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Posts Tagged ‘Southern Romance’

THE INNKEEPER’S SISTER: A Southern Romance and Historic Mystery Novel ~Linda Goodnight

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

THE INNKEEPER’S SISTER is certainly a wonderful beach read and I tucked it into my gear for a long weekend of wave watching and page turning.  I am not a great fan of Southern Romance and yet Goodnight’s characters are quite real and not so sticky sweet and the historic mystery was a nice glimpse into the reconstruction period after the Civil War.  (It did not omit that slavery was an issue – thank goodness for that)

About the Author:

“NY Times and USA Bestseller, Linda Goodnight writes novels to touch the heart as well as to entertain. Her emotional stories of hope have won the RITA, the Carol, the Reviewer’s Choice, and numerous other industry awards. A small town girl, Linda remains close to her roots, making her home in rural Oklahoma. She and husband have a blended family of eight, including two teenagers recently adopted from Ukraine. Many of her books are about family and children and rightly so, as she draws her deeply emotional stories from her surroundings, her great love of family, and from personal experiences as a nurse and teacher.” (TLC book tours page)

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THE INNKEEPER’s SISTER is also about recovery after a child has been abducted and how life goes on years later.  Two sisters have purchased an old orchard and have refurbished with skill the house into a stunning bed and breakfast.  This gives them purpose and vision and keeps Julie moving ahead and making new plans.  For Valerie it is not so important to her and she understands the value of the endeavor, but she longed to be a professional dancer and now she cannot move ahead in that direction.  She has started using alcohol to cope with her secrets and continue to hide.

Grayson Blake is a developer and he and his brother find old landmarks to refurbish and turn into 5 star restaurants.   He has come to Honey Ridge and Old Peach Orchard to revitalize an old Mill and develop a new destination restaurant.  The new construction is halted because a pile of bones has been discovered in the basement of the mill near the water wheel.   Grayson stays at the bed and breakfast and reconnects with a high school friend.  Together they find old sheet music that is actually a code that leads to some answers about the mystery and the history of the farm.

The Civil War elements of the story expose the new possibilities for the former slaves and share the details of the farm’s own love story and the role of the house as a hospital for soldiers.  Very interesting.

Over the years of reviewing books, I have read another of Linda Goodnight’s stories and thought it was quite good.  There is a caring quality to the stories and some down to earth good solutions to problems.  Time does not heal all wounds but it is certainly part of the recovery process.

I think many folks will enjoy this story and the gentle touch of the author.

Related:
The Rain Sparrow
Becalmed
Where We Fall

THE HIDEAWAY: A First Novel ~Lauren K. Denton

Monday, April 17th, 2017

THE HIDEAWAY turned out to be a hard story for me to review.  I need to start with my disclaimer:  I worked in Alabama for a short period of time.  I was never in my life treated as rudely by the people of Alabama in my entire life.  I met several amazing women and lawyers while I was there, and I left with lasting memories of heat, sweat and unhappy human beings – I will never forget and this story was about some of those kinds of people.

We have a sweet Southern story about a lovely retreat location called Sweet Bay.  THE HIDEAWAY is two love stories, one from long ago; you know, the 1960s and one more contemporary.  It is the perfect beach read and the author loves reading at the beach.  She knows her locations.  The read is slow, interesting and well paced for a leisurely afternoon.  The early characters are charming and a bit rebellious; they are developed throughout the whole read as the stories go from Grandmother to Granddaughter chapter to chapter.

“When her grandmother’s will wrenches Sara back home from New Orleans, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever did in life.”

Maggie was a good Southern white girl and she married for money and then found out that her charming spouse was sleeping around.  After three years of this kind of abuse she packs her car and leaves for somewhere else and discovers THE HIDEAWAY.  There she discovers her work in caring for the house and the B & B tenants, who are primarily artists.  The house is losing money for the owner who leaves it to Maggie in a whirlwind departure.  Maggie falls in love with a woodworker who builds furniture.  She is loyal to the end of her life to her love and THE HIDEAWAY.

