Review: The Magnolia Inn by Carolyn Brown #TGPUL2019

Posted February 17, 2019 by Sophia Rose in Audio Book, Reviews / 8 Comments

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Review: The Magnolia Inn by Carolyn Brown #TGPUL2019
The Magnolia Inn
Narrated by Brittany Pressley

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
two-flames

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Western Romance
Published by Brilliance Audio
Released on January 15, 2019
Format: Audiobook
Source: Kindle Unlimited
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The Delight

Two broke, grieving people share an ownership in an old Victorian inn.  Between the magic of the inn and the friendship that grows between them, they might both find a chance at forgiveness, healing, and love.  A bit of country charm, a group of sassy friends, and a sweet, simple story are what draws me back time and again to this author’s books and an engaging, familiar narrator.

The Great Pick Up Line

Startled, Jolene whipped around so fast that she nearly fell off the swing. “Who are you and what are you doin’ here?”… “Right friendly, ain’t you?” Sarcasm dripped from the man’s tone.

“I’m sorry. You scared me.  Is this your cat?  How did you get here?”

“Drove my truck right up the lane and parked my trailer in that little clearing by the bayou.” His deep drawl left no doubt that he was definitely from Texas.  He topped six feet easily in his well-worn cowboy boots.  His hair was dark and the porch light lit up his piercing blue eyes.

“We don’t have a trailer park.” How had he gotten past the house without her hearing his truck?

“Nope, don’t reckon you do.” he sat down on the porch step, and the cat hopped off the swing and went to curl up in his lap.

“Then what are you doing here?” she asked again.  “Would you like to rent a room?”

“Nope, but I wouldn’t mind a tour of the house.” he said.

“Why would I do that?” her fear radar shot up several notches.

“Because, honey, I’m Tucker Malone and I own half of this place now- or at least I will on Friday when I sign the papers.”

The Magnolia Inn by Carolyn Brown, pp. 13-14,  Jolene and Tucker

Review

The Magnolia Inn, a crossover between women’s fiction and contemporary romance is a standalone story.  It deals with such sad elements of death, grieving, substance abuse, family, friendships, and letting go of the past and guilt.

Whenever I see a pair, who are disgruntled and barely acquaintances, but have that special spark, forced to work together in a gently-paced, slow burn friends to lovers, I know I’m going to have a good time.

Jolene Broussard inherits half of the old Magnolia Inn from her aunt and uncle and ends up gaining a business partner when her cousin sells his share to Tucker Malone.  Tucker might be the best handy man in the area and a partner who sees the potential in the Magnolia like she does, but he gets drunk at least once a week and isn’t over his wife’s death.  Jolene has had enough of supporting and enabling drunks from her mother to her ex-boyfriend and she sure isn’t willing to coddle another one.

But, with the support of her aunt’s three old friends and her own daily experience seeing that Tucker is not her mom or her ex though he surely does fight his own demons, she realizes that Tucker isn’t the only one who needs to get over some pain, guilt and anger.

Slowly, but surely the old inn is refurbished and the pair find they are friends and they both start to look toward the future.  If only they can let go of the past.

Unlike her straight up cowboy romances, this one focuses on the process of letting go, friendships, and then romance.  There is lots of time with the three older ladies who are a sassy trio, renovation work that helps Jolene and Tucker form a friendship which lets them talk over what is on their hearts, and even resolving unfinished business with the ghosts of their past through mental conversations with those dead and gone.  Things ease along rather than run straight to the romance.

I enjoyed the story I got.  The work, the people, the friendships, and the everyday feel.  It was hard seeing how much pain and waste the alcohol caused, but I was glad to see that it wasn’t quickly swept under the rug or treated lightly.  Jolene was the child of an alcoholic and Tucker lost his job because of it and uses it to self-medicate away his grief and loss.  My heart broke for them and I was cheering them on to get through it.

Brittany Pressley is a great match for group who were mostly Texan with one of the older ladies, Dotty having some Cajun.  She paced well with the story and had a good grasp of the tone needed through each change of emotion and situation.  Her work enhanced the story and I enjoy that she does several of Brown’s books.

All in all, this was a comfy, heartwarming story with a satisfying romantic ending.  Those who enjoy women’s fic crossed with contemporary romance set in a small town should try this one.

