I’m delighted to be on the blog tour today for Barbara Josselsohn’s new release The Cranberry Inn. This is a wonderful holiday romance that I really enjoyed. Let’s check it out!
About the Book:
Title: The Cranberry Inn
Author: Barbara Josselsohn
Page Length: 202
Publication Date: Nov. 15, 2021
Synopsis: An unputdownable, feel-good Christmas romance about fresh starts, the importance of family and learning how to follow your heart. Perfect for fans of Mary Alice Monroe, Rachel Hanna and Carolyn Brown.
As twinkling lights go up and snowflakes begin to fall, Laurel Hanover and her eight-year-old son are going home to the Cranberry Inn in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. Laurel can’t wait to leave New York behind to help her father run the family business, and make snow angels with her son, even if it’s just for Christmas. But when she walks through the door, she’s shocked to find the inn in disrepair, and a letter saying her father will be gone until Christmas Eve…
No one in town knows where Laurel’s father is, and she doesn’t know whether to be worried or angry – but she won’t let the inn go under, and nothing will get in the way of the perfect Christmas for her son. Seeing the worn-out wooden bannisters, bare of festive lights, she immediately recruits her childhood friend, brooding local carpenter Joel Hutcherson. They might disagree on whether any walls actually need to come down, but each rip in the carpet makes Laurel more concerned for her father, and Joel is a welcome distraction. And when he admits that Laurel was his first crush, she realises she’s falling for him.
But then Laurel uncovers a card with beautiful, ornate writing amongst her father’s things and learns the real reason he disappeared. And it changes everything. Worse still, she thinks Joel knew the truth all along.
Laurel thought this was going to be the perfect Christmas – that maybe she had found her happy. But now there’s nothing to stop her from running back to New York the moment the baubles come down… is there?
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In The Cranberry Inn, Laurel returns to her childhood home with her eight-year-old son after receiving a call from her father asking for help running the family inn. Laurel has always loved The Cranberry Inn, though she is surprised when she returns and finds that her father is gone, and the inn has fallen to disrepair and needs some TLC. Luckily, her childhood friend and crush Joel is in town, and he offers to help.
Joel has returned to Lake Summers to pack up his deceased mother’s house in preparation to sell it. He also wants to visit Laurel’s father, with whom he has developed a friendship. So, he is surprised to find Laurel’s dad gone and Laurel at the inn. Joel hasn’t seen his childhood crush for years, but as they reconnect, old feelings come back. However, what happens when their holiday ends, and they return to their lives? Will Laurel and Joel have a future?
This is a lovely holiday romance with some great messages about family, second chances, starting over, and embracing love. I enjoyed Laurel and Joel’s love story and how they grow closer throughout the story. It’s pretty obvious that the pair had feelings for each other when they were younger, and when they reunite, these feelings resurface. However, secrets, as well as internal conflicts stand in their way. Both Joel and Laurel are going through some changes in their lives, and they have a lot in common. They both are at a crossroads in their careers, and they both struggle with family relationships and unresolved feelings. I like how they both grow, learn, and change throughout the story, both individually and as a couple.
Lake Summers sounds like a quaint town, and the holiday season adds to the charm. It’s also vastly different from the hustle and bustle Laurel is used to living in New York. The settings contrast each other well, and Lake Summers sounds like a wonderful place to live or visit. It’s the kind of place where everybody knows everyone else, and there’s a real sense of community in the town. I also love the variety of people who live there, and we meet some old friends and some new ones in this story. All of the characters have such interesting stories, and they are dynamically developed and layered.
Something else I really like about Josselsohn’s story is that it touches upon realistic and relatable issues. In this story, for example, Joel’s frustrations in not knowing about the health of his mother hit very close to home. My parents were the same way and often didn’t talk about their medical issues until well after they were resolved. It’s not always easy being the adult child of aging parents, especially when you feel disregarded or not included, and I think the author examined these feelings well. Other topics, like finding one’s passion, making tough life decisions, reconciling one’s feelings and moving on from the past, and more will resonate with readers too.
I enjoyed this character-driven, emotional, and interesting story, and I especially appreciated the layered protagonists, the charming setting, and the romance. I think The Cranberry Inn will appeal to readers of contemporary romance, second-chance romance, and small-town romance. Thanks so much to NetGalley, Bookouture, and the author for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
Want to read more by Barbara Josselsohn? Check out my review of The Lily Garden!
Barbara Josselsohn is an award-winning journalist and novelist who loves crafting stories about strong protagonists facing a fork in the road. Her novels center around second chances, family relationships and, of course, romance. She is the author of the Lake Summers series set in the fictional town of Lake Summers, nestled in the Adirondacks Mountains, which includes the books The Lilac House and The Bluebell Girls. Before joining with Bookouture, she published The Last Dreamer, a women’s-fiction novel from Lake Union Publishing, along with hundreds of articles and essays in major and regional publications about family, home and relationships. She lives just north of New York City and enjoys escaping to the beach or the mountains whenever she can. Other than writing, her biggest passion is her family: husband, her three kids, and her indefatigable shih-poo!