Title: The Innkeeper’s Sister by Linda Goodnight
Honey Ridge Series Book Three
Publisher: HQN Books
Genre: Contemporary/Historical, Women’s Fiction
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Welcome to Honey Ridge, Tennessee, where Southern hospitality and sweet peach tea beckon, and where long-buried secrets lead to some startling realizations…
Grayson Blake always has a purpose—and never a moment to lose. He’s come home to Honey Ridge to convert a historic gristmill into a restaurant, but his plans crumble like Tennessee clay when the excavation of a skeleton unearths a Civil War mystery…and leads him back to a beautiful and familiar stranger.
Once a ballet dancer, now co-owner of the Peach Orchard Inn, Valery Carter harbors pain as deep as the secrets buried beneath the mill. A bright facade can’t erase her regrets any more than a glass of bourbon can restore what she’s lost. But spending time with Grayson offers Valery a chance to let go of her past and imagine a happier future. And with the discovery of hidden messages in aged sheet music, both their hearts begin to open. Bound by attraction, and compelled to resolve an old crime that links the inn and the mill, Grayson and Valery encounter a song of hurt, truth…and hope.
In Linda Goodnight’s The Innkeeper’s Sister, events from the past and present are interwoven into another marvelous addition to the heartwarming Honey Ridge series.
Valery Carter was instrumental in pulling her sister Julia from despair, but she is helpless when it comes to ending her own self-destructive behavior. Haunted by a long ago decision and plagued with guilt in the aftermath of a terrible loss, she vows time and again to change her coping mechanisms. Valery is continually frustrated when her attempts to discuss her issues with someone near to her heart never seem to accomplish anything except to distress both of them. She is quite surprised by her attraction to guest Grayson Blake since he is nothing like the men she usually dates. Shamed by the mistakes she has made and her own disappointment to control her unhealthy coping methods, will Valery decide to give him (and their relationship) a chance?
Unlike his fun-loving brother and business partner Devlin, Grayson is a workaholic who likes a well-ordered life. He takes their business very seriously and he is very concerned about keeping their projects on time and in budget. Grayson is not one to take risks and despite his irritation at how their current renovation came about, he is committed to making it a success. Chafing at the delay after an unexpected discovery on the grounds of the Civil War era grist mill brings their work to a hopefully short-lived halt, Grayson surprises himself by spending time with Valery. Will this out of character willingness to take a step back from his busy life provide him with the opportunity for an unexpected romance?
Equally compelling are the chapters which flashback to the Portland family and son Benjamin’s post-Civil War decision to follow through with a promise he made to his beloved childhood companion Tandy. Over his family’s strenuous objections, he sets to locate out Tandy but will this endeavor culminate in heartache? And what, if any, connection does the grist mill discovery in the present have to do with the events that played out in the long ago past?
The Innkeeper’s Sister is another heartfelt novel of healing, new beginnings and love. The cast of well-drawn characters is appealing and the problems they are attempting to overcome will resonate with anyone who has ever made a choice they later regret. The romance between Grayson and Valery is slow-growing and although Valery has rather serious issues to work through, Grayson is always supportive despite her occasional missteps. The peek into the post-Civil War life is quite fascinating and offers an insightful look into difficulties Southerners endured long after their defeat. Linda Goodnight skillfully weaves together storylines from both the past and the present into a compelling novel that old and new readers of the Honey Ridge series will love.