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This is an enjoyable and at times humorous historical cozy mystery set in Edwardian England that is the first in the Stella and Lyndy Mystery stories by Clara McKenna pseudonym for Anna Loan Wilsey We are introduced to the feisty American heiress, Stella Kendrick, who travels with her uncouth, crude father to attend a wedding and bringing with them their prize thoroughbred horses as wedding gifts to the upper crust English Searlwyn family the Earl of Atherly and Lady Atherly and their son V This is an enjoyable and at times humorous historical cozy mystery set in Edwardian England that is the first in the Stella and Lyndy Mystery stories by Clara McKenna pseudonym for Anna Loan Wilsey We are introduced to the feisty American heiress, Stella Kendrick, who travels with her uncouth, crude father to attend a wedding and bringing with them their prize thoroughbred horses as wedding gifts to the upper crust English Searlwyn family the Earl of Atherly and Lady Atherly and their son Viscount Lyndhurst of Morrington Hall In short order the author introduces the American English culture clash, the cruel deception of a father who has planned an arranged marriage for business and title, the snobbery of upper class society, the potential pitfalls of horse racing and gambling, an uncertain romance, and of course a murder The characters are well delineated especially that of Stella in her defiance and persistence Lyndy s character was a bitreserved but probably appropriate for his class and the manners of the period well presented There are secrets behind the facades that Stella and Lyndy come to uncover in order to solve the murder There is a satisfying result to the story and the personal relationship between Stella and Lyndy that has been riddled with doubts will be allowed to bloom or not with their engagement and Stella s education into British etiquette manners is to begin rather than an immediate marriage that Stella s father had desired Further adventures ahead as this book is the first in a series The author makes good use of descriptions of the landscape, the small English villages, wildlife and mention of the New Forest region as historical background and also of the history of arranged marriages between American heiresses and English titled families who required financial support especially between 1869 and 1911 In the author s note at the end of the book, McKenna reminds us of this history of marriages between daughters of wealthy Americans and English titled aristocracy for mutual benefit in such families as Colgate, Gould, Jerome, Astor, Vanderbilt and Whitney who exchanged dollars for titles 3.50 starsStella Kendrick, an American heiress, was bamboozled by her father They crossed the pond and she believed it was because he wanted to sell some of his horses Little did she know, she was part of the deal horseflesh marriage Daddy s connection with high society I felt a deep empathy for Stella She was intelligent, kind considering how her father and several others treated her , self sufficient, and down to earth She was given little time after learning of her father s betraya 3.50 starsStella Kendrick, an American heiress, was bamboozled by her father They crossed the pond and she believed it was because he wanted to sell some of his horses Little did she know, she was part of the deal horseflesh marriage Daddy s connection with high society I felt a deep empathy for Stella She was intelligent, kind considering how her father and several others treated her , self sufficient, and down to earth She was given little time after learning of her father s betrayal before the murder of the local vicar was discovered The very last thing she wanted was to be married Initially, I wasn t sure aboutLyndybut in a short time he won me over His family needed an infusion of money to save their estate He was to be sacrificed as much as Stella But after witnessing Mr Kendrick s deplorable behavior and realizing his daughter had little say in the matter, Lyndy went out of his way to become her champion Murder at Morrington Hall was strongly reminiscent of 1905 acceptance of class and their distinctions were part of everyday life The mystery suffered from those matters typical with the first story in a series There were many secondary characters that were introduced and keeping track of who was whom was a little daunting I wished Stella and Lyndy spenttime together and fewer moments were devoted with Daddy, Lady Atherly and Mrs Westwoode The whodunit was complicated enough to keep me guessing until almost the end I have enough confidence to follow their exploits with book 2 when it is published I look forward to readingof this couple s forays with murder and mayhem @Download Book ë Murder at Morrington Hall ¶ Stella Kendrick is an all American heiress who can t be tamed But when the lively aspiring equine trainer tangles with British aristocracy, she meets her match and a murderer Spring,Free spirited like