The Widow of Larkspur Inn (The Gresham Chronicles Book #1) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
Though the book opens in London, very little of the story is spent there. Julia Hollis, a well-to-do doctor's wife, has recently become a widow. After her husband passes away, Julia is told that he was a gambler and that pretty much everything needs to be sold... including her London home. Julia learns that she owns a property the bank deems as worthless: an old coaching inn in the small town of Gresham, which has been abandoned for the past eight years. She and her three children Philip, Aleda, and Grace move there, and Julia hopes to gain enough income to live on by making it into a boarding house.
I purchased this book because I thought it would be a romance. I actually would not consider it as such. There are three romances in the story, but each comprises only a very small portion of the 400+ pages. That said, I think the book itself is beautifully and excellently written. I consider this to be a wonderful slice-of-life kind of story.
What I like:
*The Christian aspect of it is very well done, in my opinion. I like how it shows Julia making brief prayers throughout her days. Later on in the book, it does become a bit more preachy, but it's in the context of a vicar helping a struggling believer.
*I loved the cast of varied and realistic characters.
What I didn't like:
*It's fine for a story to be a fiction rather than a romance. Some people definitely prefer that. But I still feel that one of the romances really needed to be given more time.
*I liked the story but feel that it needs a little more to keep the reader's interest. I like slow-paced stories, but I struggled with momentum a bit on this one. It took me almost two months to finish it.
This is a high quality Christian historical fiction. It's very clean and from that respect, it's appropriate for any age. I will try another Lawana Blackwell book before deciding whether she's one of "my authors."
The spiritual or religious references were plenty and blatant, but the story didn't feel at all preachy to me. I think anyone, no matter how non-religious they may be, who enjoys the classics and is not turned off by the religious references in them will find those in this book in keeping. For those who are seeking stories that do not stray out of a certain set of moral standards, this is a book for you, especially if you are also wanting a little romance and a window into village life in Victorian England.
I find very few novels written in the last 100 years to be worth the time it takes to read them. I looked forward to every moment I could spend reading this one. It does not have the wit of a book by Austen, the intensity of a Hardy novel, the quirkiness of Dickens, or the poignancy of George Eliot, but I would put it on the same shelf in my library.
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