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A Bucket of Ashes (Nell Sweeney Mysteries, #6)
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A Bucket of Ashes (Nell Sweeney Mysteries #6)

4.16  ·  Rating Details ·  1,683 Ratings  ·  120 Reviews
From the Mary Higgins Clark Award nominee-a new Gilded Age mystery.

Nell's reputation as a model governess is threatened by a secret from her past-and the possibility that she might be carrying Will Hewitt's child. But these problems pale with what she learns: that the body of her only remaining brother has been discovered- and that he was wanted for murder.
Mass Market Paperback, 288 pages
Published December 4th 2007 by Berkley
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Jul 17, 2012 Marla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-library
Clearly my reluctance to read the final book didn't last very long. But I feel robbed! The book actually ended at 75%, with the final 25% being an extra long excerpt from the first book. Really, we need an excerpt from the first book after reading the last one? This was also the most poorly edited book. The previous books might have had one or two errors, per book. This one had many errors, 'Nell' appeared as 'No', 'one' as 'on', and in one sentence he and his were both used instead of she and h ...more
It was ok... but not quite what I was hoping for in the finale of this series. The mystery was lackluster, with more focus on Nell than the mystery for much of it. Then Nell and Will's relationship took the contrived sort of turns that I dislike in a romance and didn't have as many of the more subtle interactions that I enjoyed in previous books. Until now, their relationship didn't have that 'romance' quality. So unfortunately I find myself disappointed in the resolution of 5 books of build-up. ...more
Aug 07, 2012 Bridgett rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Wow.. So this is how it ends.

I was so happy with this series all the way that I got absolutely blind-sided by this book!

I have to admit: I skipped a few pages in this one! I skipped a few a lot of pages in this one. I still got the gist of it.

I did not skip pages because I didn't like the book! I think the reason was that there were more words than were necessary on some of the pages. I do like descriptive writing, but sometimes you just have to get on with it!

I do understand the need to bring
V.r. Christensen
Dec 19, 2011 V.r. Christensen rated it it was amazing
I finish on a sigh. This relationship between the hero and heroine is fraught with emotional and situational complexity. The mystery this time was a personal one, dealing with the last of Nell's demons. My only complaint is that it was rather short. I could have read on for quite a lot longer. But then I like long books. The mystery was secondary, but that was perfectly fine by me. The characters were so richly drawn, it seemed natural that their story would take the spotlight. I'm rather sad to ...more
Dec 29, 2013 Li rated it it was amazing
This felt like a shorter book to me compared to the others in the series, but possibly only because of the amount of DRAMA packed into it. Which I loved, obviously. Unlike the previous five books, the romance took a front seat in this one, while the mystery was almost treated a subplot to tie up loose ends. Possibly a bit too perfect of a HEA, but it left me smiling - and this was really a most satisfying series.
Stacie  Haden
All you want in a historical mystery series. I'm sad to be done.
Jul 12, 2008 Tina rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, z2010-reads
Final book in the Gilded Age mystery series and it reads exactly like that -- a series wrap up. The mystery element was almost an after thought. This book was dedicated wholly to wrapping up loose ends on the personal and character front.

Throughout the series, Nell, the main character has been guarding some pretty heavy secrets for very good reason. Only Will, her best friend and the man she's quietly (and sufferingly) in love with knows them all. Well all is revealed in this installment, for th
Deborah Bowman
Sep 16, 2014 Deborah Bowman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Through all the pain and sacrifice, the impossible emerges triumphant

I have greatly enjoyed the Nell Sweeney Series by P.B. Ryan. A web of conflicting and seemingly insurmountable odds keep two star-crossed lovers apart as their lives are drawn into seeking justice in murder investigations that touch upon their lives, especially from the past. Nell Sweeney, Dr. Will Hewitt, even little innocent Gracie Hewitt, Will's 6-year-old daughter, are draped in secrets and inaccurate assumptions. Secrets m
Jul 04, 2011 Anne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was a little disappointed in this last installment. I knew it was short, but when I got to the end and I was only 74% into the book, I got little confused. Then when I realized the last 26% of the book was the first part of Still Life With Murder, I think you could say I was feeling put off. Why would you an excerpt from the first book in a series in the last book of the series? Common sense leads one to believe this is material one is already familiar with. I also thought the story could've w ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Edward Beavers
The end of a series