the Thoroughbreds she rides across the Kentucky countryside, Stella takes adventure by the reins when she s asked to attend a mysterious wedding in rural England But once she arrives at the lush Morrington Hall estate, her cold and ambitious father confesses that he won t only give away his best racehorses as gifts he has also arranged to give away his daughter as bride to the Earl of Atherly s financially strapped sonStella refuses to be sold off like a prized pony Yet despite a rough start, there s something intriguing about her groom to be, the roguish Viscount Lyndy Lyndhurst The unlikely pair could actually be on the right track with each other until they find the vicar who was to marry them dead in the libraryWith culture clashes mounting between families, a scandalous murder case hangs over Morrington Hall Now, Stella and Lyndy must go from future spouses to amateur sleuths as they team up to search for the truth and prevent an unbridled criminal from destroying their new life together right out of the gate Murder at Morrington Hall by Clara McKenna is the first in a new historical cozy mystery I found the pace of the plot to be slow at first but after the introductions of the characters and the detailed description of Morrington Hall and the surrounding English countryside, the pace picked up quickly Stella is a lovely American heiress who has a strong and distinctive personality Being raised by an abusive and arrogant father she finds she prefers horses over people for the most part Once Ste Murder at Morrington Hall by Clara McKenna is the first in a new historical cozy mystery I found the pace of the plot to be slow at first but after the introductions of the characters and the detailed description of Morrington Hall and the surrounding English countryside, the pace picked up quickly Stella is a lovely American heiress who has a strong and distinctive personality Being raised by an abusive and arrogant father she finds she prefers horses over people for the most part Once Stella and Lord Lyndhurst decide to work together to resolve the murder, the story flew as the red herrings, plot twists and viable suspects becamethe center of attention It was an enjoyable afternoon read and a good beginning for this new series.I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley All of the above opinions are my own As a lifelong resident of Kentucky but an ardent fan of British mystery and crime books, how could I not be drawn to a new series featuring a young woman from Kentucky who is betrothed to a young English lord Add to that Stella Kendrick is an independent thinking horsewoman whose father is famous for his race horses and horse farm, and Murder at Morrington Hall is an irresistible read for me The time period is a favorite of mine, too, he early 1900s, 1905 to be exact, when so much change is oc As a lifelong resident of Kentucky but an ardent fan of British mystery and crime books, how could I not be drawn to a new series featuring a young woman from Kentucky who is betrothed to a young English lord Add to that Stella Kendrick is an independent thinking horsewoman whose father is famous for his race horses and horse farm, and Murder at Morrington Hall is an irresistible read for me The time period is a favorite of mine, too, he early 1900s, 1905 to be exact, when so much change is occuring in the world, and inventions are on the rise to bring the 20th century into a wonder of convenience never before seen The Daimler car Stella, her father and her aunt arrive in at the English estate of Morrington Hall is the first taste that the proper English family of Lord and Lady Atherly have of the Americans and their faster, less formal approach to life.Stella Kendrick is excited that her father has included her in his trip to England where he is taking his prize thorougbred and a couple of other horses to an English estate where their stable is in dire need of new blood Her father even included Stella s horse Tully that she rides so that she wouldn t miss him while in England Or, this is the scenario Stella believes up until it becomes painfully obvious upon arrival and upon meeting Viscount Lyndy Lyndhurst, the son of Lord and Lady Atherly, that the real reason for the horses accompanying them is a marriage deal between the set of parents With Stella s mother being deceased, it is Stella s unfeeling father who decides that his daughter will help to raise his social standing by marrying the young Lord Lyndhurst Furious with her father and tripping all over herself from being out of step with the English way of doing things, Stella is miserable So, she does what she has always done in her loneliness growing up with a disinterested father, she goes to the stable for comfort from her horse where she runs into Lyndy, who also uses horses as an escape from tedious responsibilities While they do bond over their love of riding, and Lyndy is quite the charming, considerate man, Stella is far from convinced that marrying him is her fate Of