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Life Without Shoes

(Father Ambrose #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  168 ratings  ·  41 reviews
In the great tradition of Grantchester, the Rabbi Small mysteries, and the Cadfael Chronicles, Life Without Shoes confronts a modern-day monastic with a horrifying crime.

It’s late summer and Father Ambrose is looking forward to an abundant and joyful harvest at New Life Ecumenical Retreat. That dream is shattered when someone dumps a body in one of their orchards.

 As Abbot
Kindle Edition
Published November 28th 2017 by Square Root Press
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4.02  · 
Rating details
 ·  168 ratings  ·  41 reviews

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Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Life Without Shoes begins a whole new and exciting series by
Emma Cyrus, Father Ambrose. I thought it was pretty good. It did get a little slow about fifty percent through but it quickly picked back up. I enjoyed the mystery and suspense that kept me intrigued and wondered how it all was going to end.
I am giving Life Without Shoes four stars. I look forward to the following installment from the Father Ambrose series. I would to find out what happens next.
I received this book from the publisher
Catherine Stratman
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Good first in series.
I hope this will become a series as I found the characters, their relationships and the locations very likable. Reminds me a bit of a modern day Brother Cadfael by Ellis Peters. The book was long but kept my interest until the very end.
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A good, yet clean, mystery

By: Happytraveler

I received this book for free for an honest review, without compensation.

I enjoyed this mystery, involving a religious community, young love between rich boy and poor girl, and an encounter that went horribly wrong. The chief character is the “Father” of the community, and the story revolves around his interactions with the other characters. Briefly, the Father observes a garbage bag being dumped onto property owned by the community, which is in a peac
Stephanie Dagg
Dec 20, 2017 rated it liked it
Life Without Shoes by Emma Cyrus
This is a murder mystery that involves a busy but secluded religious commune, New Life, headed by Father Ambrose. A trash bag containing the mutilated remains of a young girl is thrown onto their property, thus forcing the community to be dragged into the real world it tries hard to avoid as the murder is investigated.

The book begins very well and this author’s forte is in narrative writing. However, it rapidly gets bogged down with a lot of tedious and repetitiv
John Presler
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Father Ambrose is the Abbot at New Life Ecumenical Retreat, a spiritual community in northern California. The New Life community depends upon the fruit from their orchards and sales at the Farmer's Market for their livelyhood. While bird watching one Saturday morning, Father Ambrose notices that a garbage bag has been tossed into New Life's pear orchard. Unfortunately, nobody checks on the bag for a couple of days and when Brother Jeremy finally goes to pick it up, he discovers the body of a you ...more
Dec 23, 2017 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Mystery Fans
This is an interesting book, it resolves around a non-denominational sect or community. The body of a girl is dumped on their ground and the story revolves around how she got there and how she died.
At first I found myself getting rather irritated with the central character (Father Ambrose) as he seemed to care more about the commune's harvest than he did about the death of a young woman, which seems a bit strange for someone in his position. In fact the reason I have awarded this 4 stars rather
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Life Without Shoes
Interesting mystery. Father Ambrose is Abbot of New Life Ecumenical and Meditation Center. I wasn't sure if the place was Catholic or not but it became clear soon after the beginning of the story.
Father Ambrose is birdwatching before his day gets busy on a Saturday morning. Harvest of their fields will begin soon. He sees a car stop and dump a trash bag over a monastery wall. After asking a young monk to take care of it, he goes on with his day.
When the bag is found to contain
Liz V.
Dec 21, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Abbot Ambrose becomes involved in the world outside the monastery when a body is dumped on the monastery's land. The victim turns out to have been befriended by one of the monks, raising the specter of backlash against the monastery from an already distrustful community. As well, Abbot Ambrose must guide the monastics through the turmoil with as little disruption to their contemplative life as possible.

The focus of the book is on the quandary that Abbot Ambrose faces in the ugly intrusion of mur
Erin Kelch Zerby
Modern Monk Mystery for the win!

I was quite surprised by how much I enjoyed this new take on monk mysteries. Having seen "Father Ambrose" in the title, I didn't read the blurb and was expecting a historical novel. Having read all the classics I could get my hands on I am always looking for more. So despite my initial surprise, I was hooked by chapter 2! Who are these people with cell phones in a monastery? This was a completely different take on monk\nun sleuths and I'm in love! Emma Cyrus shows
Nov 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fun read

When Father Ambrose finds a trash bag in the peach orchard on their property with a girl's body in it, all neck breaks loose.
The sheriff and his deputies swarm the place to find evidence and preserve the body for autopsy. The community of New Life with its June and monks are not used to dealing with outsiders.
As the Father is drawn into the investigation and a monk is involved, it becomes a very interesting mystery for sure.
A new author and a lot of incite into the workings of community
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
A very good book, it begins a little slow, but soon enough it quickens its pace and you'll find yourself deeply immersed in the story.

The characters are interesting, and the plot well developed, whit some tiny dips into the occult (some minor visions which were had by two of the characters) and some religious aspect, as there are some characters who are visibly struggling with a spiritual facet in their lives.

