- Author Carolyn Brown
- Release Date January 15, 2019
- Publisher Montlake Romance
- ISBN/ASIN 9781503904392
- Our Rating
- Reviewed by Jo
THE MAGNOLIA INN is a stand-alone book by Carolyn Brown, but I would love to revisit the Inn and catch up with all the characters, maybe in a holiday novella (hint, hint). The book was initially slow-going for me since Jolene was feeling sorry for herself. She’s still angry with her deceased mother’s drinking and resulting actions, as well as those of an old boyfriend who also drank to excess. Her potential partner in the Inn, Reuben, who was her uncle’s nephew, was a nasty piece of work.
Once the pace picked up and I got to the heart of the story it was a quick and fast-paced read. Jolene got her act together and found her niche with her aunt’s friends, her new job as a bartender at Dotty’s honky-tonk bar, and with Tucker, the grieving and often drunken widower, who became her partner in the Inn. The Inn and its renovations that needed to be done to reopen it was a life-saver for both of them! The characters were well developed and I loved how Tucker’s deceased wife came back to others in their dreams or at random times to let them know what she was thinking. It could have been morbid or sappy but I didn’t find it either. Dotty, Lucy and Flossie, along with Jolene’s Aunt Sugar, are sisters of the heart as Brown calls them, and I loved all their wisdom but their gossiping too! It was a nice touch to include Tucker’s wife’s family in the story and not just as fluff.
There were more tears than laugh out loud moments but the story flowed nicely from their small town in Texas to the road trip travels of Jolene’s aunt and uncle as they took to the road in their new RV. They were still part of the story line and were voices of reason throughout. There were wonderful descriptions of the town, the businesses, the Inn, as it gets a new life, and Sugar and Jasper’s travels. I felt like I was there! There were several happily-ever-afters even with some sadness thrown in. I loved the epilogue that takes place eighteen months later and that it nicely tied up the loose ends.
Ms. Brown has fast become a favorite author. I have many of her books in my always growing TBR pile! I can’t wait to see where she takes me next.