The Ashford Place by Jean CopelandThe Ashford Place by Jean Copeland is a light mystery/romance with a healthy dose of humour thrown in for good measure.

Isabelle ‘Belle’ Ashford doesn’t know whether she won the jackpot by inheriting her deceased aunt’s house or if she got saddled with a house of numerous horrors because nothing about the Ashford place is as simple as it once seemed. All of her well-made plans to fix and sell the Ashford house in order to buy the beachfront property of her dreams began to disintegrate from the moment she found shocking evidence that revealed horrific family secrets that were more than five decades old. Belle is determined to find out as much as she could about her father’s young cousin because there are more questions than answers that surround her relative’s short and sorrowful life and demise.

Finding love was the last thing on Belle’s mind but she definitely found it when her coquettish friendship with Deputy Sheriff Ally Yates turned into the kind of romance she had always longed for. Deputy Sheriff Ally Yates and Belle team up to search for more clues that will help them to identify a child molester and most likely, a murderer as well.

Will Deputy Sheriff Ally Yates and Belle be able to solve this long standing mystery? When everything is said and done, will Belle be able to walk away from the only woman she has ever truly loved to return to a life that is familiar and unfulfilling?

The Characters

Isabelle ‘Belle’ Ashford is an English professor. Belle thought she was extremely lucky to be the sole heir to inherit her late aunt’s house in Danville. I have so much respect for Belle because she is a “Do It Yourself” champion and an amateur sleuth. I really wished that I had a Sapphic godmother because I would ask her to turn Belle into a real flesh and blood woman (I’m in need of a best friend who is handy in all areas of home renovation!) Belle stole my heart with her wicked sense of humour and her genuine concern for the welfare of other people.

Alexandra ‘Ally’ Yates is the Deputy Sheriff of Danville. She is proud to serve and protect the community at all costs. I was practically drooling when Ally was first mentioned and I don’t think I stopped until the story ended. Although I got annoyed with Ally when her relationship with Belle took a turn for the worst, I was still hung up on her because there’s no way I could stay mad at a gorgeous butch goddess who has a heart of gold.

The Writing Style

Jean Copeland did a wonderful job of bringing the characters to life for me. She gave me such a vivid description of Ally and Belle. I felt as though I could close my eyes and I’d see these lovely women in all of their quirky awesomeness.

The Pros

This story was so easy to get caught up in because I have a thing for women in uniform (huge blush) and I got to live vicariously through Belle when she put her heart and soul into fixing up the Ashford house (Hmmm… I wonder if I would be able to do all of that work on my own and still find the time for romance. There’s only one way to find out! It’s time for me to find a house that’s in desperate need of repair and a beguiling butch officer who is willing to lend assistance… a girl can dream, right?)

The Cons

I really wished this book was longer because a few of the scenarios were rushed and they should have been expanded to give me more background on the characters.

aprils favourite booksThe Conclusion

I love any book that has the ability to blend mystery and humour and this story did that perfectly. Just imagine, I was sneaking a read at work during a slow period and I couldn’t stop myself from chuckling over the witty banter between Belle and Ally. I’m always happy to be an unofficial investigating sidekick and I enjoyed tagging along with Belle and Ally as they tried to uncover all of the secrets that surround the deceased Ashford family members and the house.   

Excerpt from The Ashford Place by Jean Copeland

Lost in the bliss of the breeze blowing her hair around as she drove the winding country road, she hadn’t noticed the squad car behind her until its siren squawked twice.

“Oh, shit.” Belle tried to assess the officer through her rearview mirror as she pulled over. “Here’s where the sheriff’s inbred deputy son kidnaps me and locks me in a cage in the basement.”

She threw the SUV into park and got her license and registration ready before he approached her window.


Belle looked up. The inbred mutant was actually a woman—a striking, soft butch with the fiercest tan and tastiest-looking lips she’d ever seen.

“Good morning, Sheriff,” Belle said with an obsequious smile. She held out the paperwork, but the officer didn’t take it.

“Know why I pulled you over?”

Belle pretended to think. “Driving while not from these parts?”

“Cute.” She lifted her sunglasses and studied Belle with creamy coffee eyes nestled in lashes so naturally thick, Max Factor would’ve rolled in his grave with envy. “No. Your vehicle’s emissions has expired.”

“Oh. Oh, crap. The notice must’ve got lost in the mail. It’s happened to me before.”

“Happens all the time.” The officer seemed mildly amused.

“You really pull people over for expired emissions around here?”

She nodded almost apologetically. “Shows you what the crime rate’s like.”

“That’s comforting. So, what now? You throw me in a cell with Otis the drunk for the afternoon?”

“You got jokes,” she said with a smirk. “No. Go see Freddie at Auto Plus when you get a chance. He’ll take care of you.”

“Thanks, Sheriff. I sure do appreciate that.”

“It’s Deputy. Alexandra Yates.”

“Well, nice to meet you, Deputy Yates. I’m Isabelle Ashford.” She stuck her hand out the car window. “But something tells me you already know that.”

She flashed a mischievous grin. “I even know you go by ‘Belle.’”

“This is getting really weird.”

“Don’t get nervous. I was in the hardware store earlier and heard you talking to Sheriff Bob.”

“That hardware store’s the place to be.”

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Bits and Bobs

  • ISBN number: 9781635553178
  • Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
  • Jean Copeland Online 

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About the author

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My name is April Adams and I am an accountant at a civil service office. Even though I read a wide variety of lesbian fiction, I enjoy mystery and thriller books the most because I love the state of suspense the stories have me in until the end and I find out “who’s done it.”