A very interesting reading; I am really hoping to read more Father Ambrose stories.
Linda Haas
This book is so full of details that have nothing to do with the murder. The reader has to read all about this monastery in great detail. We even find out all about the sheriff’s home life even about what his wife is thinking. We don’t need to know this and it’s boring. After trying to get thru with this 350 page book I was hoping for some shocking ending but it was not to be. I wish new writers read and took a tip from Agatha Christie. She wrote 200 page books that were real page turners with c ...more
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC copy to read and review.
Been a fan and having read all Cadfael Chronicles I was excited about starting to read this book. This is a modern version of a type of monastery live not understood by everybody. The writer really does a good job in describing the conflicts that arise when you don't live like the mainstream populations.
Father Ambrose is a delightful person and I hope Emma Cyrus will continue with the series.
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Father Ambrose

Finished reading this book in one sitting. Cyrus does a great job making her characters sympathetic... even the bad guys. The storyline is engaging, Father Ambrose and Mother Frances are endearing, and the work of community --both within New Life and at large--is a compelling force.
Linda Hall
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gripping story

This is one of those books that holds your interest right to the end. A lot of insight into what makes people do what they do and why they do it. A reminder about how things can and do go wrong when you least expect it and a reminder than every action has consequences, intentional or not.

Nov 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a pretty good story, it was a little slow to start but the story kept moving along and it seemed to end very quickly. The characters are a little different then the usual , but found the likable and easy to follow. I received this as an advanced readers copy in exchange for an honest review. It is worth a read and will surprise and delight.
Lettie Marquis
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyable, but.....

I enjoyed this book for the most part. Flower really well and I read it almost straight through from the start.
The problem I had was since this was the 'first' Father Ambrose book, I had no idea what the religion (?) was about it even his character or the Abyss Francine.
Are they clairvoyant or just empathetic?
I'm sure I'll read another one.
Noni Barker
Jan 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite original in its setting and main characters. I liked the depictions of the changing relationships between the Abbot, the Sheriff, and the hard-nosed detective. I especially liked that the Abbot depended on the Mother Superior and the Sheriff depended on his wife for grounding, support, and wisdom.
Jackie Wolfred
Sep 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Life Without Shoes: The First Father Ambrose Mystery", by Emma Cyrus is an intriguing mystery story. Loved the developed characters and how their thoughts and actions are presented. I look forward to the next Father Ambrose Mystery.

I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.
Patricia A Skinner
Not well written

Characters were stiff and one dimensional. Also story line was more about meditation than a mystery. Would not recommend this book. Probably will not read anymore by this author.
Jan 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Poignant tale

Emma Cyrus stunningly created a tapestry of community, diversity, sweeping landscapes and small town mentalities. Those elements combined with love, greed and religious unrest have a monastic abbot helping a local sheriff track down clues to uncover a murderer.
Jane Catherine
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book more than I did because I admire Ambrose. But the good guys were too perfect and the bad guys too stupid. It was like an advertisement for the meditative life. Meditation was equated to a superpower, which maybe it is, but I didn’t buy it in this story.
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Interesting how an abbot can fit into a police investigation and make it come out right in the end, for both the police and the monastery. I’d recommend this to anyone who likes detective stories with a twist.
Life Without Shoes is a good first mystery for the author. She does a good job drawing the psychological side of her characters. I like the sense of community between the characters. Her characters have a spiritual side which I like.
Gabrialle Martin

The simplistic life of the monastery and the evil of a murder conflict and then compliment each other. I loved the characters and their development. I really enjoyed the insertion of each characters thoughts. A good read.
Denise McLachlan
Unique murder mystery

This was a good book, it was unique in the way all of the players worked together. Mysteries are my favorite and I enjoyed reading this book. I hope to read more from this author.
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good contemporary cosy mystery, despite what you might expect from the monastic setting. Although slow to begin, this is a nicely composed piece of work, and an interesting study of community supports the murder mystery element.
I received this book for free, and have voluntarily reviewed it.
Ruth Caves
Oct 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Very interesting story on many levels.
Despite the grossness of the murder I was pleasantly surprised that this wasn't really a gory tale.
The religious order running the farm added a special touch that actually made this a homier and less gruesome tale.
Yvonne Meyer
Dec 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Good Book

This book touches your emotions and heart. Father Ambrose is a very likeable character who tries to always do what's right. He is a peacemaker who tries to protect his flock and along the way discovers he likes solving puzzle by detecting.
Diane M. Day
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

The story line is consistent throughout the book. Characters are believable and the mystery is a who-done it. Great as a beach read.
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Emma was born in West Virginia and lived there until she was in high school, when her family moved to Pittsburgh. After high school, she went to Boston to go to college. She worked in different small and startup businesses until she moved into a yoga community in Pennsylvania. There, she’s worked on various projects and taught yoga.
She started the Father Ambrose series as a way of pulling together
“You set the standard, and they’ll come up to it.” 0 likes
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