Five Wakes and a Wedding by Karen Ross


About the Book

Undertaker Nina Sherwood is full of good advice. For example, never wear lip gloss when you’re scattering ashes.

Nina is your average 30-year-old with a steady job, a nice home – and dead bodies in her basement. As an undertaker, she often prefers the company of the dead to the living – they’re obliging, good listeners and take secrets to the grave.

Nina is on a one-woman mission to persuade her peers that passing on is just another part of life. But the residents of Primrose Hill are adamant that a funeral parlour is the last thing they need… and they will stop at nothing to close down her dearly beloved shop.

When Nina’s ‘big break’ funeral turns out to be a prank, it seems like it’s the final nail in the coffin for her new business. That is, until a (tall, dark and) mysterious investor shows up out of the blue, and she decides to take a leap of faith.

Because, after all, it’s her funeral…

What I thought

Aww that’s a shame but sadly I wasn’t too keen on this book.  There was nothing wrong with the writing.  Easy to read, kept a fairly steady flow of different things happening but generally I found it slow and it didn’t really capture my interest.  I expected more funerals and the stories behind them.  Instead the book seemed to reach half way, with Nina drumming her fingers on the counter top before eventually finding someone willing to seek out her undertaker services.  Of the funerals she did organise, of which I think there were four including one for a dog, they were rather bizarre even for Happy Endings whose mission was to make funerals very personal to the deceased and their families.

The premise of the story was OK I just thought it all went a little over the top even for a fictional undertakers.  I didn’t personally like the fact that it was a book that seemed to lean towards the rich and famous, even if they were fictional characters, but that’s just me.  I’m not a great follower of celebrities and tended to agree with one of the journalists attending one particular funeral when he muttered something about them having more money than sense.

I much preferred the story that surrounded the death of Nina’s husband and the story behind it, which was revealed just over half way through the book.  I would have liked to have heard more about this.   I also thought Barclay was an interesting character, although there again it went way over the top when it came to living a somewhat privileged life.  You know, lets just whisk someone away for a day trip to Paris in their private helicopter, as one does! However that’s fiction, it isn’t meant to be real.  I think looking back, its the fact that it really was about the affluent of London that irritated me somewhat which is why I didn’t really take to it.

Having said that, it did have a lot of light moments and things that did make me laugh.  There was Barclay’s surname for a start but I don’t want to spoil the bit where its revealed in the book.  Then there was early on in the book, two of Nina’s observations made me smile.  Referring to a woman and her hair dye, she described it as Menopause Red which I thought was funny.  I know exactly the red she means and I always wonder why women of a certain age go for that colour, is it the new purple rinse of old?  Then there was Zoe Banks with her collagen enhanced lips which Nina described as looking like a pair of scarlet bananas.  It did have its funny moments.

Many reviewers did enjoy the book so don’t just take my word for it, it just wasn’t one for me.

♥ Happy Reading ♥

With thanks to Avon Books via Netgalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The book is available to pre-order on Kindle and is due to be published on 22 July 2019.  The paperback expected release date is 19 September.

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