Audiobook review: A Very Beechwood Christmas by Danielle Garrett
A Very Beechwood Christmas is a short holiday novella that features the cast of characters from Ms. Garrett’s two Beechwood-centric cozy mystery series. While advertised as “Four Festive Magic Mini Mysteries,” it is really one story in five parts, shared from four different POVs. Each part has a cute name and features a mini-mystery inside the larger mystery, with the exception of the last part, which reads more like an epilogue.
The book shares the story of how Christmas is nearly ruined when the real Santa turns up missing. We follow the gang as they work the case, the tale unfolding via Holly, Nick, Scarlett, and Flapjack (the ghost cat). Fans of the Beechwood series will probably enjoy the tale more than those unfamiliar with the characters, but it can be enjoyed as a standalone.
Overall, I liked the mystery. The story is enjoyable and the premise entertaining. I continue to enjoy the entire cast characters, with the exception of Flapjack, whose grumpy demeanor ruined his POV section of the tale. One thing that annoyed me is the reference to an incident with Santa’s gnomes which apparently occurs prior to the story, but is tied into the overall mystery. I don’t know if this is a separate short or what, but I wish it had been included or fleshed out more.
Narration: As always, the Beechwood Harbor gang is brought to life through the performance of Amanda Ronconi, who has consistently done a wonderful job. Her voices are all well-suited, and she gives paranormals their own fitting voices. However, I notice that as the cast gets larger, some of the characters start sounding similar. In addition, Ms. Ronconi uses the same or nearly similar narrator voices for the different POVs. This made it confusing at times since each POV is told in first person. After starting with Holly’s POV, I kept thinking it was Holly throughout the book, even though the POV changed.
Overall, A Very Beechwood Christmas is a fun holiday short.
Edited December 30, 2020: I am currently listening to Betwixt Volume 2 by Danielle Garrett, narrated by Amanda Ronconi. This is an anthology of Beechwood-centric stories and novellas, to be released Jan. 12, 2021. Not only is A Very Beechwood Christmas included in this anthology in its entirety, but it also includes the prequel “Hex the Halls”, which is really a necessary listen for A Very Beechwood Christmas to make sense. I highly recommend skipping picking up this standalone audiobook of A Very Beechwood Christmas, and rather listen to Betwixt Volume 2 because you get the whole story.
About the Book:
Christmas is coming to Beechwood Harbor, but will the manor residents be ready for his magical visit? With mischief and mystery at every turn, Holly and friends have to rally to save Christmas before it’s too late!
A Very Beechwood Christmas includes four mini mysteries set around a wild and magical Christmas when the real Santa Claus comes to town!
Author: Danielle Garrett
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Series: Beechwood Harbor Magic Mystery and Beechwood Harbor Ghost Mystery series
Genre: Paranormal Cozy Mystery, novella
Audiobook Release Date: December 22, 2020
Publisher: Tantor Audio
Length: 2 hrs 15 min
Source: Tantor Audio
Audio Speed: 1.25x
Audible/Amazon (affiliate link)