Meddlin’ Madeline is a new series from one of my favorite authors, Chautona Havig. I have had the privilege of being one of her advance readers for Sweet on You, the first book in the series, which is being launched TODAY!
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I am continually amazed at Chautona Havig’s versatility as an author. Her books are always unapologetically from a Christian worldview, and she has written a number of clean “romances,” Christmas novels, fantasy books, twists on fairy tales and old cowboy ballads, as well as murder mysteries and sort-of-spy/bodyguard novels. A lot of her books are hard to classify in any genre because of their uniqueness, as you can see from my attempt to list some of them above! There are so many things I love about her as an author, but here are just a few:
- She gets as attached to her characters as I do! You can be pretty sure that if there’s a character you particularly enjoy in one book, you will see them again in another of her books!
- She writes about life after the couple gets together! Even though I’ve said above that she writes romances, her books are really about people and life, not romance. Some of her characters happen to fall in love and get married during the course of the book but it’s never really the focus of the book and the story always goes on because she’s writing about their life, not about how they fell in love. I absolutely love this about her writing! It’s so fun to see characters I’ve invested in emotionally grow and work through marriage and have kids and continue to invest in the lives of their communities!
- Her characters grapple with real-life issues. Mrs. Havig is not afraid to tackle real-life! I love that her characters face real-life stuff and strive to find out from God’s Word how they should live. Some of the issues she has dealt with that come to mind immediately (linked to the books I’m thinking of) are stewardship of God’s creation, responsibilities to extended family, dealing with temptation, really listening to people, and the lines between personal preferences, personal freedom, and legalism.
- She writes quickly and she writes a lot! I have no idea how Mrs. Havig puts out so many books at the quality she does, but I sure am thankful that she does because I love reading them!
- She writes serial novels as well as regular ones. Mrs. Havig is in the midst of her third serial, The Vintage Wren, after finishing what are now two of my most beloved series, Past Forward and Hearthland, both of which were first released as serials. They are right up there with Jan Karon’s Mitford series for me when it comes to fictional people and communities that I feel totally invested in.
- She goes out of her way to make books affordable for people. Seriously, Mrs. Havig is ALWAYS giving away one or more of her books for free, and the rest of them are ridiculously inexpensive and available for Kindle Unlimited. If you like free and on-sale books, you definitely need to sign up for her newsletter because something is on sale every week! And, just to prove this point, she has offered to give away an e-copy of this newest book, Sweet on You, here at Mommynificent next week, so be sure to come back next Thursday for that!
- She is approachable, authentic, and full of wisdom. Back when I fell in love with Past Forward, I began following Mrs. Havig’s author page on Facebook. She is so responsive to questions and comments and is full of wisdom where I need it on topics like parenting and homeschooling! I have learned so much from her books, and whenever something I’ve learned there raises further questions, she has always been more than happy to listen, clarify, and help in any way she can.
Okay, that’s probably enough about how much I love this author, right? I’m sure you’d actually like to hear about her newest book, Meddlin’ Madeline: Sweet on You. Remember when I said that I was amazed by her versatility and then I tried to list the kind of books she’s written? Well, this one doesn’t fit in ANY of those categories. At all. This is a period-novel, set in 1901 Rockland, the fictional midwestern town in the U.S. that many of Mrs. Havig’s modern-day books take place in. The tone and style of this book are totally 1901. I couldn’t believe that this was the same author who wrote so many of my favorite books as this one reads so much differently. And the fact that I really enjoy both styles really says something about Mrs. Havig’s skills!
About the Book
Author: Chautona Havig
Series: Meddlin’ Madeline Mysteries, Book 1 (of a projected 6)
Publication Date: April 24, 2016
Publisher: Wynneword House
Print Length: 310 pages
Summary from the author: As the mayor’s daughter, Madeline Brown enjoys a rich social life that many might envy. But a sharp mind and a growing talent for observation leaves Madeline torn between avoiding social censure and exploring the world around her.