course, she soon has an encounter with her father who ensures her that she will do as he says Mr Kendrick is not a nice man, and readers will be impressed by Stella s strength in the face of his brutality.As is the English custom, tea must be observed that first afternoon, and the vicar who is to marry the couple will appear at tea to discuss matters When the vicar doesn t show up at the appointed time, Lyndy offers to show Stella around the house while they look for him, as the vicar was to have been waiting at the house The two find the vicar in the library, but he won t be performing anybody s wedding every again He is dead and it is murder Yes, my anglophile self, lover of British mystery, is quite happy with the dead in the manor s library and found at tea time situation But, this is no simple Professor Plum in the library with the fire poker Well, it was the fire poker, but finding the murderer is going to be a journey any mystery reader will savor Stella and Lyndy learn to trust each other quickly as they are thrown into uncovering facts and evidence that will lead to the killer While Stella s American style of conducting herself may clash with the English approach, it is helpful to her and Lyndy s efforts to accomplish that goal, and Lyndy gets the chance to see Stella as she really is, something he is intrigued by and most receptive to.I can say without a doubt in my mind that Clara McKenna has given readers the first book in what will be a winning series The consistency of its engaging writing from page to page is what makes it a book that s unputdownable It is simply a well written, captivating story The characters have all been given an excellent start in their development Stella and Lyndy have already shown a maturing of minds and an ability to evolve into a future that they control Their witty dialogue demonstrates the intelligence and relatability of the two While Stella s father and Lyndy s parents could be said to be stereotypical of the boorish American and the uptight British, it is the place where they must naturally start, with the future determining whether they can overcome their prejudicial temperaments The minor characters that include Lyndy s sister Alice, the staff, and the police have also presented a great potential for growth and inclusion in the continuing story line And, the setting should get a nod, too, the New Forest region with its wild New Forest ponies and countryside It speaks of much mystery to unfold, which every great mystery series should have I received a copy of Murder at Morrington Hall from the author, and my review is my absolute true assessment of how much I enjoyed it and how much I think other readers will love it, too Clara McKenna s debut novel, Murder at Morrington Hall, is the first in a promising new mystery series Stella Kendrick is an American heiress from Kentucky, who is under the impression that she is accompanying her father for business to deliver some of their racehorses to be presented as a wedding gift She is horrified to discover after her arrival, that she is part of the buisness deal as well Her father has arranged a marriage for her to a member of the British arisotcracy and the racehorse Clara McKenna s debut novel, Murder at Morrington Hall, is the first in a promising new mystery series Stella Kendrick is an American heiress from Kentucky, who is under the impression that she is accompanying her father for business to deliver some of their racehorses to be presented as a wedding gift She is horrified to discover after her arrival, that she is part of the buisness deal as well Her father has arranged a marriage for her to a member of the British arisotcracy and the racehorses are being offered to sweeten the deal.Stella discovers the deception the very day of her arrival and is determined that she will not be managed by her father, won t be married off to this stranger Her intended groom is the Viscount Lyndhurst, or Lyndy, only son and heir to the Earl of Atherly The estate is failing and so saving it rests on thier ability to marry their son to a young woman from a wealthy family, while thowing in a few race horses for good measure.The book starts of being about this marriage arrangement and Stella and Lyndy s feelings about the arrangement, but it soon takes a turn towards mystery as the pair stumble across a dead body in the library The murder is only the start of strange things happening around the estate Stella and Lyndy learn to work together as they seek to find the responsible party.A lovely little cozy mystery and a quick read, it s engaging and entertaining There are red herrings and plot twists too that keep the story going and the mystery fresh, well worth the read There were several subplots, which would normally weigh down a mystery and detract from the story, but the author balanced them all so perfectly I m very excited about this author and will be looking forward to reading the next in the series to see how things develop between Stella and Lyndy