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In the Bleak Midwinter (Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Series #1)
     

In the Bleak Midwinter (Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Series #1)

4.1 214
by Julia Spencer-Fleming
 

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It's a cold, snowy December in the upstate New York town of Millers Kill, and newly ordained Clare Fergusson is on thin ice as the first female priest of its small Episcopal church. The ancient regime running the parish covertly demands that she prove herself as a leader. However, her blunt manner, honed by years as an army pilot, is meeting with a chilly reception

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In the Bleak Midwinter (Clare Fergusson Series #1) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 214 reviews.
Nat-the-Cat More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. For the longest time I have been a fan of fantasy/paranormal fiction and now you can't throw a rock w/o hitting one. The whole genre has become,for the most part, boring and over played. So I started reading mysteries. This book is original. You don't pick it up and think this is just like this or just like that. I love how realistic the story line is and even the romance in the book is just enough to entice but not over done. After I read this book I ordered every single book in the rest of the series and if they're even half as good as this one I won't be disappointed. The only fault I can think of is on the B&N website they don't list the order of the series which can make it kind of confusing if you're wanting to read them in order... Here it is if you're wondering. * In the Bleak Midwinter * A Fountain Filled With Blood * Out of the Deep I Cry * To Darkness and To Death * All Mortal Flesh * I Shall Not Want Read this book/series. I promise you its worth your time.
CynS More than 1 year ago
Reading is my passion and I especially appreciate a book that sweeps me off my feet and into the story. Each and every volume in Julia Spencer-Fleming's Clare Fergusson series did that and more. Clare, the lead female character, is a former helicopter pilot turned Episcopalian priest. (Yes, you read right!) She is deeply committed to her vocation, but she is unlike any minister you may have ever met in fiction or real life. Russ, the lead male character and chief of police, finds that Clare has a way of inserting herself into police business that drives him crazy in more ways than one. Clare, Russ, and all the supporting characters are very well developed, believable, and grow so much through the series. In fact, the author had me feeling as if I lived in the town and knew everyone as a neighbor or friend-- or perhaps a threat. Spencer-Fleming has managed to take romance, suspense, drama, humor, and mystery and serve them up in one tasty dish that keeps you wanting more. I've read a lot of trilogies. However, I rarely feel as enthusiastic about book #3 as I did about book #1. Usually when they're over, I'm ready for them to be over. That's why Spencer-Fleming amazed me! I read all seven books-- one after the other-- and now that I'm done I can't wait to see what happens next. That's unheard of for me. If there were seven more books in the series I'd download them on my Nook this minute. I highly recommend this book and the entire series to anyone who wants to make a deep connection with characters without tiring of them. You will not be disappointed. Ms. Spencer-Fleming: thank you for many hours of absolute enjoyment and escapism with lessons learned along the way. You are a gifted writer and story-teller!
Brunette_Chick More than 1 year ago
This book came highly recommended to me, and although I was very skeptical at first- I absolutely loved this book! The synopsis left much to be desired for me, but I was pleasantly surprised by the plot and ending. I was completely put off by the idea of a female priest and thought this may end up being one of those religious works disguised as a mystery to bring me the word of God. Not the case at all! (thank goodness) what I got was an intelligent heroine and an intriguing mystery with some underlying tones of lust. Awesome book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was very impressed by this first offering from Julia Spencer-Fleming! Two interesting characters, a cop and an Episcopal priest, and a page-turner of a plot, made for an almost perfect mystery. I am curious to see what she will do with the relationship between the two characters, as one is married! I look forward to many more in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stick with it very humourous in between suspense. Good tension between priest and sheriff. I thought this would make a good television seties or a lifetime movie or a tnt mystery movie. I will be purchasing the next book.
Rosiolady More than 1 year ago
I really liked everything about this mystery! The writing flowed, the characters were unique, the ending was a surprise. I really liked that it was not primarily about romance and sex, but then, I'm an elderly reader. Believe it or not, soppy romance and explicit sex become tiresome after 70 years or so. I will look forward to coming books from this author. I did especially like that the main character was a strong, intelligent woman.
NorthShore More than 1 year ago
This is my first Spencer-Fleming mystery. My primary complaint is that "Father" Claire does too many things that are just silly, as a priest and as an amateur sleuth. I can't imagine a priest confronting as many of the church members/potential protagonists as she did -- otherwise, the idea of Claire as former chopper pilot and priest is a good one. Given the survival training she had as pilot, her inability to find the right footwear or clothing is a little silly. I do like her, and I like Russ if the author can rise above the expected and push this to the next level, it has the potential to be a series I'll look forward to reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Julia Spencer Fleming has created one of the most fun filled reads that I have experienced in ages!!! Her creations of the characters in the town of Millers Kill will keep you riveted to their trials and tribulations for many hours---Keep writing Julia Skip Hughes --- Grand Junction
