Title: The Innkeeper’s Sister (Honey Ridge #3)
Author: Linda Goodnight
Genre/Audience: Fiction, adult, contemporary
Publication: Harlequin, 2017
Source: For review, TLC Book Tours
I loved this book from the get go! It contained so many good things: mystery, love, family drama, and the South! Can’t go wrong with all that good stuff, right?!
The story takes place in Honey Ridge, Tennessee. Grayson Blake and his brother have returned home to renovate a historical gristmill into a restaurant – they’re in the business of flipping and renovating. While there, they stay at the Peach Orchard Inn which is run by Valery Carter and her sister. Grayson is taken aback when he recognizes her as the girl he used to have a crush on as a lovesick teen. When a skeleton is uncovered at the gristmill during renovations, we are taken back in time to the same place in 1875 where secrets were buried. We flip back and forth between then and the present day, where Valery has her own long held pain and secrets.
I didn’t know this was part of a series when I first picked it up, but I can assure you that it is easily read as a stand alone. That said, I am SUPER anxious to get my hands on the previous two books in the series because I enjoyed this one so much.
First off, if you know me, you know already how much I love all things Southern, country, and small town. This story captures that perfectly and I loved the setting immensely. I could picture myself there at the inn, enjoying the residents and small town feel. It further fueled the flames of my desire and dream to buy an old farmhouse out in the country. If you’re like me, you’ll also be pulled in by the setting and charm.
Secondly, there were so many layers to this story that it was just so intriguing. You have the present day story of Valery and Grayson. You see Valery grappling with some family trauma and then Grayson fighting off recurring feelings for his childhood crush. You also see him working his business with his brother and trying to ground his wild brother into making smart business decisions. Then you have this story line from the past of more family trauma in the Civil War era and a heartbreaking mystery.
I just really enjoyed this story and all of its complexities. It was more than I expected it to be and I was so pleasantly surprised. I was really drawn into the mysteries and drama, and that setting especially had me hooked. Highly recommended!