and to jump into a new mystery I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a new author and is a fan of the cozy or historical mystery genresI received a copy of this book from Kensington Books via NetGalley This is my honest review. Not that bad of a book And I wasn t really sure when it came to the reveal though I had a bit of an idea, but not the why so that was extra fun I think this could be a fun series I like Stella very much and Lyndy COULD be a good character Looking forward to the second book. May 1905 Viscount Lyndhurst is awaiting the arrival of his new American bride with some trepidation Due to his father s favorite hobby, collecting horse fossils, the estate needs an infusion of cash and who better to provide it than the daughter of an American horse breeder It s a nice bonus that Mr Kendrick has decided to throw in a trio of racehorses as well Unfortunately the bride, Stella Kendrick of Lexington, Kentucky and New York has no idea what is in store for her future Stella is May 1905 Viscount Lyndhurst is awaiting the arrival of his new American bride with some trepidation Due to his father s favorite hobby, collecting horse fossils, the estate needs an infusion of cash and who better to provide it than the daughter of an American horse breeder It s a nice bonus that Mr Kendrick has decided to throw in a trio of racehorses as well Unfortunately the bride, Stella Kendrick of Lexington, Kentucky and New York has no idea what is in store for her future Stella is delighted Daddy wants her to accompany him to England when he makes a gift of horses to the Earl of Atherly She is loathe to part with Tully, her favorite horse, when she returns home Daddy has other ideas Stella and Tully are to stay permanently in England when Stella marries the Viscount The sooner the marriage takes place, the better, according to Mr Kendrick Lady Atherly is appalled Then Stella and Lyndy discover the bloodied, lifeless body of the vicar on the library floor Inspector Brown can hardly get straight answers out of any of the household upstairs or down The local publican hasn t seen anyone suspicious, only a grockle , someone from outside the New Forest region When one of the horses goes missing, Inspector Brown believes the crimes may be connected He needs people to tell him the truth and he also needs Stella and Lyndy to discover the darkest secrets of the houseguests and servants Meanwhile, Stella must make up her mind whether to risk defying her father or marry Lyndy Lyndy enjoys staring at Stella s graceful neck and luscious curves but Stella isthan her body, she s a gentle, kind, unconventional woman he wouldn t mind spending the rest of his life with Now, how can he convince Stella to stay This story is clearly inspired by Downton Abbey and is likely the author s first novel or first period novel There are so many elements similar to the show The writing is awkward in spots There are too many times Stella s physical attributes were mentioned The story isromance novelish than I expected I also had a problem with the head jumping The point of view switches between characters too many times I would have preferred it to be limited to Stella and Lyndy It s difficult to tell who is speaking because the author doesn t employ use of dialect, if there is one in Hampshire Only the word grockle appears to show us the publican is thinking or speaking Both upstairs and downstairs characters utter the phrase Bloody Hellfrequently than I would like However, the writing is also gorgeous in spots I got an excellent picture of the New Forest region based on the beautiful descriptions I also learned a lot about race horsing in Lexington, Kentucky, something that does not interest me in the slightest The mystery is not all that compelling The reader is clued in early on who did it but the identity of that person has to be discovered There are a couple of red herrings and plot twists but I was not ultimately surprised by the identity of the killer I was surprised at the motive and how cold the killer was Stella is an appealing character She is unconventional but not unconventional on purpose She is a warm hearted, kind and genuine lady Stella is kind to those considered lesser beings like servants and animals and wants to be loved for herself This makes Stella the complete opposite of English heiresses and of course the Countess and her friends I like how Stella makes mistakes and feels embarrassed by them but doesn t feel compelled to change who she is It s a miracle she is as lovely as she is with a Daddy like hers Daddy Kendrick is an awful human being He s proud of being a self made man but not at all humble about it At first he seems like the stereotype of the vulgar nouveau riche American but we soon learn he s worse than that He caresabout his horses than his daughter To him, his daughter is a commodity to be traded away for something he wants He isn t afraid to bribe, threaten, hurt, badger people or barge into situations where he wants to be