Sara lives with her Grandmother Maggie but does not appreciate her differences and her unique rebellious nature.  She discovers her Grandmother’s truth as she spruces up THE HIDEAWAY leaving her home decorating business to a friend’s care in New Orleans.  She falls in love with a carpenter.  Lots of wood and tree descriptions fill the story and the reader wonders casually about the synchronicity or the symbolism wrapped up in the “beauty” of it all.

TLC Book Tours  sent an advanced copy of THE HIDEAWAY for review.  It was an early PDF copy and it needed more editing.  My favorite blooper in the copy I received – made me laugh out loud!

“Mitch sat in the chair next to me, emptied when the previous occupant excused himself to go to the ladies’ room.”

I did not care for the main contemporary character – Sara.  She did not have the spunk or charisma of her Grandmother and she was just so sweet she nearly dripped with her charm.  She could not really connect with her Grandmother and did not try – though she appeared to like her and phoned her to check in sometimes – she feels entitled.  Sara is totally dependent on the males in her life to make decisions except about furniture and remodeling.  She has no depth perception – not a clue.  Everyone needed to help her right to the end.  I am sure she voted against women on her ballot; Sara needed men.  I know several folks who will like this book very much, I on the other hand was happy to come to the last page of THE HIDEAWAY

Lauren K. Denton:

Born and raised in Mobile, Alabama, Lauren K. Denton now lives with her husband and two daughters in Homewood, just outside Birmingham. In addition to her fiction, she writes a monthly newspaper column about life, faith, and how funny (and hard) it is to be a parent. On any given day, she’d rather be at the beach with her family and a stack of books. The Hideaway is her first novel.

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Related:
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My Sweet Vidalia

WHERE WE FALL: A Novel ~Rochelle B. Weinstein

Thursday, April 21st, 2016

TLC Book Tours sent me a copy of WHERE WE FALL for review and I enjoyed reading this book.  Very nice Southern Romance with a good premise.  I lived for several years in North Carolina and YES, the countryside is amazingly beautiful and written about with style in this story.

The story line is good and interesting and the descriptions just right to encourage a visit to the beauty of North Carolina.  It is a Southern Romance within the tradition of Southern Romance and providing   a creative story concept making it quite interesting.  We have 2 women friends who are looking to be connected to a man who is the perfect Southern Gentleman.  We all want to be loved and to love.   We have the perfect gentleman character, who is a prize catch and also a high school football coach.

Abby and Lauren are college roommates and best friends.  Ryan falls in love with Lauren and the three become great friends.  Lauren and Ryan share that kind of perfect love and are probably “soul mates”  – a nice touch.  Abby has problems with social anxiety and enjoys being the “fifth wheel” in their amazing friendship.

Lauren shows some spunk and determination to photograph and see some amazing waterfalls.  She takes a graduate program and then takes off to photograph the world’s waterfalls.  Ryan is being patient with her travels and endeavors until his Father dies and he is devastated.  No one can get a hold of Lauren, in time.

Abby takes over the role of caregiver and Ryan and she marry and have a daughter.

The novel is full of missed communications and omitted discussions.  Friends do not share with each other, mother and daughter do not have real conversations and Abby’s anxiety begins to control her life and she ends up with a full deep mental illness.  It takes all of Abby’s ability and control to enter a mental health facility and within six weeks the lives are changed and a loving resolution is possible.

As I was introducing myself at a new class, we all shared our favorite reads, I noticed that 6 women stated that this was their favorite kind of read and how they liked the escape.  This book should find some good readers.

I found the writing elementary in style and found several sentences that just seemed random within their paragraphs.  I did receive an uncorrected e- copy, but these slips just stopped the flow.  Dialogue was quite good and moved the story well.  I felt sad that the daughter was repeating the “perfect man” scenario of her parents even though she was so young.    Lauren and Abby both seemed rather boring and Ryan was just too perfect and responsible.  The characters could not change; they were just stuck in the behaviors they had chosen – locked in.  It took pills and a therapist to get them to resolution and to move into their best interest.

“Rochelle B. Weinstein is the author of THE MOURNING AFTER and WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND.  A former entertainment industry executive, she lives in south Florida with her husband, twin boys and two dogs.“

www.rochelleweinstein.com

As I write this review the Kindle edition of WHERE WE FALL is free on Amazon.

Related:
Becalmed
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Our Love Could Light The World