Title: The Memory House by Linda Goodnight
Honey Ridge Series Book One
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
New York Times bestselling author Linda Goodnight welcomes you to Honey Ridge, Tennessee, and a house that’s rich with secrets and brimming with sweet possibilities
Memories of motherhood and marriage are fresh for Julia Presley—though tragedy took away both years ago. Finding comfort in the routine of running the Peach Orchard Inn, she lets the historic, mysterious place fill the voids of love and family. No more pleasure of a man’s gentle kiss. No more joy in hearing a child call her Mommy. Life is calm, unchanging…until a stranger with a young boy and soul-deep secrets shows up in her Tennessee town and disrupts the loneliness of her world.
Julia suspects there’s more to Eli Donovan’s past than his motherless son, Alex. There’s a reason he’s chasing redemption and bent on earning it with a new beginning in Honey Ridge. Offering the guarded man work renovating the inn, she glimpses someone who—like her—has a heart in need of restoration. But with the chance discovery of a dusty stack of love letters buried within the lining of an old trunk, the long-dead ghosts of a Civil War romance envelop Julia and Eli, connecting them to the inn’s violent history and challenging them both to risk facing yesterday’s darkness for a future bright with hope and healing.
The Memory House by Linda Goodnight is a heartfelt novel of redemption, forgiveness and healing. This beautifully written story has two gentle and sweet romances that take place in two different time periods, but they both tie together in the present at a renovated plantation which is now a Bed and Breakfast. It is a very charming novel with very light supernatural elements that I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend.
In the present, Julia Presley is still deeply mourning the loss of her son six years earlier, but opening the B&B with her sister Valery has given her a measure of peace. She is slowly rebuilding the life that slipped away during her deep depression after losing her son Mikey and she loves taking care the visitors that stay at the Peach Orchard Inn. While she and Valery completed many of the renovations on their property, there is still work that needs to be in some of the outlying buildings and she agrees to newcomer Eli Donovan’s offer to complete the project at a steep discount along with room and board.
Eli and Julia are both struggling to overcome the tragedies of their respective pasts. Julia is a little further along in the healing process while Eli is just beginning to pick up the pieces of his tattered life. Both are keeping secrets but Eli’s are much more serious and could have a detrimental effect on Julia’s emotional well being and her B&B. Right away, Eli is forced to admit the reason he is town is his young son Alex and while Julia is dismayed at this revelation, she allows him to continue working for her. But it is not until unforeseen circumstances force Eli to take more responsibility for Alex that true healing begins for Eli, Alex and surprisingly, Julia.
In the past, Charlotte Reed Portland finds her life upended when Union soldiers arrive at the plantation where she lives with her husband and young son, Benjamin. She unexpected finds common ground with Captain William “Will” Gadsden as they work together nursing his wounded men. Their feelings for one another soon run much deeper than friendship but there seems to be no future for them since Charlotte is married and Will eventually returns to battle. Will and Charlotte secretly exchange letters that Julia and Eli discover during the B&B renovations and they are both captivated by the Civil War era romance that has a few parallels to the difficulties they are currently experiencing.
Although Linda Goodnight tackles some very serious topics in The Memory House, the novel is surprisingly free of angst and very uplifting. The storyline is hopeful as both Julia and Eli break free from the sorrow of their pasts while they unexpectedly find love. Their romance is sweet and while it is slow growing, this makes their relationship more believable. All in all, it is an immensely satisfying journey of healing and redemption that fans of contemporary romances are sure to love.