By Karen Rose Smith
Caprice De Luca Series, #4
These days, home stager Caprice De Luca’s calendar is a full house. Her grandmother’s health is failing, her wayward uncle is stirring the pot, and she’s torn between two equally eligible suitors.
With so much drama in her personal life, Caprice is grateful to have Ace Richland, a former 80s rock star, ask her to stage his girlfriend’s house. But Alanna Goodwin is a tough customer who balks at Caprice’s ideas and all but commandeers the staging. Caprice almost isn’t surprised when the snappish Southern belle is strangled to death with a tieback from her tacky velvet drapes. But just as she draws back the curtains on the truth, Caprice realizes she may be next on a murderer’s set list…
I have long been a fan of cozy mysteries and welcome the addition of the Caprice De Luca series to my reading enjoyment. As with most series, each book can stand alone, although reading in order will give a better sense of flow and characterization. Compared to a lot of other mysteries that I read, this series is more character driven, which is something I greatly appreciate because picking up a new book is like coming home to a comfortable family.
In addition to an entertaining murder mystery, Drape Expectations continues with strong family dynamics, including the making of a decision between two suitors who have been present since the first book. Let me just say that I've had my favorite from the beginning and was not disappointed. In fact, the couple had great chemistry and this theme featured prominently in the story. I also want to add that this book is completely clean, proving that novels can indeed entertain and succeed without profanity or bedroom scenes. Well done, Miss Karen!
With her home staging business, large family, and love for animals, I find Caprice to be quite an engaging lead character and amateur detective. Anyone who has spent even a little time viewing HGTV will appreciate Caprice's unique staging themes - Minimalist Illusion, Southern Plantation, etc. I loved how her sister Nikki, who caters her open houses, found a description of a plantation dinner and replicated it. But it's Caprice's love and passion for family that touch me the most, for she realizes that family is worth fighting for. The De Lucas "didn't take adversity lying down. They got up, shook themselves off, and figured out what to do next." One of my favorite secondary characters was Caprice's uncle, whose return home causes much tension.
Readers who enjoy animals will find much to like here, as Caprice's pets are very much a part of her family, and it's obvious that Karen's love for pets isn't merely for the sake of hooking readers. As an owner of multiple cats myself, it was so much fun to watch Caprice's efforts to integrate the murder victim's cat into her own household. Caprice's pets are very much a part of her family, and she even gives some tips for care.
Descriptions - furniture, style of dress, etc. - sometimes slow down the pace, but I actually enjoyed that aspect of the story. The murder theme held my attention and I was surprised by the guilty party, but then I usually am, as I read more for overall story. I look forward to whatever Caprice gets involved in next. Recommended to cozy mystery fans everywhere.
After writing romances for twenty years, Karen Rose Smith is excited to see her Caprice De Luca home-stager mystery series published. Her sleuth reflects many of her interests: interior decorating, cooking, retro fashion, gardening, and, most of all, taking in stray animals. Married to her college sweetheart, Karen has convinced her husband that felines can make purr-fect housemates. They share their home in the Susquehanna Valley of Pennsylvania with their three rescued cats.
Find Karen online at karenrosesmithmysteries.com, Facebook, and Twitter.
Thank you to Karen and Kensington Publishing for providing a electronic copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.