With the Christmas season almost upon us, The Cranberry Inn made for a perfect read.
An unputdownable, feel-good Christmas romance about fresh starts, the importance of family and learning how to follow your heart. Perfect for fans of Mary Alice Monroe, Rachel Hanna and Carolyn Brown.
As twinkling lights go up and snowflakes begin to fall, Laurel Hanover and her eight-year-old son are going home to the Cranberry Inn in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. Laurel can’t wait to leave New York behind to help her father run the family business, and make snow angels with her son, even if it’s just for Christmas. But when she walks through the door, she’s shocked to find the inn in disrepair, and a letter saying her father will be gone until Christmas Eve…
No one in town knows where Laurel’s father is, and she doesn’t know whether to be worried or angry – but she won’t let the inn go under, and nothing will get in the way of the perfect Christmas for her son. Seeing the worn-out wooden bannisters, bare of festive lights, she immediately recruits her childhood friend, brooding local carpenter Joel Hutcherson. They might disagree on whether any walls actually need to come down, but each rip in the carpet makes Laurel more concerned for her father, and Joel is a welcome distraction. And when he admits that Laurel was his first crush, she realises she’s falling for him.
But then Laurel uncovers a card with beautiful, ornate writing amongst her father’s things and learns the real reason he disappeared. And it changes everything. Worse still, she thinks Joel knew the truth all along.
Laurel thought this was going to be the perfect Christmas – that maybe she had found her happy. But now there’s nothing to stop her from running back to New York the moment the baubles come down… is there?
My Review Of The Cranberry Inn
When Laurel, at the beckoning of her father, lands with her young son Simon, back to her hometown of Lake Summers, she is taken aback to see that her father is not at home. He has a left her a note telling her that there will be no guests at the family inn and that he will return by Christmas Eve.
But Laurel does get a reservation from a mysterious guest and she accepts it. She wonders if she will be able to provide hospitality of the standard her mother used to maintain. The family inn is in a bad state of disrepair and she hopes to make some changes to it in the time she’s there.
When her old high school friend and crush, offers to help with the repairs, she takes him up on this. Joel is in town to wind up his mother’s store, after her recent passing. While there, he’s made friends with Laurel’s Dad and is privy to some of his secrets, which he keeps from Laurel. How these two get together, despite the past and the recent lack of trust when Laurel finds out makes for an absorbing read.
I loved both the main characters and the Lake Summers community which is full of quirky and endearing characters.
What makes the story stand out for me, is that both Joel and Laurel have struggled to live up to their families’ expectations and in doing so have given up on their dreams. Even as they discover each other, they rediscover parts of themselves and their dreams and find the courage to move forward.
Meet The Author
Barbara Josselsohn is an award-winning journalist and novelist who loves crafting stories about strong protagonists facing a fork in the road. Her novels center around second chances, family relationships and, of course, romance. She is the author of the Lake Summers series set in the fictional town of Lake Summers, nestled in the Adirondacks Mountains, which includes the books The Lilac House and The Bluebell Girls. Before joining with Bookouture, she published The Last Dreamer, a women’s-fiction novel from Lake Union Publishing, along with hundreds of articles and essays in major and regional publications about family, home and relationships. She lives just north of New York City and enjoys escaping to the beach or the mountains whenever she can. Other than writing, her biggest passion is her family: husband, her three kids, and her indefatigable shih-poo!