The Tale of Hawthorn House (Beatrix Potter Mystery Book 4)
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The Tale of Hawthorn House (The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter #4)

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  737 ratings  ·  83 reviews
Miss Beatrix Potter finds the abandoned Baby Flora?and a scarab ring?on her doorstep. An investigation reveals that the ring was pawned and reclaimed by a resident of the vacant and supposedly haunted Hawthorn House. Now Beatrix and her animal friends are left pondering these utterly puzzling happenings.

Paperback, 336 pages
Published September 2nd 2008 by Berkley (first published 2007)
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“The Tale Of Hawthorne House” is a drop from Susan Wittig Albert’s previous story, her absolute best. I regrettably note volume four as the worst, dismayed with style and content. Since book two, the author has opened with a refresher of characters and the town. I began to find it redundant but it is in this novel that I noticed how overdone it was. Susan panders to new buyers and the degree to which residents are rehashed is preposterous; ending with a plug “read about it in novel X”! She could...more
Although it isn't hard to guess the secrets and mysteries in the cottage tales series, they are so utterly charming and interesting that I keep reading them. However, this entry in the series I have to rate as the weakest in writing style. I didn't like how much the narrator's voice intruded in the writing, commenting on what was happening. I thought it was a reference to the way the Beatrix Potter tales are written, but I don't think it works for a work of teen/adult fiction as well as it does...more
This is a gentle mystery. No violence. No murder. An interesting look into the life of Miss Beatrix Potter. If you are a fan of Miss Potter's work then this story (series) should interest you. The sections from the point of view of the farm animals was charming at first, then got tedious for me. The side plots about the animals with their own puzzle that sort of parallels the human mystery got too involved. I figured out both mysteries early on -- a rarity for me. Not Albert's best work.
Stewie's Mom
I didn't enjoy this one quite as I enjoyed the previous ones. I personally disliked the portions of the book where the narrator spoke directly to the reader. I found these portions quite disconcerting and hope this style isn't continued on into the next book(s). Other than that, I'm always pleased with the calm style this series presents. Additionally, this was an audio version and I love Virginia Leishman's (sp?) narration.
Nov 24, 2007 Theresa rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Beatrix Potter fans
Shelves: adult-teen
A wonderful mystery! Especially since there aren't any murders, just a difficult circumstance to be puzzled out. It is a semi-biographical account of Beatrix Potter and her life at Hill Top, the farm she purchased. The story is told both from the human's point of view and the POV of the animals that live on the farm and in the village. I highly recommend it!
It seems to me that the author and narrator both really hit their stride in the 4th Cottage Tale.

It's always particularly impressive when authors can effectively write using a style from a previous era. That's exactly what Susan Wittig Albert has done here. Although it's clear that these are contemporary stories about early 20th century English characters, her references to other stories and her "dear reader" type comments are evocative of writing from that time. And because she's simply a terr...more
This mystery series is set in the English Lake District with Beatrix Potter as an amateur sleuth. The author provides a cast of characters indicating actual historic persons, but most of the characters are fictional. A good read for anyone interested in Beatrix Potter and/or the Lake District.
I love this series! Having been to the Lake District and Hill Top Farm, I find it very enjoyable to read this series of "cozy" mysteries. I'm looking forward to the next.
Anne Hawn Smith

Fairies take center stage in this book also and we get to know them even better as they interact with the “big people.” During the village fete, a baby is deposited on Beatrix Potter’s doorstep with a sprig of hawthorn on it. Beatrix would love to care for it herself, but the care of her demanding parents and her work as an author seem to make it impossible. Still, she lives with regret, which is made even more poignant, by her work as a children’s author and her instinctive understanding of the...more
I was particularly fond of Ms. Witting Albert's descriptions of two dogs in this book. Here's a characterization of Kep, Miss Potter's working dog:

"Kep smiled with that calm, encouraging demeanor that makes collies such pleasant dogs to have in one's life." (p. 74)

And here's a snippet of a scene with Rascal, the wee terrier when he sees a painting in which he is portrayed:

"Rascal stood up on his hind legs to inspect his painted self. He was sitting on his haunches, watching the trout swim round...more
I was happy to learn more about Jemima Puddleduck. She just wants to be loved like the rest of us.

From Publishers Weekly
Albert's charming fourth Beatrix Potter mystery (after 2006's The Tale of Cuckoo Brow Wood) finds our heroine unexpectedly in possession of a foundling child, Baby Flora. The reader knows the mysteriously twinkly Mrs. Overthewall stole Flora from her teenage mother, Emily, a maid at the gloomy and possibly haunted Hawthorn House, and left her on the Potter doorstep, but Beatri...more
If you loved the Beatrix Potter books as a child and were sort of sad when you got too old for them, or, if you ever thought how fun it would be to learn about what might be the "real" behind the scenes of Beatrix's life and village, well this is the book for you!