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good mystery, well written, well developed characters. Look forward to #2.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was better than I expected. It is a fast read with a good mystery and interesting characters. Parts were a bit predictable but that is forgivable. I will likely read more in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was torn between giving this 4 or 5 stars. I liked the characters though they got a little hot and heavy on pretty short acquaintance considering one is a priest. Liked the writing. Good action scene. I thought it moved a little too slowly in the middle.
Samantha1020 More than 1 year ago
When I was coming up with my January reading pile I decided to pick a few books off of my shelf that would fit January's snowy weather. Turns out that this was a great decision on my part as both books fit perfectly in with this time of year! Reading this book made me wish for more snow on the ground though and I'm hoping for a winter storm sometime soon! I am so glad that I decided to give this series a try (thanks in large part to fellow blogger Kay who recommended it) and didn't let it languish on my shelves. This book had everything that I enjoy in a good mystery: great main characters, a whodunit that kept me constantly guessing, and a snowy setting that just added to the atmosphere of the story. Okay, maybe I don't always need a snowy setting but it sure did make this book stand out for me. There is one scene in particular where the author makes the snow and cold feel so dark and foreboding....I loved it so much! I especially appreciated with this book how easily I fell into the story. It felt like these characters were old friends and it made my reading experience all the more enjoyable because of it. In this book police chief Russ Van Alstyne is searching for the parents of an abandoned baby. Before long though the young mother is found dead and Russ is on the hunt for a killer. He gets involved with Clare Fergusson in the course of the investigation and the two of them strike up an easy friendship. I have to say that I just enjoyed both of these two characters so much! The author does an amazing job of really fleshing out both of their characters and I felt an instant connection to both of them. That being said (and possible spoiler warning here- don't read on if you haven't read this book!) why, why, why does Russ have to be married? I hate love triangles in books and I definitely can't get behind infidelity. Please tell me that this is all resolved very soon or it will make me crazy! I can handle the two of them sticking to just being friends or Russ leaving his wife (asap) but I hope it doesn't get drawn out. End rant and possible spoiler section. The mystery portion of this book was very well done and I didn't figure out the killer until the very end. I loved how the author had me constantly guessing. And I really, really loved how the author was able to create such tension and chilling moments throughout the book. I read this one in a matter of days and was itching for the second book as soon as I finished. This is a series that I definitely will be continuing on with! Overall this was a really great beginning to this mystery series and a series that I am very excited about! I loved the characters so much and am really eager to see what happens next in book two. This was one of those books that keeps you guessing until the very end and that is really all that I can ask. I would recommend this one to mystery and thriller fans. Just be warned that you might be wishing you had book two in your hands and ready to go. I sure was! Recommended! Bottom Line: A really great beginning to this mystery series! I need more! Disclosure: I purchased a copy of this book from my local used bookstore. A great choice on my part!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has it all - great writing, excellent characterizations, and a compelling mystery. I couldn't put it down. I thoroughly enjoyed this and will definitely read the rest of the series.
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acorley84 More than 1 year ago
This was the first book that I've read from this author and wasn't particularly excited about the book.  I do plan to at least read the next book in the series to see if it jumps out at me more.   I actually listened to the audio book version, and was not too pleased with the narrator, Suzanne Torren.  I felt that there were way too many characters for just one narrator.  I also found it difficult to differentiate between the different characters, especially if two women  or two men were talking at the same time, because the male voice was always the same, as was with the female voice, with a few exceptions.   I did enjoy the main characters, Russ and Claire.  They were very likable and easy to follow.  I am interested to see how this relationship will develop throughout the series.   As for the plot of the story, where do I begin?  I was <b>NOT</b> able to predict the ending until it happened, which is a great thing, however, I thought that it was long and drawn out.  I felt like it took a really long time to get to the heart of the book.  Once you got to  that point, the story was great, but if it would have been much longer, I would have given up on the book.  The fact that the story became as good as it did about halfway through the book is the reason that I would like to proceed with the series.  Even though it took a long time to get to the main whodunit, I have high hopes for the next book to move along a little quicker! Overall, I didn't hate this book but I didn't love it.  I look forward to seeing if A Fountain of Blood takes the series up a notch! 
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