My thanks to Brilliance Audio for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges

New Release #9
Literary Pickers #26 No people on cover
Books N Tunes #6 Mary Chapin Carpenter’s I Feel Lucky
Audio #8

Recommendations

  

About Carolyn Brown

Hi! I’m twenty five years old and movie star gorgeous. The camera added thirty plus years and a few wrinkles. Can’t trust those cameras or mirrors either. Along with bathroom scales they are notorious liars! Honestly, I am the mother of three fantastic grown children who’ve made me laugh and given me more story ideas than I could ever write. My husband, Charles, is my strongest supporter and my best friend. He’s even willing to eat fast food and help with the laundry while I finish one more chapter! Life is good and I am blessed!

Reading has been a passion since I was five years old and figured out those were words on book pages. As soon as my chubby little fingers found they could put words on a Big Chief tablet with a fat pencil, I was on my way. Writing joined reading in my list of passions. I will read anything from the back of the Cheerio’s box to Faulkner and love every bit of it. In addition to reading I enjoy cooking, my family and the ocean. I love the Florida beaches. Listening to the ocean waves puts my writing brain into high gear.

I love writing romance because it’s about emotions and relationships. Human nature hasn’t changed a bit since Eve coveted the fruit in the Garden of Eden. Settings change. Plots change. Names change. Times change. But love is love and men and women have been falling in and out of it forever. Romance is about emotions: love, hate, anger, laughter… all of it. If I can make you laugh until your sides ache or grab a tissue then I’ve touched your emotions and accomplished what every writer sets out to do.

I got serious about writing when my third child was born and had her days and nights mixed up. I had to stay up all night anyway and it was very quiet so I invested in a spiral back notebook and sharpened a few pencils. The story that emerged has never sold but it’s brought in enough rejection slips to put the Redwood Forest on the endangered list. In 1997 Kensington bought two books for their Precious Gems line. Two years and six books later the line died with only four of those books seeing publication. But by then Avalon had bought a book and another, and another. Ten years later the list has grown to thirty nine. Last year Sourcebooks bought the Lucky Series which is in the bookstores now. They’ve also bought The Honky Tonk Series which will debut with I LOVE THIS BAR in June and will be followed by HELL, YEAH, MY GIVE A DAMN’S BUSTED, and HONKY TONK CHRISTMAS.

Folks ask me where I get my ideas. Three kids, fifteen grandchildren, two great grandchildren. Note: I was a very young grandmother! Life is a zoo around here when they all come home. In one Sunday afternoon there’s enough ideas to keep me writing for years and years. Seriously, ideas pop up at the craziest times. When one sinks its roots into my mind, I have no choice but to write the story. And while I’m writing the characters peek over my shoulder and make sure I’m telling it right and not exaggerating too much. Pesky little devils, they are!

I have a wonderful agent, Erin Niumata, who continues to work magic and sell my work. I’m very lucky to have her and my editors who continue to believe in me.

Happy reading!

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Rachel @Waves of Fictionherding catsStephanie Jane (Literary Flits)Sophia RoseVanessa Recent comment authors
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Vanessa
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Sounds like a perfect summer read Sophia Rose <3

Sophia Rose
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Yes! It would definitely be that, Vanessa!

Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
Guest

This sounds like a much deeper story than I would have expected from the synopsis. I love that older characters get a good role to play too

Sophia Rose
Guest

Yes, her women’s fic crossovers do tend to hit the deeper end of the pool. Ha, yes, her seniors are a hoot. Life does not end at 70 for them. It’s just getting started. 🙂

herding cats
Guest

Oh I’d been eyeing this one on my KU list since I only have 10 days left. Good to know it’s not a straight romance. That would have been a surprise for me going in. Sounds like a great job on the emotional front.

Sophia Rose
Guest

This is a good one. It’s definitely got a strong romance, but it’s just not the only strong element. 🙂 I think you’d have a good time with it.

Rachel @Waves of Fiction
Guest

You know I’m a fan of Carolyn’s stories, too! I just haven’t had the chance to get to this one yet! I do love her sassy old ladies, and I’ll be sure to be patient for the romance to develop. 🙂

Sophia Rose
Guest

Oh yes, this was a good one. I think you’ll enjoy it, Rachel. They have good chemistry from the beginning. 🙂