I would completely expect him to be the murderer but he hadn t arrived yet when the murder occurred Aunt Rachel is a stereotypical American with her Wild West style casual speech She sounds like a hoot and a fun person but is too elderly to be in the story much.I have mixed feelings about Lyndy He s kind but he s also a product of his upbringing He doesn t push boundaries too far or challenge his mother He s physically attracted to Stella but he quickly comes to see her good qualities I believe they can have a successful marriage but they are not quite in love yet The Earl is a nice man but weak His hobby is a little weird but I like this hobby better than the bird killing hobby he had before If he sells his fossils he could actually make money and maybe his wife wouldn t be so horrid to him I understand they have this patrimony and blah blah but the lack of industry these gentlemen employ bothers me as much as it bothered many of the fathers who married off their daughters to English Lords The other upstairs characters are not at all compelling or likable except Lyndy s sister Lady Alice Alice has potential to become a modern woman I think I like her The Countess is pretty typical for her time and situation but she doesn t do anything to help Stella feel comfortable or guide her in her new role She apparently sees her children as a duty and probably her marriage as well, which is sad, but not uncommon for the period She is nothing compared to her friend Mrs Westwoode She is the mean girl of the bunch I was under the impression ladies didn t say those things to other people s faces, they just gave disapproving looks It s one thing to correct someone s behavior when they don t know the etiquette but Mrs W goes full on mean girl and doesn t miss an opportunity to insult Stella Her daughter, Elizabeth, is quiet and overawed by her mother s forceful personality Mr Westwoode is always disappearing and hardly in the story I don t blame him for trying to escape his wife Hugh, Lyndy s oldest friend and Elizabeth Westwoode s fianc , is a complicated character He s the most nuanced of them all A veteran of the South African war he suffered from battle fatigue although he did not show outward signs He probably is still suffering but seems to have adjusted better than many others did He also has baggage from being the younger son of a Duke He was raised with certain beliefs and values, as was Lyndy, but Lyndy is ainnocent and honest person Downstairs we have a cast of unmemorable characters Finn s story is interesting Fulton the butler is always correct and knows right when to interrupt to save his mistress from an awkward situation The stable staff areimportant to the plot Mr Gates, the stable manager and head coachman is a good and fair man Herbert, the groom, is a lazy good for nothing who should have been fired in the beginning of the story In between the classes we have Inspector Brown He s tough and a bit cold but not unfair He evaluates evidence rather than jumping to conclusions His job is difficult because the upstairs people don t respect him and the servants fear being made into scapegoats Also, the vicar falls somewhere in the in between category He seems to be a greedy glutton and may have scandalous secrets in his past No one seems to have known him well and only his housekeeper mourns his loss It s very sad Fans of Downton Abbey will love this book It is also endorsed by Victoria Thompson much darker writer than this story , Nancy Herriman, Alyssa Maxwell whose books are similar but better written , Ashley Weaver a little different style , and Radha Vatsal different story I would also suggest Dianne Freeman for another similar author Review coming soon. I love historical mysteries and historical romance the combination of the two was what immediately drew my attention to Murder at Morrington Hall Unfortunately, I thought the mystery and romance were both rather underwhelming If one had grabbed my attention, I am sure that I would have enjoyed thisI loved Stella as a character and her drive to bethan her station and gender will allow her to be Sadly, her romantic foil and sleuthing partner, Lyndy, did not measure up to Stella s I love historical mysteries and historical romance the combination of the two was what immediately drew my attention to Murder at Morrington Hall Unfortunately, I thought the mystery and romance were both rather underwhelming If one had grabbed my attention, I am sure that I would have enjoyed thisI loved Stella as a character and her drive to bethan her station and gender will allow her to be Sadly, her romantic foil and sleuthing partner, Lyndy, did not measure up to Stella s dynamic personality Lyndy was by far the best male character in the book, but considering the others i.e Stella s dad , the bar was not high Perhaps the series will build on these characters, but for the first installment, I felt that the characters and the mystery lacked substance Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley