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Description: When Life Seemed Its Worst, Gresham Awaited
Julia Hollis' opulent life in Victorian London crashes to pieces when her husband passes away. Worse, she is told by his bankers that he gambled away their fortune. Now, the family's hope rests on The Larkspur, an old abandoned coaching inn in the quaint village of Gresham.
Driven by dread and her desire to provide for her children, Julia decides to turn the dilapidated inn into a lodging house. But can she--who was accustomed to servants attending to every need--do what needs to be done and cope when boarders begin arriving? And then an eligible new vicar moves into town...
I don’t think there is a fiction book I have enjoyed as much since earlier in the year. It has also been a very long time since I have read a book for adults that wasn’t centered around romance. Yes, this book has some romance, but that really isn’t the focus of the book.
Julia was my favorite part of the book. Her attitude in the face of hard circumstances was so different than most books. She actually had a good attitude, with some understandable moments of irritation and frustration. So many main characters of books are dramatic and have rotten attitudes and then learn their lesson. Julia had lessons to learn, but she has the attitude thing down.
All the other characters were so charming that I cannot wait to see what happens to them in the next book. They were all charming, but each had their own problems. The actor who has spells of despondency (we would call him bi-polar now), the old lady that is so rude her son kicked her out, the two gossips who make lace, and the nobleman who thinks of nothing but his flowers. There are many more characters, but it was never confusing to keep up with them. They all made up a rich tapestry of characters that make up the town of Gresham.
The author obviously researched the time period, including little details of daily life, making this book feel very real and believable. The descriptions made it very easy to visualize the town and places.
The message of the book was not hard-hitting, but the characters’ faith was unmistakable. In a very subtle yet powerful way it is shown that God does not always take away our troubles, but makes something beautiful out of them.
I highly recommend this book for those who like historical fiction, stories that feel real, and are looking for a book that feels different than most Christian fiction.