Published by Brilliance Audio
Released on January 15, 2019
Source: Kindle Unlimited
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
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.
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