The Red Door Inn (Prince Edward Island Dreams #1) – Liz Johnson

There are some books that stick with you from the very first time you hear about them. This was one of those novels. From the moment I saw the cover for The Red Door Inn, coupled with its series title, I knew it’d be a story well suited to my reading sensibilities.

The story is about Marie Carrington, a woman on the run from a past she cannot forget. As she nears Prince Edward Island, she is befriended by a fellow traveler, Jack Sloane, a kindly older gentleman looking to make his deceased wife’s dream of a B&B realized. With some reluctance, Marie agrees to work for Jack as his interior decorator, and in exchange she finds herself a safe place to stay while she plans her future. While working with Jack, Marie also meets his nephew, Seth. A man embittered by heartbreak, Seth immediately recognizes something familiar in Marie. But he is distrustful of pretty faces—they always leave him—and Marie is on a hesitant journey of healing and second chances.

The best stories combine the author’s nostalgia for something—a location, a character, a story arc—with new inspiration to become an entity of its own. Liz Johnson performs this perfectly in this cozy romance. Talented author that she is, Liz stepped outside the familiar comfort zone that most authors tend to write their characters into. The Canadian setting was already a unique idea, but moving it to Prince Edward Island (or PEI as it’s commonly referred to in these pages) was genius. Who among us doesn’t immediately think of Anne of Green Gables when we hear the very name? I know I do. The writing gives us a vivid visual armchair journey. To further reinforce the sense of nostalgia, Liz’s character, Marie is a fan of L.M. Montgomery.

Since Liz has won awards for many of her romantic suspense novels, this story was a kind of debut for her. As her first with Revell, The Red Door Inn is everything a “debut” should be and then some. The characters have interesting and heartbreaking pasts which are, for the majority of the story, fleshed out and well written. Unfortunately, I did think Marie’s process of healing came with too little fanfare and her journey reaching this pinnacle felt a bit too easy. This being said, she’s still a compelling heroine as are the characters who surround her. Not only are Marie and Seth’s “notes” to each other an adorable romantic device, this book also contains one of the most swoon-worthy, spark-infused first kisses I’ve read in a long time. The chemistry crackles on the pages as does the “near miss” in the pages preceding it.

The vibrant setting, lovable characters and sense of community support a gentle and memorable story in Liz Johnson’s The Red Door Inn. With each new page turned I was drawn a little more into the lives of these characters and by the time the story was through, I was wishing this wasn’t only the start of a new series. I was ready to step back inside the comfort of The Red Door Inn where a fresh cup of coffee is sure to be waiting along with a warm cinnamon roll.

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Author: Rissi C.

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