Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Blog Tour Review: The Innkeeper's Sister by Linda Goodnight

From the Back Cover:

Welcome to Honey Ridge, Tennessee, where Southern hospitality and sweet peach tea beckon, and where long-buried secrets lead to some startling realizations

Grayson Blake always has a purpose and never a moment to lose. He's come home to Honey Ridge to convert a historic gristmill into a restaurant, but his plans crumble like Tennessee clay when the excavation of a skeleton unearths a Civil War mystery and leads him back to a beautiful and familiar stranger.

Once a ballet dancer, now co-owner of the Peach Orchard Inn, Valery Carter harbors pain as deep as the secrets buried beneath the mill. A bright facade can't erase her regrets any more than a glass of bourbon can restore what she's lost. But spending time with Grayson offers Valery a chance to let go of her past and imagine a happier future. And with the discovery of hidden messages in aged sheet music, both their hearts begin to open. Bound by attraction, and compelled to resolve an old crime that links the inn and the mill, Grayson and Valery encounter a song of hurt, truth, and hope. 

My Thoughts:

The Honey Ridge trilogy revolves around an old Tennessee farmhouse that has been converted into an inn and two families that have inhabited it: the Portlands in the nineteenth century and the Carters in the present day. Each book is presented in dual timeline format. The Portlands are presented during and after the Civil War, when the house was used as a Union hospital, and then as the South tried to put itself back together only to fall on hard times again with the crash of 1873. The Carters are a family still reeling from the disappearance of Julia's son, Mikey, from divorce, and from another dark secret that Valery, Julia's sister, has been holding close for many years. Each family copes with similar events--tragedy, hardship, relationship drama--and while their stories don't mirror each other completely, there are enough similarities and lasting consequences to form a connection. However, the Carters have a little help in dealing with their troubles since the spirits of the Portlands still inhabit the Peach Orchard Inn. They are friendly spirits whose calming influence helps ease heavy hearts and whose little nudges help the Carters piece together the history of the inn and find true love.

This final book focuses on Valery, the youngest Carter sister. Over the years she has earned a reputation as a party girl. She struggles with inner demons that drive her to drink away her pain, though in the process she ends up letting herself and her family down. When a boy from her youth returns to Honey Ridge, all grown up and ready to renovate the old gristmill across the road into a fancy restaurant, Valery discovers that there are still good men in the world, and though Grayson Blake is her polar opposite, she's never wanted to be so worthy of someone. Grayson had a crush on Valery as a teenager, but an illness robbed him of his youthful innocence and put him on the path of strictly regimented projects and timelines, both in business and in his personal life. But Valery turns his carefully constructed world upside down, and he finds himself wanting to live a little, to let go a little, and wonder if the future has something far different in mind for him than he'd imagined--if only Valery would open up to him and let him help her.

When excavation at the mill uncovers a skeleton dating to the Civil War, while at the same time Grayson discovers secret codes in sheet music composed by Patience Portland, one of the inn's earlier inhabitants, a mystery ensues, one that Valery and Grayson enjoy solving together with the help of a mysterious old man who seems to know much more than should be humanly possible. Back in 1875, Ben Portland, the new owner of the inn, is seeking to correct an old injustice, and in the process uncovers a dark family secret, one that could mean the ruination of his beloved aunt--and one that still has repercussions in the present day. As Valery realizes the similarities between her own story and that of Patience, she must come to terms with her own dark secret and find the strength to let it go if she ever wants a chance at happiness.

I picked up the first book in this series, The Memory House, on sale and read it before reading The Innkeeper's Sister. I think I probably did miss a few things in the historical story line from book two, The Rain Sparrow, but the modern-day focus was not on the Carter sisters, whose stories are bookended by the first and third books. So I would definitely recommend at least reading book one before reading this final book to ground yourself in the story world and to learn about the history of the inn, the Portlands who owned it in the nineteenth century, and the dynamics of the present-day Carter family.

Overall, I found these books to be on the light side, a little fluffy, kind of cheesy in parts, but featuring romances that kept me turning the pages and historical mysteries that kept me guessing to the end. Though at times these stories deal with depressing subjects, in the end they are very uplifting and hopeful. I cried at the end of The Innkeeper's Sister, and it was that extra bit of emotional punch for both the present and past stories that edged this one out to a slightly higher rating than book one. Compelling, emotional, and uplifting, these stories make for pleasant summer reading.

My Rating:  4 Stars out of 5

The Innkeeper's Sister is on a blog tour!

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  1. Thanks for the review. Sounds very intriguing.

  2. This historical sounds memorable and fascinating. Thanks for your excellent review. The characters and the plot interest me greatly.

  3. The book sounds fascinating, and I love the pretty cover. I really enjoyed the review.

  4. The fact that the book brought you to tears in the end says a lot about how much the author was able to get you invested in the characters!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.


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