The story starts with a baby left on Beatrix's doorstep by a very odd old woman who may, or may not be one of the "little folk". Naturally, Beatrix being the efficient, purposeful woman she is, immediately sets out to determine the trut...more
When I am in the mood for a quaint, soft read that has some appeal to the child in me, I will pick one of these up. The tales usually give me a chuckle around the gossip of the small English Village taking on a life of its own. Anyone who has ever had a pet, and you look at their expression and speculate on what they might be thinking will enjoy the animals side of the story.
Rhonda Pickens
This book in the series is something of a departure from the previous books. The decision to talk directly to the "dear reader" just doesn't feel right - it feels clumsy & amateurish compared to the previous novels. Even so, it is worth reading for the continuing character development. I hope the next is as good as book 2 & 3.
Beatrix Potter has found a baby on her doorstep. She has no idea whose baby it is but spies an elderly woman climbing over the wall. She cannot keep the child but is determined to find out who it belongs to. She leaves the baby in the care of her friend Dimity Woodcock, the sister of the local Justice of the Peace. There has been no childbirth in the town so it is thought that the baby is the child of a band of gypsies that have been in the area. Beatrix and her friends, both human and animal, l...more
The village of Sawrey has a Summer Fete, a day of music and celebration. However, when Miss Potter arrives home, she finds an unexpected visitor in the form of Baby Flora left in a basket on her doorstep. And thus the mystery begins! There are so many unexpected happenings. Could fairies be involved?
This fourth novel in the Cottage Mysteries again has one human and one animal mystery, but both have to do with motherhood and children. Who is the mysterious baby that has been left at Ms. Potter's door and where did she come from? And why is Jemima Puddle-Duck setting on a nest of eggs that aren't her own?
The village abounds with rumors as to who the baby could be, none of them good. The village also has plans cooking for getting Ms. Potter married in order to revert control of Hill Top Farm b...more
What’s not to love about this book? It has great characters (both human and animal), the setting is breathtaking (Lake District), and there isn’t any gore or blood. It's warm and cosy, and it made me smile and laugh. I can understand those who think the talking animals childish, but I find them charming. A different side of a genre that I absolutely love.

The author gives us a glimpse on the life of these characters, their interests, the gossip, their prejudices against a certain group of people...more
Pam Brown
If you can finish a book just to get to the next book that follows you know it has to be good. I finished reading this book.
I adored the first couple of books in this series, but for some reason they're getting too slow for me, though I usually like slow! However, I also didn't enjoy the main plots of this book, unlike previous ones -- as usual I enjoyed the animal and other fanciful stories, but I found the humans to be less interesting and intelligent than in the earlier books. Also, a few passages read to me like they were pasted in from the author's notes on history. Nonetheless I'm still very happy Dr. Albert ha...more
Virma Morales
I read this book first on a whim not knowing anything about the series and I really liked it. Had to go find Book 1 and start the series because I enjoyed the story and the characters very much.
Donna Zigmont
I find that as this series of books goes on the books keep getting better.I loved this book.The author does A great job of keeping you interested.And I also like the fact that there is more than one story going on in the book,there is A story involving life in the village and there is A mystery.You really feel like a member of the community after a while because you get to know the characters pretty well.I've started the next book and love it as well.I know there are only eight books in the seri...more
Fourth in The Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter series. Set in August, 1908 in the towns of Near and Far Sawrey by Lake Windemere, England. Story features Beatrix Potter and the happenings at her farm in Near Sawrey. The main story is about an abandoned baby and the efforts to discover her mother and what happened.

These stories are very enjoyable reading and are on the "light" side as far as mysteries go. They are entertaining with an interesting cast of well developed secondary characters both hu...more
Elizabeth Olson
Absolutely adorable cozy mystery featuring Beatrix Potter as a goodhearted neighborhood sleuth, with a knack for gently unraveling knots, tidying up ragged edges, and making it all come right. As one would expect with a good mystery, the twists and turns are surprising. As would expect with any book featuring Beatrix Potter, there are spot-on animal neighbor stories interwoven with the larger human one. The voice is perfect and the writing is a delight.
A very sweet book. Lots of involvement from her little animal friends. Very cute side story of Jemima Puddleduck and the fox. Very much a cozy mystery--quietly exploring the social mores of the era. Miss Beatrix Potter a sweet and sympathetic character as are all the others. Felt a bit Austen/Bronte-ish in its endeavor to put appropriate couples together. And most important of all---to find a suitable home for an abandoned baby.
Rachel Kopel
In this Beatrix Potter mystery, Albert has injected entirely too much *romance.* Drawing inspiration from Midsummer Night's Dream??? I am now comfortable that we will not actually be dealing with gore and murders, these books are very cozy. And yes, I can usually see where we are going in the people plots, but the animal characters,and the snap conclusions of the village gossip, are such fun that who cares.
C.J. Prince
I love this series based on Beatrix Potter's life and countryside. These cottage-tale mysteries are the perfect read for grown ups who can still recite "Peter Rabbit" by heart. Baby on the doorstep, gypsies, the opinion of ducks and the romance of a fox. Do read for a smile. This is the 4th book in the series. Start with "The Tale of Hill Top Farm" if you are a chronology-freak like I am.
Jan 09, 2011 Christine rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: Beatrix Potter fans/Anglophiles
Shelves: read-own
I LOVE these books! Can't stop reading them, and am now on #5. They are the perfect escape, and while you're at it, you get a bit of mystery as well as whimsy. You also learn about Beatrix Potter's life, country life in the Lakes region of Britain in the early 1900's, animal habits, and lots of other interesting information! I heartily recommend these clever, well-written tales!
I love the way this author had Beatrix Potter as a character in this series. In this one she finds a baby on the doorstep and she and the village constable try to find out where baby Flora has come from. As a side story, Jemma PuddleDuck is trying to become a mother because she wants to prove to everyone that she can stick it out and hatch a clutch of eggs herself.
Interesting blend of people and animal story lines, but I am not sure it worked very well. I liked the Beatrix Potter books as a child and mother, and found the biographical information on Beatrix interesting, but I am not sure that I am supposed to believe all the facts given - it is after all, a work of fiction. I did like the fox and the duck story line.
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Susan is the author/co-author of biographical/historical fiction, mysteries, and nonfiction.


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