With an aunt who considers higher education and employment equally unsuitable for the mayor’s daughter, there is little to amuse her save endless committee meetings, evening socials, and her favorite pastime: curling up with an exciting detective novel. The temperance and suffrage movements hold little interest for a young woman who has just endured the rigors of her father’s mayoral campaign.
So when a young man shows interest in her friend, Madeline’s interest piques–until his actions hint that he might not be the upstanding gentleman everyone presumes him to be. Unable to ignore her concerns, Madeline finds herself in the middle of an investigation into his character and discovers a side of Rockland she’s never encountered.
Will her new hobby reduce the tedium of her life, or will her “meddling” create tension for herself and her father? Will she be forced to squelch this budding skill of hers or has Madeline finally found her calling in life.
Mommynificent’s Review of Meddlin’ Madeline
I really wasn’t sure what to expect from this book as I had heard numerous times that it was vastly different than Mrs. Havig’s other books. That made me nervous because I happen to like her other books! But Meddlin’ Madeline: Sweet on You was no disappointment. It was definitely different, but it read like a beloved classic, with a tone and style that felt so familiar but that I could never really attach a name to, although many famous authors of days gone by did come to mind as I was reading.
The pacing is slower than modern books with its conversations limited by the rules of proper etiquette, but it is worth it to get to know the characters and to enjoy the experience of being immersed in this time period. I really enjoyed the slow unraveling of the mystery, but I enjoyed even more Madeline’s gradual realizations regarding who she is, what she values, what she is good at, and who she is meant to be. I also appreciated her growing awareness of her friends and their true characters and passions. This was actually as much a coming-of-age story as it was a mystery, and I truly loved both aspects of this book.
I feel this is a book I will read again and again, and I can gladly recommend it to others who enjoy this type of story. Due to some of Madeline’s forays into the seedier part of town and her discoveries there, particularly with regards to prostitution, I think this book would be best suited for readers over age 16.
I received this book from the author for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I highly recommend this book and absolutely cannot wait for the next book in the series!
My Favorite Quotes from Meddlin’ Madeline
Mrs. Havig is so good at making pinnable images of quotes from her books that I won’t even try to make any for this post. (Plus I have way too many I want to share!) If you want to see the ones she’s made for this book so far, check out the Meddlin’ Madeline Mysteries board on Pinterest. This book is full of gems that are very relevant for our times! Here are a few of my favorites that I don’t think she’s made images for yet (hint, hint!):
“When one asks help from Providence, one should be prepared for the consequences.”
“One must take a person’s entire character into account when considering what seems an out of character action, don’t you think?”
“Why must women be relegated to radical opinions or trapped by conventional ones? Why can there be no moderation?”
“Of course, Madeline wouldn’t say something so disrespectful, but the thoughts did tend to form, despite her best intentions.”
“If you try to hint that I’ve captured your heart inside two weeks, I do believe I’ll inflict serious harm on you. How annoying.”
“This is a committee project, so it will take three times longer to come to a decision as it should.”
[Regarding a significant other] “Do him the courtesy of showing him that you care for him at least as often as you demonstrate your lack of confidence in him. Did it never occur to you that he’s merely living up to your expectations?”
“There is nothing dishonest in taking charity if you need it. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. You take it, you get yourself out of that situation, and you work hard to be ready to offer it to someone else when the time comes. That’s what the Lord would have us do.”
“How swiftly the heart hardens when one finds justification for one’s actions.”
“I needed the reminder that all duty is worthwhile — not just the more exciting ones.”
“The room became enveloped in one of those delightful silences that turn a house into a home.”
Meddlin’ Madeline: Sweet on You by Chautona Havig is an absolute treat! If you’d like to read it, there is an extra reason to hop on over to Amazon now and purchase a copy. If you purchase it before May 1, 2016, and forward your Amazon receipt (or a screenshot from Amazon that says, “You purchased this” at the top of the page) to Mrs. Havig’s email, she’ll send you a free bonus short story about one of the (adorable) minor characters from this first Meddlin’ Madeline book. I personally can’t wait to read about Essie!