Birds of a Feather by Nicole Kimberling
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Although Birds of a Feather, book 5 in the series, is the longest book in the series, it’s the least interesting. It feels incomplete and almost like a throw away or unimportant entry, which doesn’t seem to fit with the main characters actually getting married in this installment. It’s hard to describe, but the story feels like more fluff and less actual story. Even the wedding scenes, very few and hurriedly rushed over, feel like filler. There’s no weight to their connection and the mystery is weak at best. It’s nicely written and the characters are as charming as always with several scene stealing newbies, but you could skip this one entirely and not miss anything in the series.
This time Peter and Nick are finally getting married. Their respective parents have come in several days early to find Nick working on a painting and Peter deep in a dead eagle mystery. Nick’s father, Erik, decides to help Peter out on his investigation while the two mothers are unexpectedly bonding.
The story is fast and sweet without much behind it. Peter’s mystery story is very easily solved, and not a mystery at all it turns out, which is very anticlimactic and too easy with a secondary pseudo-mystery that takes place with one of Nick’s friends. This bit thrown is unnecessary, unbelievable, and honestly a bit stupid. I feel bad saying that about this author, who normally is quite great, but this element just didn’t work at all. I feel like the story should have stuck to the much more believable jealousy line. So with two possible “mysteries” the book offers, neither really rates as a real mystery and both are solved very quickly and with a minimum of drama. There is the obligatory near death experience, as Peter must go through one every book.
That said, it’s easy to read and the writing is crisp. The characters are as adorable as always. Erik and Alec shine, though they’re given quite a bit of page time so I wouldn’t be surprised if they pop up again in future books. At the same time, I really missed the feeling of romance, passion, and connection between Nick and Peter. They are separated for much of the book and that feeling of separation translates to their relationship. The wedding, and vows especially, felt rushed and superficial lacking the real commitment and love you’d expect. It’s as if the story threw that in at the last minute and it is in the epilogue after all. For such a central element to the characters and series as a whole I was disappointed with its treatment. Not that I needed an entire novella about wedding planning but if I had skipped the epilogue, I wouldn’t have missed anything.
This novella definitely isn’t my favorite in the series but it is quick and engaging. It feels too insubstantial given its length – it reads more like a short story – but I’m sure fans of the author and series will want to check it out. I’m hopeful the next book returns to form.