Wednesday, August 16, 2017

TLC Book Tours Book Tours Book Review with Excerpt: The Innkeeper's Secret

About The Innkeeper’s Sister

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: HQN Books (July 25, 2017)
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.
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Excerpt: Valery had always been a free spirit, maybe a little on the wild side, although that was the skewed view of a fifteen-year-old adolescent who’d seen her kissing a college boy at the July Fourth fireworks display. He’d been crushed.

He moved to the enormous stainless-steel fridge and found the cream, poured a dollop and leaned back against the gran­ite counter to sip. “Excellent brew.”

“Are you a coffee snob?”

“Not at all. You?”

She shook her head. “My sister is. Only the best for our guests, freshly ground and carefully brewed.”

He saluted with the cup. “This guest appreciates it.”

She treated him to a smile, soft around the edges. “Catch me up, Grayson. What have you been doing since I saw you last?”

“Nothing special. Went to college. Started a business. And here I am.”

She pulled open a cabinet and took out a large oblong cas­serole dish, then moved to the refrigerator for eggs, milk and ham. “I’m sure there’s more to the story than school and busi­ness.”

A few broken, insignificant relationships and membership in too many business organizations weren’t scintillating con­versation. “Sadly, no. What about you?”

She lifted a shoulder, focused on the casserole. “The usual small-town tale. Julia and I bought this house and became innkeepers.”

She didn’t sound all that thrilled about it either.

A memory of her niggled at the back of his brain, but he was too tired and hungry to bring it forward. Maybe later he’d remember what she was leaving out.

“The attention to detail in this renovation is exceptional. Do it yourself or hire it done?”

“Most of it on our own. The property is an ongoing project, but the inn itself is complete. The work was hard and time-consuming, but Julia’s better now, and that’s what mattered.”

Before he could ask what she meant, the blue-speckled dog ambled into the kitchen and looked up at Valery.

“What are you doing in here?” she asked and then to Grayson, “He must have come inside searching for Alex when Mama left. He’s lost without his boy.”

Grayson tilted his head in question.

“Alex, my sister’s stepson. He’s seven now and such a little sweetheart. That dog watches him as if he’s afraid he’ll dis­appear, too.”


She shot him a look, bit her full bottom lip. “Everyone in Honey Ridge knows, so I forget that guests don’t. Julia’s son was abducted nearly nine years ago and never found. Mikey.”

He lowered the coffee mug.

“Seriously? Abducted here in Honey Ridge?” The town where kids hung out in the park, rode bikes all over town and chased lightning bugs long after dark? Or they had when he was a boy.

“Unbelievable, isn’t it? We’ve never given up hope but…” Her voice drifted away, leaving the worst unsaid. Nine years was too long.

Grayson pushed off the counter and moved closer. “I’m re­ally sorry.”

“Thank you. It was horrible for all of us, but especially Julia.” She slathered butter on a stack of bread slices. “Still is, of course.”

“Not something you’d get over.”

“No. But she recently remarried and is finally happy again. Eli’s a good man.”

He sipped, held the cup close to his lips and watched her over the rim. “What about you? You’re still a Carter, and I don’t see a ring.”

She placed the bread into the pan in perfect rows, the way his grandmother had laid out quilting blocks. “Single and not looking.”

“I hear that.”

Review: Linda Goodnight is one of my favorite "Inspirational" writers. I have always loved her books from the Love Inspired line. This book is the third in the Honey Ridge series. I wish I would have found this series sooner, because I really like the town.

It is definitely one that can be read as a stand alone, so you don't have to worry about feeling lost.

It's part mystery and part romance that mixes contemporary and historical elements. These are my favorite types of books too and it is so well written that you won't have a preference between the two tales.

I loved Grayson and Valery's story. It was a slow growing love, which always works best in these types of books. Both characters have issues from their past that need to be resolved. Valery is a character who has things that need to be dealt with. Lots of things. Things you wouldn't expect to find in a novel by a "Christian fiction" writer.

I have to admit I'm surprised at how "real" Linda made Valery. You don't see many heroines in Christian novels have drinking problems and Valery is drinking to take away her pain. The pain is part of her mystery. You get little snippets of what it might be, but it takes awhile to find out what happened and when you! You really feel sorry for her. She is a woman that is holding so much inside, and it is killing her psyche.

I loved the historical aspect of the story as well. It was really fascinating to discover how the body came to be inside the old mill. In doing that you learn more about the family that once owned Peach Orchard during the days after the Civil War.

This is really a lovely read.

Rating: 5 flowers


Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for featuring this excerpt for the tour!

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