Review: Sweet Ginger Poison

Sweet Ginger Poison - Robert Burton Robinson

Originally read November 23, 2013


My biggest problem with this book was with the authenticity and likeability of the characters. The main character’s name is Ginger.  She's a 61-year-old lady who owns a coffee cake shop in a small town where everybody knows everybody. Ginger is, I believe, supposed to be the likeable character in the story. However, she annoyed me to no end. She reminded me of one of those people who haven’t had many life experiences of her own and who haven’t been around much diversity, but who have very definite ideas about how everybody should live their lives and are happy to tell them how to do so. It wasn’t even that I necessarily disagreed with many of her opinions, but the way she presented them made me cringe. Then I was annoyed with the characters who were on the receiving end of her advice, because they didn’t react to such poorly-presented advice in a realistic way. As far as the other characters went, it seemed like they were all stupid or evil or both.

Another smaller complaint would be the obligatory romance between Ginger and the reverend. There just wasn’t enough real interaction between them for the relationship to have any impact on me, and the attempt to create angst between them early on in the book seemed forced. This sort of thing has irritated me in many books, not just this one. It seems like most authors believe that every book they write must have some sort of a romance. If writing a romance isn’t their strong suit, or if it isn’t a natural progression of the story, I wish they would just leave it out and focus on the real story. A good romance can greatly enhance a good book, but a book doesn’t need a romance to be good. A poorly-done romance just drags the book down.

What about the story itself? Well, it wasn’t all that bad. It was a little contrived, but interesting enough for me to get through the book. I was always at least a little curious about what would happen next, and curious to see if any of my theories about what had happened would be proven true. Most of the information relevant to really understanding what had happened wasn’t revealed until much later in the book.  That might bother some people, but it wasn’t really a sore point with me.

I have quite a backlog of books on my Kindle that I obtained for free back when it was “new and cool” to get free books for my Kindle and I wasn’t yet being very choosy. I believe this was one of those books. So, to offset my negative review, I would just like to add that this probably isn’t a book that I would have chosen to purchase to begin with.  I like the occasional mystery, but I prefer more realism and darkness than what is found in this particular book.  Somebody who fits the target audience better than I do might enjoy it more.

Although it appears that this book is the first one in a series, this book stands completely on its own. So don’t be afraid to give it a try if it sounds interesting to you. You will get a complete story that won't leave you feeling obligated to continue the series if you don’t want to.