The Nell Sweeney series comes to a conclusion with an endearing finish for romance. Although the conclusion of the tale is sweet it is also sad that Ms. Ryan has not continued Nell's sleuthing. maybe someday Nell will return, we can only hope.
Kaitlyn Dunnett
A short book, but satisfying.
Katie Bee
So after finishing this book - which feels like the natural end of the series, although I don't know if the author is planning to continue - I have come to understand the Nell Sweeney books more. If you approach them as primarily romance (the story of how governess Nell falls in love with, marries, and starts a family with her employer's son), they hold up much better than if you approach them as historical fiction (many anachronisms that only grow worse as the story progresses) or as mysteries ...more
Nov 17, 2016 Annette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-books-read
I enjoyed it but really wish there were more in the series
Nov 03, 2015 Lisbeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Still Life With Murder (Nell Sweeney Mysteries) by P.B. Ryan
The Content ReaderBeing in Mallorca my reading habits is slightly different. More like; you take what you have. I do have a small library here, but most of the books I have already read, but there are of course still some. It would not be me if there wasn’t a TBR shelf or two!

Then there is the iPad where I save books for a day when no actual paper books are appealing. Being on a holiday it is nice with some easy going novels to spend th
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christina (AKA Babbling)
Mar 16, 2008 Christina (AKA Babbling) rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
Quoted from my review @

Comments: Nell has a lot on her plate. Her only surviving sibling, Jamie, is dead. He was a fugitive, wanted for the murder of Susannah Cunningham. Also occupying her mind is that fact that she’s pregnant with Will’s baby and Will is in France. In the previous book, the American ambassador asked President Grant for an experienced battle surgeon, and Will was offered the job. Nell even begins to question whether Will — rootless vagabond, cardshar
Jan 28, 2013 Korey rated it really liked it
I found this a very satisfying conclusion to the Nell Sweeney series. Since this is the concluding volume, I will take a few moments to provide my overall impressions of the series, which I would recommend.

--I really liked the character of Nell Sweeney. Great protagonist.
-- I also liked the majority of the supporting characters and found them interesting.
--Well written books, with vivid settings and descriptions
-- Nell and Will's ongoing will they or won't they romance is actually involving
When I picked up the first book in this series as a Kindle freebie, I was doubtful that I’d really enjoy it. Although it’s historical, I was not into historical mysteries at the time. But by the time I was done, I’d enjoyed it so much, I not only planned to read the rest of the series but I was suddenly on the hunt for similar historical mysteries! None have been quite as good but a few particular series might suffice as a replacement now that this one is finished.

What was more surprising is th
I have loved this entire series, and as much as I hate to see the story of Nell Sweeney and Will Hewitt come to and end, the author deserves credit for completing the series arc and not trying to extend to the point where we become bored with the characters. Irish immigrant Nell has overcome her low birth, life in the poorhouse, marriage to a wife-beating criminal and her own petty thievery to become the governess in the home of the Hewitts, one of the richest families in mid-19th century Boston ...more
Sep 20, 2016 Eliza rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tead-in-2016
I loved this book as the end of the serise. It tied everything up in a tight little bow, which normally I hate, but this time just was happy.
We open with the shortest space between book, only a month, and Nell is on the Cape and prego, oh the scandal :p, and trying to figure out what to do.
Ryan brought back Dr. Greeves for the first time since the beging of the first book and it seemed natural and timely. The story with her brother was nice too because we only have mention of him, it did seem
The series wrap up is pretty much that - a wrap up. I was somewhat disappointed with the mystery aspect - it started out well, with Nell finding out about the death of her brother, and that it seems to have happened in shady circumstances. But then as the plot unfolds it seems to become less and less engaging - not a whole lot of intrigue or mystery, just finding out who actually did commit the deed (it was the person they thought it was all along, big surprise) about halfway through, and then j ...more
Adrienne Testa
Jun 29, 2012 Adrienne Testa rated it liked it
Disappointing... more could have been told of the relationship between Nell and Will. Seems as if the author could only tell half a story in this final story of Nell Sweeney.
Nell and the Hewitt's are spending the summer months on the cape, she learns from Cyril Greaves that her brother Jamie was killed in a fire. His body not correctly autopsied and sold to a medical school.Nell stops the sale of her brother's body and has him properly buried. Slowly Nell learns the truth of what happened to he
Feb 26, 2015 Katie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read all of these books within a week. They were somewhat short, but I read through them so quickly because I really needed to know what happened next! I love a good murder mystery, and each of these contained one, but also had great character building and that sweet anticipation the kept me up at night. I received the first book for free through Amazon, but purchased the other five, one after another, as soon as I finished one book I started in on the next.

