Book Review: Sweet Shrub Inn
Reviewed by Alexandria Ducksworth
A charming, classic small-town romance
Hilah Roscoe’s Sweet Shrub Inn is the kind of story every Hallmark fan could get into. Reading it feels like a peaceful evening on the porch with an iced tea and hot buttery biscuits. That’s just how Southern sweet it is.
Cora Grahame’s life is going great in Chicago—until it isn’t. Her boyfriend of one year breaks up with her and she receives urgent news her father Randolph has Alzheimer’s. Cora has no choice but to sort things out with him in Taloowa, Mississippi. Apparently, he has purchased an inn. What on earth is Cora going to do with an inn?
The best thing Cora can do is fix up the old building and sell it to help her pay her father’s medical bills. With the inn and her father on her mind, she doesn’t imagine that her old crush Jensen Mabry is going to show up. But here he is.
Old memories come flooding back to Cora. Not only does she remember those lovey-dovey feelings for him, but she’s reminded of the time she drunkenly confessed her feelings for him during her best friend’s wedding. Surely, returning to Taloowa to help her father isn’t the best time to make things up with Jensen…or is it? Cora has more to sort out while she’s in town than she’d expected.
The small-town romance story never gets old. Girl from the big city returns to her familiar small-town with a problem, and then girl meets old love who helps her with said problem. Girl falls in love again, and it’s a happily ever after. What’s not to love? The Sweet Shrub Inn does a wonderful job giving us what we want out of this classic romance.
One of the best elements about The Sweet Shrub Inn is the small-town Southern atmosphere. Somehow while reading the pages, you feel like Cora’s home is your own. Even if you have never been around the South, the book transports you into its world. It’s comforting and strangely familiar.
Another aspect Roscoe touches on well is the budding relationship between Cora and her father Randolph. After Cora’s mother passed away, Cora’s relationship with her father dissolved. They were no more than strangers to each other. Randolph’s disease is what brings the two together. The scenes of acceptance and reunion between father and daughter really hit home. It’s always good to see two characters who have been apart emotionally and physically finally reunite. I love how this storyline is executed, and I think you will too.
The same goes for Cora and Jensen. The way Roscoe brings the two together is convenient and quite perfect for the situation. He’s the only one able to help Cora with the Sweet Shrub. It’s almost like Randolph and the town of Taloowa had set them up. The whole setup and conclusion are delightful.
Readers who follow Debbie Macomber and Susan Mallery should get to know Hilah Roscoe. Her story hits right at home, and it’s full of heart.
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Genre: Romance / Southern
Print Length: 312 pages
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