Clara Blackwell helps her mother manage a struggling one-hundred-year old family bookshop in Asheville, North Carolina, but the discovery of a forgotten letter opens a mystery of a long-lost romance and undiscovered inheritance which could save its future. Forced to step outside of her predictable world, Clara embarks on an adventure with only the name Oliver as a hint to the man's identity in her great-great-grandmother's letter. From the nearby grand estate of the Vanderbilts, to a hamlet in Derbyshire, England, Clara seeks to uncover truth about family and love that may lead to her own unexpected romance.
I enjoyed this dual time novel introducing us to the magnificent Biltmore Estate of the Vanderbilts and a struggling bookseller in Asheville. The two seem worlds apart yet a romance ties the two together.
The contemporary plot centers around Clara, facing the possibility of losing the bookstore. There seems to be no written deed identifying the building and store as originally belonging to her great-great-grandmother. Searching for proof of ownership takes Clara to England and a surprising revelation.
The dual time aspect of the novel is done well. Basham provides us with well developed descriptions and enjoyable characters. There are good lessons included, such as on acceptance, class distinction and love superseding differences. I liked the clever exchanges and witty dialogue.
I suspect the plot falls apart on the main premise, however. North Carolina has had property taxes since 1921. There would have to be some proof of ownership recorded at the county assessor's office for property tax purposes. I was surprised no one pursued that evidence.
This is a good dual time novel for readers who are willing to venture into a fictional world filled with mansions and books and book fairies and unexpected romance.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Pepper Basham is an award-winning author and native of the Blue Ridge Mountains. She's the mom of five kids and speech pathologist to about fifty more. Her debut historical romance was released in 2015 and her first contemporary romance in 2016. You can find out more at www.pepperdbasham.com.
Barbour Publishing, 256 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review. The rest of the copy of this post was provided by the publisher.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)