#allthebookreviews – The Undertaker’s Daughter by Sara Blaedel

Happy belated release!

Thanks to Grand Central Pub for the advanced copies in exchange for our honest reviews.

THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER – Sara Blaedel (out now!)

Here’s what the #allthebookreviews duo thought 🙂

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Chandra’s Thoughts: 3/5 stars

Ilka leaves her home country of Denmark and heads to Wisconsin, where the father she never really knew bequeathed her his funeral home. She’s dumbfounded and overwhelmed as all this new responsibility is laid upon her. While trying to make her way through learning more about her father, trying to run a business she stupidly takes control over by not reading paperwork she signs arbitrarily and dealing with dead bodies left and right, she could very well lose her sanity in the process.

I’ve heard SO much about Sara Blaedel and her ability to draw readers into her dark thrillers so I was beyond excited to receive a copy of the first in her new series. She writes in a way that makes it easy for the reader to fly through the pages. I think for this particular book I was expecting something darker and more thrillery. What I got, however, was a small town mystery that seemed more a secondary story line to Ilka’s character study and background. Blaedel takes us on Ilka’s journey with a kind of Murphy’s law humorous appeal which was the highlight for me. Although I never thought I’d be interested in the funeral business, it was quite interesting to read about the difference between US and Danish funerals and the processes laid within.

Although the book didn’t put the murder mystery as the front runner of the book and there was a lack of suspense, it was such an easy read that I flew through the pages. Once I reconciled the fact that this was more about Ilka and setting up for the rest of the books in the series, I found myself enjoying her journey. Now that the groundwork has been laid, I look forward to seeing how Ilka transverses her way through future “cases” and the legacy she has been bestowed. The somewhat cliffhanger of an ending…. to be continued indeed.

My Thoughts: 4/5 stars

This was my introduction to Sara Blaedel and I was no disappointed! THE UNDERTAKER’S DAUGHTER is the start of a new series, and from what I’ve heard is a little slower paced than her other books. So if you’re a Blaedel fan, then keep that in mind going into this one!

Ilka Nicholas Jensen is a widowed school portrait photographer in her forties. She lives a quiet life in Copenhagen, but everything gets disrupted when she finds out her father passed away and left her his funeral home – in Racine, Wisconsin. She has not heard from her father since he unexpectedly left the family over three decades ago, but now she is determined to hold onto this last gesture from him. She decides to fly to Wisconsin to see the funeral home he left her.

Upon arriving to Wisconsin she wants to go through his belongings and the business before turning it over for a quick sale. However, while there, she stumbles upon an unsolved murder case and it appears that the killer is still alive. Has Ilka put herself in a situation that is over her head?

This mystery is definitely more focused on the characters with a slow build to them. I can see people going into this expecting a fast paced thriller being disappointed. I really liked Ilka, she was a very complex character and I found it compelling that she decided to leave instantly for a different country to learn more about her estranged father. I can’t wait to see where Blaedel takes her in future books. I loved that it was set in Wisconsin – being in Minnesota it was fun seeing a somewhat familiar surrounding.

Overall, this was a very character driven and lighter suspense novel that I found incredibly engrossing. I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to finally read a book by Sara Blaedel, but it definitely won’t be my last!

 

What Sara Blaedel book do you recommend I read next?

–Jess

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