Flora Reviews…Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth (Amanda Cadabra #1) by Holly Bell
Read: 6th – 9th September 2018
My Goodreads Rating: 5 Stars
So what’s this book about?
Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth is a cozy mystery novel (approximately 246 pages) within the paranormal genre. It’s the first book written by début author, Holly Bell, in her new Amanda Cadabra series. The story is set in the fictional English village of Sunken Madley.
I write about how the story was told in my reviews rather than the plot itself. Consequently they don’t contain spoilers or reveal plot twists. Here’s what the official blurb has to say about the story.
Asthmatic furniture restorer and covert witch Amanda Cadabra is a survivor. After all, her family’s bus went over a Cornish cliff. Now the presentable but irritating Inspector Trelawney is dogging her footsteps as he investigates the unexplained deaths. But that’s the least of her problems. Amanda has just got a furniture restoration job at the old English Manor of Sunken Madley with its murky past.
Armed only with a wand and Tempest, her grumpy reincarnated cat, she’s going in. A body, ghosts, hidden tunnels, chills and unexplained lights; can Amanda solve the mystery in time and save the village from the scandal of murder?
I was given a digital version (ARC) for free from the author (Holly Bell) in exchange for an honest review.
The official publication date was 9th September 2018.
Thanks for the advance copy.
So, what did I like about it?
Holly Bell is a début author. However I found her writing style easy to read and with the quality of a seasoned wordsmith. The plot-line was engaging, intelligent prose which was sprinkled with gentle humour about a village full of captivating characters that I also found completely believable.
I really liked our main characters – our resilient heroine Amanda Cadabra (she’s definitely got gumption), our intelligent hero Detective Thomas Trelawney, Amanda’s grandparents the formidable Senara Cadabra and the affable Perren Cadabra and not forgetting Amanda’s familiar, Tempest the cat.
I enjoyed getting to know the fictional village of Sunken Madley; its history, layout and its inhabitants. The villagers felt very real for me too because Ms Bell wrote them with many of the foibles that I see in the people around me. I must just say that I really liked Amanda’s best friend, Claire and look forward to seeing more of her (I suspect she has a pivotal role to play in the next book).
This story kept me guessing. There are a few mysteries for our heroine, Amanda, to solve within these pages. However fear not dear reader, no frustrating cliffhangers here. (Woohoo!) There are enough twists and turns during the tale to satisfy my Sherlock-Holmes-tendencies. I loved that it’s not all easy sailing for Amanda just because she’s a witch; there’s danger, tension and some scary moments that even had me looking over my shoulder.
I loved the fact that Amanda Cadabra and The Hidey-Hole Truth had me experiencing lots of emotions. I was on the edge of my seat holding my breath as well as smiling and chuckling out loud.
So, ummm, was there anything I disliked about it?
I just wanted to say that, this is the first book in a new series. So there are questions left to answer about Amanda’s family and what her future may hold. However, in my opinion this is a good thing. Leaving enough background story arcs running makes me want to read the next book and beyond.
I also loved the way Ms Bell took her time building this world. Carefully setting the magical scene and introducing the concept of witchy and “Normal” people. The Sunken Madley mystery doesn’t really get going until half-way through the book.
So, basically what I’m saying is…
I loved this book and couldn’t put it down. It’s got everything that I look for in a 5 star read. Great scenes that get the adrenaline pumping and nail biting tension. An intelligent mystery or two to get the little grey cells whirling plus well written humour. There may even be a bit of romance on the horizon for our heroine. 😉
I’d recommend The Hidey-Hole Truth to anyone who enjoys a good ‘cozy mystery’. And readers who like a bit of paranormal sprinkled into the mix. I’m looking forward to finding out what adventures Amanda gets caught up in next.
So, has my review of AMANDA CADABRA AND THE HIDEY-HOLE TRUTH encouraged you to find out more? Just click on any of the links below to check out the book yourself. Keep reading to find out more about the author.
Cat adorer and chocolate lover, Holly Bell is a photographer and video maker when not writing. Holly lives in the UK and is a mixture of English, Scottish, Cornish and Welsh, among other ingredients.
Her favourite animal is called Bobby. He is a black cat. Purely coincidental. Of course.
Holly devoured all of the Agatha Christie books long before she knew that Miss Marple was the godmother of the Cosy Mystery. Her devotion to JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings meant that her first literary creation in this area would have to be a cosy paranormal.
Having derived immense delight from the adventure of writing her first book in the Amanda Cadabra Cozy Paranormal Mysteries in 2018. Holly admits that there’s no turning back. Further books are in the pipeline.
Holly loves to hear from readers and she always responds in person.
Connect with Holly