An entertaining sweet romantic mystery... The Juliet Code by Pepper Basham (Review & #Giveaway) #newbooks #booktwitter #historicalromance #mystery #romancebooks #histfic #cleanreads @celebrate_lit

Welcome to my tour stop! Check out my review and the giveaway below...

The Juliet Code
(A Freddie and Grace Mystery #3)
By Pepper Basham
Christian Historical Romance, Mystery
Hardcover, Paperback, Audiobook & eBook, 315 Pages
December 1, 2023 by Barbour Pub Inc 


Newlyweds Lord and Lady Astley Finally Reach Their Honeymoon Destination Only to Encounter a New Mystery in Need of Solving

Frederick and Grace Percy finally make it to Italy to enjoy a delayed honeymoon and explore the beauties of the historic city of Venice. To their surprise, their friend, Detective Jack Miracle, is also in the city, investigating a series of art heists starting at the house of eccentric millionaire, Laraby Covington. Drawn into a world of boat races, mysterious houses, and parties of the rich and unusual in Venice, Frederick and Grace learn of the existence of the Juliet paintings, (Renaissance paintings feature Shakespeare’s tragic heroine) rumored to hold a secret code to an underground vault of similarly treasured artwork assumed lost over the centuries. As Freddie and Grace are pulled deeper into the mystery and their beloved Detective Jack disappears, can they use their wits and work as a team to find the thieves and Jack before it’s too late.

The Juliet Code is a Freddie and Grace Mystery, sequel to The Mistletoe Countess and The Cairo Curse.

(Affiliate links included.)

My Review

THE JULIET CODE is a Christian historical that is one part sweet romance and one part cozy mystery. The plot brings vast amounts of banter mixed, at the beginning, with an almost nonchalant try at solving a mystery that quickly turns serious as the danger intensifies. Set in historical Italy lends a very picturesque story. An entertaining read for Christian romance fans!

This book is by far my favorite of the series. For me, it was entertaining between the banter, innuendo, escapades, sleuthing references, and mounting danger as these characters try to solve the mystery and escape with their lives. The romance is very strong in this series, and holds the same in this third book. It did make me laugh several times even though it is fairly over the top. Of course there is quite a bit of fanciful ridiculousness from Grace who is so excited to do any investigating and is thrilled by reading mysteries and then acting them out in real life. Frederick finds that he too can get caught up in the thrill against his better judgment. Together they counter each other between Grace's fancifulness and Frederick's seriousness. I liked that Frederick's military training, among other skills he's picked up, come out more in this book and he begins to realize that he can teach Grace a few things, which endears him even more to her. They don't escape each dangerous escapade unscathed, however. Grace faces some reoccurring nightmares from the previous book as well as danger in this one. I thought this interchange between the two of them was rather sweet:

"It just feels rather cowardly to wake up in tears over a nightmare. And I do so want to be brave." She searched his serene eyes. . . . "Being afraid doesn't mean you're not brave, darling. . . It's what you do when you are afraid that proves your bravery. And you usually choose brave things to do."

There is also a strong religious element woven throughout this book. I felt it was handled well and didn't come across as pushy. The actual mystery I found to be intriguing. I figured things out quickly but there were still enough twists and turns in how everything was resolved that it kept me engaged. Plus it's an overall fun, lighthearted story.

I also had a few complaints. The romance is very strong. Too much for my tastes. The religious aspect is also very strong. I think I would have been okay with both of those being so prevalent except that there were almost entire and multiple chapters taken with both. This made the story stretch, almost feeling like it stalled in several places. After this happened a handful of times, it made me feel disinterested and wanting to skim to finish the story. I know other readers may not have the same issues. Just something to note if those aspects aren't a good fit for you.

In the end, was it what I wished for? An overall entertaining read with moments of lighthearted friendship and romance mixed with mystery and danger. Recommended to fans of Christian cozy mystery who also enjoy sweet historical romance with the emphasis on the romance and religion.

Content: Innuendo and slightly suggestive closed-door scenes between a married couple. Some violence.
Source: I received a complimentary copy through Celebrate Lit, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Other Books in the Series

(Linked to my review and an Amazon affiliate link.)

About the Author

Pepper Basham is an award-winning author who writes romance peppered with grace and humor with southern Appalachian flair. Both her historical and contemporary novels have garnered recognition in the Grace Awards, Inspys, and ACFW Carol Awards. Her historical romance, The Thorn Healer, was a finalist in the 2018 RT Awards. Her historical romance novels, My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge and The Red Ribbon, and her contemporary novels, the Mitchell’s Crossroads and Pleasant Gap series, showcase her Appalachian heritage, as well as her love for humor and family. She currently resides in the lovely mountains of Asheville, NC where she is the mom of five great kids, a speech-language pathologist to about fifty more, and a lover of chocolate, jazz, hats, and Jesus.

More from Pepper

The Ever After

I’ve always loved fairytales.

Especially the romanticized version (#romancewriter).

The wonderful sense of a two people meeting, overcoming obstacles to be together, and then the happily-ever-after?

Well, those are some of my favorite reasons to read and write fiction. However, I didn’t realize the challenge I took on when I agreed to write a second and third book with the main characters staying the same!

You know what I mean?

In most series, the main characters from book one become secondary characters in the consecutive books so that the secondary characters in book one can become the main characters in book 2 (everybody still following along? 🙂)

One of my favorite book series that do this so well is the Amelia Peabody series. I fell in LOVE with Amelia and Emerson in book one, but just loved watching their continued dynamic as a couple grow with each new book. I felt as if I got to know them so much better in their “ever after” while they engaged in all sorts of adventures together.

So…that’s what I hoped to accomplish with Freddie and Grace.

Where The Mistletoe Countess ends with a happily-ever-after, The Cairo Curse and The Juliet Code take over to show us more of the…ever after – my attempt at showing how two main characters continue to grow beyond the end of book one.

I didn’t realize what a daunting feat it would be. Watching two characters meet, fall in love, and show some growth in book 1 was what I was used to doing. But how was I supposed to continue that character growth in consecutive books?

Well, I had to grow myself as a writer to understand how small changes can make lasting differences especially when writing about a beloved couple.

I think The Juliet Code shows a little of that growth – of our Freddie and Grace have not only matured spiritually and, in Grace’s case, experientially, but also as a couple.

Do you have a series that you love where the main characters stay the same?

Tour Schedule

The Sacred Line, December 28

Bigreadersite, December 28

Texas Book-aholic, December 29

Devoted To Hope, December 29

Mary Hake, December 29

She Lives To Read, December 30

Blogging with Carol, December 31

Back Porch Reads, January 1

Splashes of Joy, January 4

Gina Holder, Author and Blogger, January 5 (Author Interview)

Wishful Endings, January 5

Pause for Tales, January 6

Worthy2Read, January 8

The Lit Lady, January 9

Lily’s Corner, January 10

By The Book, January 10

Tour-Wide Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Pepper is giving away the grand prize package of a $25 Amazon eGift card and a print copy of the book!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Have you read any of the books in this series? Are you a fan of romantic cozy mysteries?

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