Reviewed by Lisa J Lickel
Operation Bonnet by Kimberly Stuart
"...a quirky, enjoyable read..."
From the publisher: A small town girl wants to be a private investigator and works her first case undercover in an Amish Community where she gets an education in love and grace.
Nellie Monroe is a small Ohio town luminary—decreed by her elementary school teacher during a lesson about Charles Dickens. Nellie does all she can to live up to the moniker. Describing herself as mostly Irish and miscellaneous pale, the reader just knows this story is going to be a rollercoaster ride of thrills and fun.
Nellie tells us about herself and her unorthodox family which includes a grandma, Nona, who is one of the few people who can pronounce one of Nellie's names correctly. A single child who is left in the company of Nona and housekeeper Mrs. H, Nellie knows how to find adventure and keep things hopping. As if the secret of Mrs. H and Nellie's friend, Matt's, father isn't enough mystery to solve, twenty-year-old Nellie has decided that she's ready to take on her life-long dream of being a Private Investigator. Nellie's first case rises up to meet her when a new employee of the golf shop where she works, previously Amish Amos Shetler, confesses that he has a former love whom he's worried will marry the wrong man. Nellie's infiltration of the old order society to meet Katie, Amos's love interest, falls apart when Katie decides to meet Amos outside of her community.
Stuart's theme of finding grace and forgiveness everywhere is a funny and heartwarming adventure in learning how to deal with people at all stages of life. The background story of Nona's descent into dementia is a lesson in the fragility of humanity. Enjoy life while you can and treat others with the dignity they deserve, and forgive while you remember why.
I loved Stuart's delightfully snarky take on the world, although by the
fifth chapter I felt somewhat boggled by the constant clever observations
and was ready to move into the actual story. I've never read such a wonderfully
funny take on life as Nellie's streaming conscious twists and turns at
observing her friends and family. Hilarious. While Amish culture plays
heavily in the story, Operation Bonnet is not about the Amish. Nellie's
love interest comes in rather suddenly, but other than that, I found the
book a quirky, enjoyable read and I plan to look into Stuart's other books.
Lisa Lickel lives in Wisconsin with her high school teacher husband in a 150-year-old Great Lakes ship captain's house. She is active in more than one historical society, belongs to writing and reading clubs and is the editor in chief of Creative Wisconsin, the magazine of Wisconsin Regional Writers. A graduate of the Christian Writer's Guild, she has written newspaper features and magazine articles, radio theater, and authored several inspirational novels. Find her online at http://lisalickel.com, http://wisconsinauthorreview.blogspot.com, http://reflectionsinhindsight.wordpress.com, and Facebook.