As a general rule I tend to stay away from heavily faith-based reads that are the bread and butter of Christian fiction readers. I prefer not being preached to or at, and avoiding that has been a default option for me more often than not. But a book set on Prince Edward Island is too much to resist, so the first book in the Prince Edward Island Dreams series by author Liz Johnson, and narrated by Amy Melissa Bentley is on the blog today. Please read on for my review of
The Red Door Inn
Prince Edward Island is well-known by legions of fans of L.M. Montgomery and her red-haired orphan Anne. Less well known is the Northern shores of the island, and where the story takes place as our characters work to rehabilitate an old and run-down Bed and Breakfast, and perhaps find some renewal for their own lives. The story starts with Marie, desperate to leave Boston, her memories and her father behind her, but without any substantive means to do so. She runs for a dream of new beginnings and sanctuary on PEI, but with no viable means of support – things are pretty desperate. Enter Jack Sloane, a kindly man who sees the young woman hurting and in need, and offers her a place to stay in exchange for help in his renovations. Renovations of a disused and disheveled Bed and Breakfast that is also providing his nephew Seth with work and a new start.
From the start, Marie is closed off and obviously hurting, with tension and anxiety that flares every time she and Seth encounter one another. While Seth is more than a bit prickly, he can’t trust this stranger or his uncle’s judgment, he sees her through his own veil of hurt after a disastrous relationship and now his sanctuary on the island is disrupted by this interloper. There are plenty of issues, miscommunications and mistrust that weigh heavily on both Seth and Marie, and their tentative steps to build bridges are fraught with perils. Slowly Marie’s story unfolds, and we are able to understand her trust issues, her need for new beginnings, and her affinity for the always kind and gentle Jack. This isn’t a quick-fix story – many elements combine, from the peace of the setting to the characters primary and secondary to bring growth and allow our couple to come closer together.
Narration is provided by Amy Melissa Bentley who gives a clear sense of each character with differentiation in delivery, tone, accent and a gradual ‘loosening’ of inhibitions” as the story progresses and backstories are shared. With lovely soft intonations and intentions brought forth in Jack and the parishioners as well as a lightness and youth from young Ruby. With frequent moments that feel familiar to those who have visited PEI in person, or just through the tales of Anne, there are plenty of moments that bring a sense of the known here. More importantly, even as Johnson uses an underlying message of connection to faith, family, self and surroundings, that message never reaches the level of preachy or overbearing, allowing each character to find their own path to that faith in their own time. With a couple that comes together through the slow process of friendship to love, the story will please fans who, like me, prefer their faith-heavy reads to carry a softer message that arrives through character growth and discovery rather than a heavy reliance on text or gospel.
Stars: Overall 4 Narration 5 Story 4
Title: The Red Door Inn
Author: Liz Johnson
Series: Prince Edward Island Dreams #1
Genre: Contemporary Sweet Romance -Adult
Narrator: Amy Melissa Bentley
Published by: Tantor Audio
Published on: 28 February 2017
Source: Tantor Audio
Audio Length: 9 Hours: 13 minutes
Heat: Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google ♦Audible ♦Tantor Audio
Marie Carrington is running from a host of bad memories. Broke and desperate, she's hoping to find safety and sanctuary on Prince Edward Island, where she reluctantly agrees to help decorate a renovated bed-and-breakfast before it opens for prime tourist season.
Seth Sloane didn't move three thousand miles to work on his uncle's B&B so he could babysit a woman with a taste for expensive antiques and a bewildering habit of jumping every time he brushes past her. He came to help restore the old Victorian--and to forget about the fiancée who broke his heart.The only thing Marie and Seth agree on is that getting the Red Door Inn ready to open in just three months will take everything they've got. Can these two wounded souls find hope, healing, and perhaps a bit of romance on this beautiful island?
Step into the Red Door Inn, a lovely home away from home tucked along the north shore of fabled Prince Edward Island. It's a place where the wounded come to heal, the broken find forgiveness, and the lonely find a family. Won't you stay for the season?
A copy of this title was provided via Tantor Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.