Saturday, March 15, 2014

Review: Down by the River by Lin Stepp

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington Books (May 27 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

Book Description

"A charming portrait of the Smokies, their people, and a wonderful way of life." --Deborah Smith, New York Times bestselling author

Set against the backdrop of Tennessee's breathtaking Smoky Mountains, Lin Stepp's Down By the River is a warm-hearted novel that proves it's never too late--or too early--for a fresh start. . .

While on a visit to the Smokies, Grace Conley makes a stunning decision: she's going to walk away from her busy life in Nashville to move to tiny Townsend and open a bed and breakfast. There's a beautiful old inn for sale along the Little River that will do perfectly. Of course, Grace's family is scandalized. After all, she's a middle-aged widow! And as a career homemaker, she's always been available for babysitting, chauffeuring, and generally being the peacemaker among her grown children. Has Grace lost her mind? She begins to wonder the same thing once she finds herself attracted to the local ladies' man. But the surprises don't stop there. . .

To further complicate her move, Grace's daughter, Margaret, has grudgingly come to live with her. Having just graduated from college, remote Townsend is not where she envisions her future. Yet the handsome young minister next door is convinced he and Margaret are meant for each other. As life choices abound, soon both women will discover that the biggest decisions require confidence, a sense of humor--and a deep, abiding faith.

Praise for Lin Stepp and her Smoky Mountain Novels
"I've finally come across someone that believes in all the things that I do. . .love, family, faith, intrigue, mystery, loyalty, romance, and a great love for our beloved Smoky Mountains." –Dolly Parton

"A wonderful, new Southern voice." --Joan Medlicott, author of the bestselling The Ladies of Covington series

About the Author

 Dr. Lin Stepp is a native Tennessean, a businesswoman, and an educator. She is on faculty at Tusculum College where she teaches psychology and writing. Her business background includes over 20 years in marketing, sales, production art, and regional publishing. But closest to her heart is her beloved series of contemporary novels set in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.

My Review

I really enjoyed this book by Lin Stepp. First, it is set in the beautiful East Tennessee Smoky Mountains in a small town near Gatlinburg. Second, it is about a middle aged woman whose family is grown, her husband has been deceased for three years and she is ready for a new start in life. So she buys an inn against the wishes of her children and her formidable mother-in-law. She had always been treated like a beautiful trophy wife who was "just" a housewife and mother. It is wonderful watching her character evolve with this new venture. I really enjoyed the character of Grace because she is a similar age to me and facing some similar situations. I was impressed that her character was able to see her worth in the amazing crafts that she created despite her family having trivialized her crafting in the past. And that her homemaking and event planning skills were put to use in her new business endeavor.

It is not always easy for Grace Conley. Though she was the perfect wife and mother for thirty years, she neglected her own ambitions and neglected her family. She did what a lot of people do - she didn't always think about how her actions were affecting others. Luckily she has a mother to set her straight! Many of the characters in this story grow in their Christian walk which is very inspiring.

This is a romance, a mystery and a Christian novel. Lin Stepp, the author, has provided a study guide at the end of the novel if you are reading this in a small group or book club. This is the first book of Lin Stepp's that I have read and definitely will not be the last. Thanks for taking me back to the glorious Smoky Mountains through your words!

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