Books To Take You Away From It All

Tag Archives: Sharyn McCrumb

When someone buys the old Honeycutt house, Nora Bonesteel is glad to see some life brought back to the old mansion, even if it is by summer people. But when they decide to stay through Christmas, they find more than old memories in the walls.

On Christmas Eve, Sheriff Spencer Arrowwood and Deputy Joe LeDonne find themselves on an unwelcome call to arrest an elderly man for a minor offense. As they attempt to do their duty, while doing the right thing for a neighbor, it begins to look like they may all spend Christmas away from home.

In a story of spirits, memories, and angels unaware, Sharyn McCrumb revisits her most loved characters who know there is more to this world than the eye can see, especially at

Bubby:  Sissy, you do realize its June, right?  And Christmas is more than six months away?  And it is 85 degrees outside?

Sissy:  Christmas is in my soul year round, dearest one.  And when I saw that Sharyn McCrumb had a new Nora Bonesteel novella out, my heart sang Christmas carols of joy!!

Bubby:  Okay…so what about the fact that this title won’t be published until October?  I know it is full of McCrumb’s signature Appalachian folksy flavored warmth and magic and fabulous storytelling, but aren’t we getting ahead of ourselves?

Sissy:  First of all, sister mine, the summer will fly by as per usual, the leaves will fall and the pumpkins ripen, and people will be looking for an alternative to the standard, insipid holiday fare.  They will say “oh yes, I remember that the perfect Christmas novella by Sharyn McCrumb is out.  I must hie to Amazon and purchase it!”  Secondly, if people forget this post, when they see the novella advertised at various outlets they will say “oh yes, I remember that Bubby and Sissy highly recommended this book because it is an entertaining, heartwarming tale full of nostalgia and Christmas magic.  Or, best of all, they will go to or somewhere else and pre-order it, and when October comes they will receive an unexpected bit of joy in the mail or on their device.

Bubby:  Alright, I see that you won’t let this one wait.  As Sissy has pointed out to all you readers, this is the perfect vehicle for a getaway on a crisp Fall afternoon.  4 bubbles

Sissy:  I love Sharyn McCrumb’s tales of Appalachia, and nothing is more wonderful than revisiting beloved character Nora Bonesteel.  4.5 bubbles from me.

Click HERE to pre-order Nora Bonesteel’s Christmas Past on

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This  series features budding forensic anthropologist Elizabeth MacPherson. She makes her debut in 1984’s Sick of Shadows, where she investigates a suspicious death at the wedding of her cousin Eileen. Throughout the series, Elizabeth continues to solve mysteries both foreign and domestic, as well as fall in love. We also get to meet Elizabeth’s lawyer brother, Bill and his radically feminist partner A.P. Hill. There are nine books in the series, ending with 2000’s PMS Outlaws.

Sissy: Sharyn McCrumb is one of my favorite authors. She has written other series that I also like but today we’ll focus on the very sharp-witted, interesting mystery series, led by the character of one Elizabeth MacPherson. When the author stopped writing this series to go onto other pursuits,  I wanted to get in the car and drive to the South and beg her in person to continue writing. It was like having my favorite TV series cancelled. I went into mourning.

Bubby: It’s interesting to read these books back-to-back, which I have done, but not in a while. At the beginning of the series, Elizabeth is shy, has a fairly useless degree and no job prospects. The whole tone of the first few books is very light and fluffy but by the end of the series, McCrumb has really come into her own. She has developed a really nice sharp, dry sense of humor, which makes the last two books, If I Had Killed Him When I Met Him and PMS Outlaws, my very favorites. I also in love with the character A.P. Hill, a little tiny petite woman who thinks she’s Napoleon and wants to be appreciated for her brains, not her boobs. She takes feminism to a whole new level.

Sissy: I know how it is to be shorter than your average sixth grader and not be taken seriously.

Bubby: I don’t. Sorry.

Sissy: How can you feel empowered when you go up to the counter in some retail establishment and it hits you about nose level? I get A.P. Hill. I think I shall start calling myself S. I. Sy.

Bubby: S.I. Sy? Sounds like a new type of synthetic fabric! Really, at your age you should have achieved some sort of closure about your lack of stature. I shall have to get you a shirt that I saw someone wearing the other day. It said, “I’m not short, I’m fun-size!”

Sissy: I have one. I also have a shirt that has a picture of a grinning Cheshire Cat that says “We are all mad here.”

Bubby: I fail to see how that is relevant, except as an expression of your ongoing mental state . . .

Sissy: Speaking of which, the characters in these books are just crazy enough to be highly entertaining.

Bubby: I personally find Elizabeth’s obsession with Scottish culture to be a good example of the above, as demonstrated in Highland Laddie Gone. And then she takes her United Kingdom mania one step further in The Windsor Knot where she *gasp* gets a chance to attend a tea party with Her Royal Majesty.

Sissy: In the last few books the author shows a great understanding of the angst of middle-aged womanhood, which Bubby is in denial about.

Bubby: Not so! No denial here! As I am but a wee 29, middle age is far far far in my distant future, not just a memory as with Sissy.

Sissy: You’re delusional. And it’s just that sort of language usage that makes it impossible for me to have closure. Your words imply that there is something WRONG with being short, WRONG with being of a certain age. These things are actually positive! Do I have to start a rant? Do I have to stand on my soapbox? Do I need to start a grass-roots movement?

Bubby: I believe that the rant is already in progress.

Sissy: As scintillating as my rants are, I would like to get back on topic.

Bubby: Hallelujah!

Sissy: I feel that I am giving our readers to this series we are giving them an early holiday gift. Nine good books. Happy Day! I give this series 4 1/2 bubbles.

Bubby: I agree. The series is well worth a read. My favorite line in all the books is when one of Bill’s clients informed him (while in jail for murdering her husband) “If I’d killed him when I met him, I’d be out by now”, hence the title of my favorite in the series. I give these books as a whole 4 bubbles. Happy Holidays!

Click HERE to buy Sick of Shadows by Sharyn McCrumb at

Click HERE to buy If I’d Killed Him When I Met Him by Sharyn McCrumb at

Click HERE to buy If I’d Killed Him When I Met Him by Sharyn McCrumb at

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