Inheriting the Magnolia Inn, a Victorian home nestled in the East Texas pines, is a fantasy come true for Jolene Broussard. After living with the guilt of failing to rescue her self-destructive mother, Jolene knows her aunt and uncle’s B&B is the perfect jump start for a new life and a comforting place to call home. There’s just one hitch: stubborn and moody carpenter Tucker Malone. He’s got a half interest in the Magnolia Inn, and he’s planting his dusty cowboy boots squarely in the middle of her dream.
Ever since his wife’s death, Tucker’s own guilt and demons have left him as guarded as Jolene. The last thing he expects is for his new partner to stir something inside him he thought was gone forever. And as wary as Jolene is, she may have found a kindred spirit—someone she can help, and someone she can hold on to.
Restoring the Magnolia Inn is the first step toward restoring their hearts. Will they be able to let go of the past and trust each other to do it together?
Without doubt, Carolyn Brown is my go-to girl for all things sweet romance, small town life, and generally good writing. While I feel that way about her books in general, I have particularly fond feelings for The Magnolia Inn.
Though the opening chapters are a bit of a rough go for Jolene (her cousin is an ass!) she gets a plan of action in place quickly and prays for the best. Remodeling, refurbishing, and revamping the Magnolia Inn is going to take a monumental effort and even more money, but Jolene is dedicated and determined. As fate would have it, she isn’t going to be in the remodeling/refurbishing business alone.
Tucker Malone has spent the past months and years mourning the loss of his beloved wife. Tucker’s mourning takes the form of hard work during the week and hard drinking come the weekend. With a pile of money in his bank account and a desire to stay busy, Tucker buys a half interest in the Magnolia Inn. With every intention of getting right to work, Tucker strolls in, takes a look around, and makes a list of what needs to be done. With he and Jolene in near total agreement on the plan, the work begins and so does a new life for each.
Jolene can clearly see Tucker is hurting, but given her past experiences, she has no tolerance for drinking and drunks. Though Tucker only drinks “on the weekends” and never while he’s working, the Magnolia Inn is a huge job, Jolene is a tough cookie (you only get ONE hangover cure!), and the memories of his wife seem to be fading which is making every aspect of life even harder. What’s even tougher and more confusing, Jolene makes Tucker feel and want things he vowed to never feel and want again following the loss of his wife. He wants to do better and to be better if not for himself then for Jolene and the Magnolia Inn.
Keeping both Tucker and Jolene on their feet are Jolene’s aunt’s three best friends. Three of the feistiest old birds Jolene and Tucker have ever met, the ladies take the kids under their collective wings and help keep them moving in the right direction both professionally and personally. With those three involved, and frequent phone calls to and from Jolene’s aunt, Jolene and Tucker have no choice but to face their respective issues head on and get the Magnolia Inn up and running.
The Bottom Line: Hands down, my favorite part of this book would be those three feisty old birds who have a tendency to walk right on into a room without knocking, intervene in each other’s lives when and if needed, and generally be there for one another through all life’s ups and downs. It’s those three old birds who help Jolene and Tucker on their way to a beautiful HEA and very much bind every aspect of this book together. Another particularly interesting aspect of this book would be the recurring voices in both Jolene and Tucker’s heads; the voices not only give insight into Jolene and Tucker’s respective pasts but help each move forward toward a happy and fulfilling future. On top of everything else, this book is just well-written, easy to read, and completely engaging. Finally, it has a completely satisfying epilogue that just brought everything together for me. I am absolutely looking forward to anything and everything Carolyn Brown has for me in 2019!