Mixed Memories

Author: Cleo Coyle

Clare Cosi wakes up in the park, still feeling raw form her recent divorce, but looking forward to getting back to her young daughter in her cozy New Jersey home. Imagine her surprise, then, when she stops by her old workplace, the Village Blend, to be told that her divorce is in the long-ago past, she is good friends and business partners with her ex, and her daughter is grown. What happened to Clare, and how did she suddenly lose all those years?

As the threads begin to come together, a celebrity doctor takes Clare under his wings, promising to treat her memory loss. But she becomes a virtual prisoner, unable to see her friends (those she remembers and those she does not), and unable to re-discover her fiancé, the dashing detective Mike Quinn. As Clare questions her decision to come under the celebrity doctor’s care, her friends at the Blend come up with a scheme to steal her back and awaken her dead memories. You see, it seems that Clare was last seen in the company of a now missing woman. She was the witness to a crime she cannot remember. Only she holds the key to the crime, but as the police hone in on the hospital escapee Clare, they begin to suspect that she is anything but the victim.

When I first started Brewed Awakening, I was downright displeased with the old amnesia theme. It always seems too easy, too unnatural. And Clare has forgotten a lot – from her divorce to her fiancé to her considerable sleuthing experience. I was prepared to be mad. This one was obviously phoned in . . . except, as the story unrolled, I had to admit that, as always, it was just plain good. Not entirely believable, although neither is a coffee house owning amateur sleuth for that matter, but not exactly unbelievable either. Soon, I was going with the flow, and I liked it.

This is a new approach. The mystery is couched inside a mystery, the sleuthing obviously different this time and the stakes with Clare and her forever love-triangle between repentant ex and dashing detective suddenly flaring back to a brilliant life. Will Clare remember? What exactly happened to her affluent, now disappeared friend? What caused Clare to lose her memory, and is her well-meaning doctor somehow tied into the whole mess? There is a lot going on here, and it’s an emotional ride, hitting all the sweet notes of what makes the series best, from its cleverness and attention to detail to its delectable menu and caffeine induced happiness.

Brewed Awakening isn’t my favorite in the series, but it is certainly up there with some of the husband/wife duo’s bests. The conclusion ties it all together with answers, danger, romance, and recipes that are literally to die for. I’ve already per-ordered the next book in the series and honestly, I don’t know how I am going to wait until February.

– Frances Carden

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Frances Carden
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