This review is based on a complimentary book I received from Author, Tower Lowe. It is an honest and voluntary review. The complimentary receipt of it in no way affected my review or rating.Gone on Sunday: A Cotton Lee Historical Mystery by Tower Lowe
Series: Cotton Lee Penn Historical Mysteries #1
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery
Release Date: January 28, 2017
Publisher: Independently Published
Source: Author, Tower Lowe
Length: 8 hours, 3 minutes
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble ◊ Book Depository ◊ IndieBound ◊ Audible
Polio disabled Cotton Lee's leg, but not her sexuality, not her mind, and not her ability to connect the murder of her friend Little Mary in 1972 to that of Bead Baker in 1932. Gone on Sunday follows the lives of the Baker family, their black servants, and the townspeople they knew in Homeville, Virginia. Alternating between 1972 and 1932, Cotton Lee's investigation into the murder of Bead Baker brings out secrets kept for decades. With suspects ranging from a housewife, to a cook, and even a rumored witch, Cotton Lee needs to find the solution to the first murder in order to know the history of the second.
Gone on Sunday: A Cotton Lee Historical Mystery is the first book in its series. It was an engaging read that took me on a journey through the lives and secrets of the residents in Homeville, Virginia. Cotton Lee was a woman who was smart and beautiful but was basically disregarded due to that fact that she was left with a disfigured leg and limp from having contracted polio when she was a child. Aware of how she was seen, she used the town’s underestimation of her to her advantage and faced adversity head on. I really liked that about her character. When her friend was killed and she was asked to act as an investigator into the death, she was all in. What she never expected was to find so many secrets in the small town she called home.
In 1972 Little Mary as she was called appeared to have been murdered in the same fashion as her grandmother was and it shocked the townspeople. Especially since the murder in 1932 was never solved. With Little Mary’s murder, there began to be a lot of questions being thrown about regarding who had motive and were the two murders somehow connected. Cotton Lee decided that she needed to know more about Bead Baker’s murder in 1932 to try and understand why someone may have wanted to murder Little Mary in the same fashion. Cotton Lee’s investigation into the past would reveal secrets that some people preferred to have left in the past and created a lot of tension in this small town.
The timeline in Gone on Sunday: A Cotton Lee Historical Mystery alternates with each chapter between the events in 1932 and “current” events taking place in 1972. I was not the biggest fan of the alternating timelines but it was good for the story because it put the events of 1932 on display with the events of 1972 and helped to show how things were or weren’t connected. I appreciated how the townspeople were realistically portrayed. They were as true to life as characters could be and no ugliness was muted. There was abuse, racism, racial tensions, adultery, and, and, and. The kind of sordid secrets and closed-door stuff that takes place in all communities but no one likes to talk about.
There were a ton of characters involved in this story, and they were all involved in the story in some fashion. I was not the biggest fan of reading the point of views of so many characters. It made the story difficult to follow but not impossible. I also wished that Cotton Lee was more of a central character and that her character had been more “in charge of the show” rather than the story being told by so many voices. I felt that she was lost in a sea of voices rather than being the main character. I know that despite the alternating timeline and many points of view I was hooked with the mystery of who killed Bead Baker and Little Mary. It carried me through to the end and kept me engaged. Overall, Gone on Sunday: A Cotton Lee Historical Mystery was an interesting read that was full of surprises and the ending was quite shocking!
*Thank you to Author Tower Lowe for this complimentary copy of Gone on Sunday: A Cotton Lee Historical Mystery*