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Aunt Dimity: Snowbound Mass Market Paperback – Jan 25 2005

4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (Jan. 25 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0143034588
  • ISBN-13: 978-0143034582
  • Product Dimensions: 10.5 x 1.8 x 17.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 136 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #213,726 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

About the Author

Nancy Atherton is the author of six Aunt Dimity novels: Aunt Dimity’s Death, Aunt Dimity and the Duke, Aunt Dimity’s Good Deed, Aunt Dimity Digs In, Aunt Dimity’s Christmas, and Aunt Dimity Beats the Devil (all available from Penguin). She lives next to a cornfield in central Illinois.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The holidays nearly killed me. While my clever lawer husband used work as an excuse to avoid all but the most pressing social engagements, I flung myself at Christmas with the carefree abandon of a lemming rushing headlong toward a cliff.

While Bill barricaded himself behind legal files in our honey-colored cottage, I volunteered for every committee and attended every party given in or near Finch, the tiny English village we'd called home for the past six years. I adorned St. George's Church with evergreen boughs, warbled carols on a multitude of unsuspecting doorsteps, constructed scenery for the nativity play, prepared our four-year-old twin sons for their stage debuts as singing shepherds, baked enough angel cookies to choke a reindeer, and gave nearly as many parties for children as well as adults as I attended.

Even when the holidays were over, even when we flew to Boston in January for our annual visit with Bill's family, I couldn't shake the tinsel from my hair. While Bill spent his days enjoying cozy chats before the fire with his delightful father, I took the twins sledding and skating and sleigh-riding and compounded my folly by whisking Bill off on sentimental journeys to revisit old friends and dine out in favorite restaurants every evening.

By the time we returned to the cottage in mid-February, I was a burnt-out husk of my formerly jolly self. I winced when our sons burst into song, my gorge rose at the thought of nibbling another angel cookie, and I could scarcely bring myself to repack our Christmas decorations because the mere sight of them made my head throb. I was, in short, the pitiful victim of a self-induced holiday hangover.

Emma Harris had no trouble diagnosing my condition. As my closest neighbor and dearest friend in England she'd seen it all before, and when she found me lying listlessly on the bamboo chaise longue beneath the apple tree in my back garden, she knew exactly what had happened.

Appearances notwithstanding, I wasn't merely lounging. Since Bill was catching up on paperwork at his office in Finch, and Annelise, the twins' saintly nanny, was spending the afternoon with her mother on the family farm, I'd retired to the back garden to keep a sleepy eye on Will and Rob, who were busily building highways in the well-mulched vegetable patch.

Although I wasn't prepared to receive visitors, I was always glad to see Emma, who'd strolled over from her manor house to welcome me home and bring me up to date on local gossip. As she called a cheery hello to Will and Rob and seated herself on the deck chair opposite mine, I found myself envying her vitality. It was a gorgeous day, unseasonably warm and sunny, but I could barely summon the energy to acknowledge her arrival.

Emma surveyed me critically before commenting, "You've been burning the yule log at both ends. Again.

I hung my head, knowing what she would say next.

"What happened to the simple family Christmas you raved about?" she asked, right on cue. "What happened to staying at home and making angel cookies"

"Please don't mention angel cookies," I muttered as my stomach whimpered.

"and singing carols around your own hearth?" Emma went on. "What happened to a simple Christmas in the cottage with Bill and the boys?"

"Bill stayed in the cottage," I reminded her, "but the boys and I kind of didn't." I held a hand out to her pleadingly. "I can't help it, Emma. I'm addicted to holly. When sleigh bells ring I lose my head. I can't keep myself from hopping up next to Santa and grabbing the reins. It's a fun ride, truly it is, and Will and Rob loved every minute of it."

"I'm sure they did," said Emma. "But you're a wreck."

"I'm not the perkiest elf on the block," I admitted.

"You're about as perky as a tree stump." Emma pursed her lips and gazed thoughtfully toward the meadow beyond the garden wall. A pleasant silence ensued, a silence that was suddenly shattered by the sharp snap of her fingers as she exclaimed, "I know what'll pull you out of your funk!"

"A large box of chocolates?" I murmured.

"No. Not chocolates." Emma got to her feet, took two paces, and turned to face me. "You're going for a walk."

I sank deeper into the cushioned chaise longue. "I'd prefer the chocolates."

