their new life together right out of the gate . . .

My Thoughts: Stella Kendrick has traveled to England with her father delivering some of the thoroughbred horses he raises to Lord Atherly and his son Viscount Lyndhurst. She doesn't know that he is also giving her away as an American bride to Viscount Lyndhurst.

Lord Lyndhurst - Lyndy - is reconciled to the marriage since he has long wished to reinvigorate his grandfather's racing stable and one of the new horses is a prize-winning stud. If he has to marry to get the horses, he's okay with that. 

Stella isn't.

Stella is used to her brutal and boorish father but this is going too far. Now, she is totally out of her depth trying to navigate the waters of the British aristocracy and no one is eager to help her stay afloat. She is receiving constant snide comments both from her future mother-in-law and the houseguests who are there for the wedding.

When the vicar who is supposed to conduct the ceremony is found murdered in the library, Stella and Lyndy find themselves investigating the crime and getting to know and appreciate each other. Then the stud is stolen and her father and Lyndy's father look ready to cancel the wedding unless Stella and Lyndy can uncover the murderer and recover the horse.

I liked the time period - 1905 - and the descriptions of the New Forest. The characters were interesting too. Stella is smart and competent even if she's not familiar with the ways of aristocratic life. Lyndy took a little longer to grow on me. He's loyal to his friends, maybe too loyal, and he is determined to make improvements to his family's financial situation. He does come to appreciate Stella's strengths. 

Fans of historical mysteries will enjoy this story and be looking forward to more Stella and Lyndy adventures. 

Favorite Quote:
She stared straight into his eyes. "I pity you, Lord Lyndhurst," she whispered  back. It was not what he expected her to say. He prepared his retort, but the brightness in her eyes stayed his tongue. "I will go and change and wash off the manure, but you, sir, will always be full of it."

Lyndy burst out laughing.
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

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