A Bucket of Ashes ties everything up
Mar 13, 2014 Mary rated it liked it
It is with mixed feelings that I write my last P.B. Ryan review. I've loved this series from the beginning so I had high expectations for a great finale. The mystery was good and I was surprised once again by the ending. What was so dissatisfying was the hurried and overly easy way all the loose ends were handled. I thought the writer was capable of much more. It was almost like she ran out of time and had to rush to finish. Finally, editing errors, especially in the closing chapters, were quite ...more
Sep 15, 2014 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book - and the series. I was disappointed that it was over, but I like the way it wrapped up. I found a lot more typos in these last two books -- I would certainly be willing to be one of PB Ryan's proofreaders!!! Even though it was a little slow at times, overall, what a delightful series! Kudos to you, P.B. Ryan - great writing, thorough character development, interesting diction (though I do wonder about a few turns of phrase in that era), and satisfying recursiveness - ...more
Theresa Brandt
Apr 01, 2016 Theresa Brandt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Saved the best for last!

This has been a terrific series from first to last. The author has done what so many others fail to do and that is to create characters who are very, very human. They are flawed, but imminently likable to the extent that you want their happiness or their just desserts to occur as the case may be.

There is nothing I can say in criticism for what I assume is the last book in the series. I would like to say thank you for creating this series and giving me a very pleasurable
Aug 18, 2010 Estara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, read-in-2010
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stacey A.  Prose and Palate
While this series started off fantastically with Books One and Two, the rest of the series was just ok for me. This last installment was full of spelling/editing errors and wrapped up a little too neatly. I didn't find Duncan's final response realistic and I was really hoping for more details into Nell and Will's night together. Their whole romance was frustrating as it moved at a snail's pace through out the entire series, then you get maybe 10 pages of wrap up and it was done. I love the chara ...more
Jul 10, 2012 Rob rated it liked it
Well, things end as we've pretty much guessed. William and Nell get married at the end. (Surely, this can't be a spoiler, if you've read even the first book.)

This is the worst of the series. It's shorter, most of the book is used to wrap up the love story, and even that is done in a very rushed way. The mystery portion is not very interesting, either.

The author could revive the series of the happily married sleuths solving some crimes in San Francisco, and again when they return to Boston, but I
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any more? 1 5 Jun 16, 2013 09:48PM  
  • A Death in Norfolk (Captain Lacey, #7)
  • Murder on Washington Square (Gaslight Mystery, #4)
  • Mercury's Rise (Silver Rush, #4)
  • To Kingdom Come (Barker & Llewelyn, #2)
  • The Thief-Taker (Memoirs of a Bow Street Runner #1)
  • Where Shadows Dance (Sebastian St. Cyr, #6)

Other Books in the Series

Nell Sweeney Mysteries (6 books)
  • Still Life with Murder  (Nell Sweeney Mysteries, #1)
  • Murder in a Mill Town (Nell Sweeney Mysteries, #2)
  • Death on Beacon Hill (Nell Sweeney Mysteries, #3)
  • Murder on Black Friday (Nell Sweeney Mysteries, #4)
  • Murder In the North End (Nell Sweeney Mysteries, #5)

Share This Book

“complicated, Nell. People are complicated. If that weren’t so, life would get pretty damned boring.” 2 likes
“We have reached a juncture in the path of our acquaintance, you and I, from whence we cannot continue as before, strolling along side by side with no particular destination in mind, at least none of which we dare speak....” 0 likes
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