Emma shook her head decisively. "You have to give energy to get energy," she said. "I'm not talking about running a marathon, Lori. I'm talking about a stroll through some lovely countryside. Solitude, fresh air, and communion with nature that's what you need."

I gazed pointedly at the apple tree's bare branches. "Not much nature to commune with, this time of year."

"You'd be surprised," said Emma. "If you're lucky you'll see rabbits, deer, woodpeckers, owls maybe even a few foxes. And the early lambing is underway." She took an invigorating breath and let it out in a whoosh. "There's nothing like the sight of a gamboling lamb to refresh the spirits."

"Do lambs gambol in snow?" I inquired dryly. "I mean, Emma, it's February. Last I heard, February wasn't considered the balmiest month of the year in jolly old En<\h>gland."

"It hasn't been so bad this year." Emma swept a hand toward the clear blue sky. "We haven't had a drop of rain or a flake of snow since December, and the meteorologists predict that the fine weather will last till the end of the month."

"I can't disappear for the rest of the month," I protested.

"How about one day, then?" Emma proposed. "Surely you can manage to escape for one day. Bill won't mind, and Annelise is more than capable of looking after the boys while you're gone."

"Let me think about it," I said, nestling my head into the cushions.

Emma regarded me sternly. "You're not doing the twins any good, sitting there like a lump."

I knew that my best friend was taking advantage of my tender maternal instincts by inserting the boys into the conversation, but I also knew that she was telling the truth. Will and Rob deserved a wide-awake and active mummy, a mummy who would get down in the dirt and play trucks with them, not a Drowsy Drusilla, yawning at them from the sidelines. Perhaps a walk would wake me up. Perhaps the sight of gamboling lambs would refresh my spirits. If nothing else, it would get me off of the chaise longue.

Emma must have sensed an opening in my defenses because she began to press her case. "I've got the perfect trail for you. I hiked it last summer. It's easy terrain, the path's well-marked, and it's not far from here. You can stop along the way for a picnic lunch. I'll drop you off at the trail head and be waiting for you when you reach the other end."

"Why don't you come along?" I suggested.

"Because you need peace and quiet, that's why." Emma resumed her seat. "We've hiked together before, Lori. I know what you're like on the trail. Talk, talk, talk, from beginning to end. You need a break from people, and that includes me."

I was forced to admit that she had a point. Emma and I had much in commonlike me, she was a transplanted Yank with two children but there were differences as well. Emma's husband was English, for one thing, while Bill was American. Her children were nearly grown, whereas mine weren't quite finished being babies. She weighed every decision carefully, while I tended to be a bit impulsive. And although we were the best of friends, we weren't the best of hiking companions.

To me, a hike was a chance to release the mind and engage the senses. I loved to ramble aimlessly, savoring whatever surprises nature had in store for me along the way. I believed that lost was a relative term because all trails led somewhere, particularly in England,which was, after all, a very crowded little island where you could scarcely walk ten steps without tripping over a pub, a farmhouse, or a charming village. I'd gotten lost so often that Emma had, only half-jokingly, offered to attach a homing device to my day pack, but I'd refused. Getting lost on a beautiful spring day was, for me, part of the fun.

Emma, on the other hand, belonged to the map-and-compass crowd. She owned a veritable library of Ordnance Survey maps and never left home without a half dozen in her day pack. To Emma, hiking was an intellectual activity, a mission to be accomplished, a puzzle to be solved. While on the trail, she seemed to spend more time studying maps than gazing upon the natural beauty surrounding her. If she got lost which she did, even when I wasn't around to distract her with talk, talk, talk she felt she'd failed. It seemed to me that the only advantage her method of navigation had over mine was that, at the end of the day, she could figure out exactly where she'd gone wrong.

The more I thought about it, the more I agreed with Emma: If the proposed walk was to have any beneficial effects, it would best be taken without her company.

"How long is this trail of yours?" I asked.

"Nine miles, give or take a few hundred yards," Emma replied. "You'll be able to manage it in five hours, six at the most. I'll pack your lunch for you," she offered. "I'll even pack your day pack."

I smiled. "Be sure to tuck in a few hundred maps, will you? In case I end up in Borneo or Venezuela"

"I'll put in a map of the trail." Emma leaned forward and patted my arm. "But I promise you, you won't get lost this time. Honestly, it's a simple, straightforward route. I'll show it to you on the map. There's only one turning, and," she sailed on, blithely uttering the curse that had doomed travelers for centuries, "you can't miss it."

