Thursday, February 08, 2018

Review: The Undertaker's Daughter by Sara Blaedel

Title: The Undertaker's Daughter
Author: Sara Blaedel
Series: Ilka, #1
Published: February 2018, Grand Central Publishing
Format: ARC Paperback, 320 pages
Source: Publisher

Already widowed by the age of forty, Ilka Nichols Jensen, a school portrait photographer, leads a modest, regimented, and uneventful life in Copenhagen. Until unexpected news rocks her quiet existence: Her father–who walked out suddenly and inexplicably on the family more than three decades ago–has died. And he’s left her something in his will: his funeral home. In Racine, Wisconsin.

Clinging to this last shred of communication from the father she hasn’t heard from since childhood, Ilka makes an uncharacteristically rash decision and jumps on a plane to Wisconsin. Desperate for a connection to the parent she never really knew, she plans to visit the funeral home and go through her father’s things–hoping for some insight into his new life in America–before preparing the business for a quick sale.

But when she stumbles on an unsolved murder, and a killer who seems to still be very much alive, the undertaker’s daughter realizes she might be in over her head . .

My thoughts: This was one of my most anticipated books I picked up last Spring at BookExpo...and I was so excited that not only did I get it, but I got to see and chat with the lovely Sara Blaedel for a few minutes while getting this book signed. I just love her...she is so down-to-earth and friendly. 

This is the first book in a new series that Sara Blaedel is writing, a series that is set here in the United States and features a brand new set of characters. Ilka Jensen suddenly finds herself the owner of a funeral home after the death of her father, who she has not seen in more than three decades. She knows nothing about the funeral home business, nor does she know much about her father either, most importantly why he walked out on her and her mother so many years ago.

What I loved about this series is that, while there is still a mystery to be solved, it's a bit more character-driven than Blaedel's Louise Rick series, which is one of my favorite series. But that's ok...I really liked this first book and I liked that there is a lot of information in this book that we find out - especially about the differences between funerals in Denmark and the US...this was quite fascinating. The mystery, on the other hand, was a bit more quiet than we are used to with Blaedel's books. It was still intriguing and kept me interested, but was definitely not the focal point of this book.

As a first book in a new series, we are introduced to a whole host of new characters, some of which I imagine will stick around, and some that are just part of this first book. But boy oh boy, were there some interesting characters, and some that I think will be sticking around are quite mysterious and I look forward to delving deeper into their backgrounds. I really liked Ilka and found that her constant internal struggles throughout this book were real and relatable. This was a major upheaval for her and I could only imagine how I would react if I were ever to be in her situation.

I am really looking forward to reading the next book in this series...first, because I am curious as to where the series as a whole will go, and second, because this first book ends with a bit of a cliffhanger and I can't wait to see how it gets resolved! I sure hope book 2 comes out soon!!! 



  1. Sara Blaedel is an author I've really been wanting to read - especially now that I know that she's nice and down to earth! I'm glad this lived up to your expectations.

  2. There are three of her books available on Netgalley. I hope I get at least one of them! sounds intriguing.


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