LIFE’S FLAVORS 8/4- ALLISON LIBBY-THESING OF THE OAKS BED & BREAKFAST

The Hideaway

By Lauren K Denton

Thomas Nelson

352 pages, $10.29 (Amazon)

5 stars

I was drawn to this book originally because the setting was in a Bed and Breakfast. You never know how authors are going to portray a bed and breakfast, so I wanted to see what this one was going to be all about. I would have to say after reading this story, the portrayal of this particular bed and breakfast is non-traditional.

Sara returns to her hometown of Sweet Bay, Alabama after the passing of her last known living relative, her grandmother Mags. Mags was an eccentric woman who ran and managed a bed and breakfast for years, but her past was not a clear as Sara previously thought.

Like many people who leave their hometowns after finishing high school, Sara has no desire to return and live in her hometown. She is looking to quickly settle her grandmother’s estate until she learns that she is set to inherit the run-down bed and breakfast where she lived.

Sara currently lives in New Orleans where she runs a successful antique shop that consumes her life. Instead of fully living her life she is driven by running her business and staying away from home and her past as much as she can. Happily for her, the death of her grandmother helps her to realize that maybe a little change of pace and coming home will not be the worse plan for her.

Upon returning to Sweet Bay to settle her grandmother’s estate, since her parents were killed in a car accident when she was a child, the task is left to her. The residents of the bed and breakfast accept the circumstances and help to bring the building back to its former glory with the assistance of a local builder/restorer.

While clearing rooms of their contents and seeing what furniture is salvageable for future use, or to sell, or for disposal, Sara discovers pieces of her grandmother’s past that she never knew about. She has a hard time unraveling the truth with only the small amount of information that she has access too.

The characters in this story are engaging and heartfelt. You can feel their connection to each other throughout the story. You want the best for the whole group and for them to learn about the past to make the present better. Sara is so used to running away, that when the chance to stay presents itself, she reacts the same way and runs again. She finally realizes that running might not be the best way to preserve her grandmother’s memory and legacy.

This is the debut novel for Lauren Denton and was wonderfully done. She pulled the story together well, mixing the past and present to draw the reader in and keep them wanting to come back for more. Overall, it’s a heartwarming story about love, family, choices, secrets and loss. An easy read at any point.

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