Her enthusiasm was so infectious that the curse drifted past me, unnoticed, and in all innocence I agreed to spend a day hiking her straightforward trail, providing Bill agreed that he could live without me for five hours (six at the most). I paid no attention whatsoever to the tiny voice screaming in the back of my mind, warning me that a simple walk could be every bit as treacherous as a simple Christmas.

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Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
When her friend persuades her to break her post-Christmas funk with a hike, Lori Shepherd figures on a pleasant five hours walking through the beautiful English countryside, possibly watching lambs gamboling (whatever that is). But when she takes a wrong turn and England is hit by the blizzard of the century, Lori finds herself snowbound in a strange house--deserted except for an ancient caretaker with a shotgun, and two fellow Americans, similarly caught by the unexpected snowfall. Those, along with her stuffed rabbit and the notebook that contains the spirit of Lori's Aunt Dimity.
The odds of three Americans being caught by snow in one small building don't seem high and Lori is suspicious. She gets even more suspicious when Catchpole, the caretaker, tells the tragic story of the late owner of the building--and her hatred for anything American. Following Aunt Dimity's advice, Lori starts a treasure hunt for whatever the building's owner supposedly lost--or had stolen. But Lori isn't the only person hunting and her suspicions quickly turn to Wendy--the American backpacker who just happens to have a crowbar in her pack.
Author Nancy Atherton serves up a fun light mystery. The ghostly Aunt Dimity serves up hints for both Lori and the reader but Lori uses her own common sense and judgment as well. Wendy and Jamie, along with Catchpole are interesting and well developed characters. Lori has an unfortunate habit of being terribly attracted to one of the suspects in each of the Dimity mysteries and this is no exception. Jamie turns out to be exactly the tall handsome and intelligent types that get Lori going--husband and children not-withstanding. In this book, Lori's little weakness (which she womanfully suppresses) adds rather than detracting from the narrative.
Fans of light English-set cozies will definitely want to grab this one.
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Format: Hardcover
Being the mother of four year old terror twins, the holidays wore out Lori Shepherd, who looks forward to the post Yuletide blues with elation. Needing time alone, Lori takes a solo hike in the nearby woods on a warm winter's day. Suddenly out of nowhere the weather changes and an underdressed Lori is caught in a blizzard with no chance of getting home. She finds shelter at Ladythorne Abbey, residence of the recently deceased maniac Lucasta DeClerke.
At the Abbey, Lori is un-welcomed by the eerie caretaker, but also meets stranded American backpackers Jamie Macrae and Wendy Walker. It appears to Lori that Wendy plans to steal a valuable heirloom from their refuge. She also wonders about the agenda of the charming Jamie. However, it is the caretaker that truly frightens her. With spectral Aunt Dimity at her side, Lori tries to uncover the missing links that guiltily connect the threesome with the late Lucasta.
The key to the Aunt Dimity supernatural cozies is the cast, not only the title character and her niece, but in SNOWBOUND, the four other players (including Lucasta). The mystery is a bit soft, but fans of the series will enjoy it anyway as Lori guided by Aunt Dimity finds her sanctuary not feeling safe as she is wary of the caretaker, concerned with a possible theft, and warding off a seducer. This is the usual fun tale in which the audience not only believes that Aunt Dimity exists, but would want their own Aunt Dimity to advice and guide when the snowball picks up momentum into an avalanche.
Harriet Klausner
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Format: Hardcover
Nancy Atherton Is Back With Another GEM!!! In Her Ninth "Aunt Dimity" Novel Nancy Continues To Bring Joy To Her Reader's Lives!!! Lori, Reg & Aunt Dimity Are Snowbound In Ladythorne Abbey, So Do Yourself A Favor And Make A Cup Of Hot Tea, Snuggle Into Your Favorite Chair And Join Them In Solving The Mystery!! Nancy Atherton Is Without A Doubt My Favorite Author And Lori, Reg, Aunt Dimity & Co. Have Become A Part Of My Life...Thank You Nancy!!!!!
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Format: Hardcover
I love the Aunt Dimity books. They are one of the most charming and delightful series that I have read. The humor that is infused into each book is unlike any other writer. Nancy Atherton has a way of merging mystery and fantasy; mayhem and small English village from another time. Stuffed childhood toys with a will of their own seem perfectly part of one's life. Is this Dan Brown? No. But to me it's like reading an old friend.
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