Lucie's Review: This book brings to life a small village in England, full of colorful characters whose lives intersect and intertwine.
Upon the death of her husband, Jane becomes the owner of the local inn. When she realizes how many people depend on the inn, she becomes determined to do what she can to keep it open.
Jane's friend, Mercy, runs a school for girls alongside her aunt, and she encourages Jane to save the inn herself instead of selling it. She invites Jane to the Ladies Tea and Knitting Society, which is a meeting of all the local business women.
This book has many characters, and many storylines to follow about the women in the village, and it reminded me a lot of Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell. This book tells the story of a historical English village through the eyes of the women who live there. It takes a while to figure out who everyone is at first, but is lush with detail description and great dialog.
I loved the relationship between Jane and Thora, who is Jane's mother-in-law, and how it grows and changes over the course of the book. Thora returns from living with her sister, to find the inn in trouble, due in part to the fact that Talbot has left.
Talbot was the manager of the inn, but he left when he inherited his family's farm. But he is more than happy to lend a hand t help them out, especially since he has admired Thora since the death of her husband.
James Drake becomes Jane's rival, he stays at the inn and offers advice on how to improve the inn before acquiring her childhood home and opening a rival inn. Suddenly the two inns are competing for the Royal Mail route.
Gabriel Locke has more to him than what meets the eye, he is works with the horses that stay at the inn. but proves to be a good friend helping Jane where he can, as does Sir Timothy, Jane's childhood friend.
I loved the real sense of community that I got from reading this book, and the wonderful women and men that make up this town. Decidedly different in tone than previous books by this author that I had enjoyed, and at first I was definitely unsure, but by the end I realized that I had thoroughly enjoyed this read.
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