The Inn at Hidden Run – Olivia Newport

The Inn at Hidden Run Olivia Newport WP
The Inn at Hidden Run by Olivia Newport
Series: Tree of Life #1
Published by Shiloh Run Press on May 1, 2019
Genres: Fiction, General, Christian, Historical
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A Father-Daughter Genealogy Team Link Present to Past on Family Trees
Meri's family has been producing doctors for so many generations that no one remembers why, so when she flunks out of medical school, she runs as far from her parents as she can get. In the small mountain town of Canyon Mines, Colorado, she takes a job at the Inn at Hidden Run B&B. And waits. It's only a matter of time.
What she doesn't count on is genealogist Jillian Parisi-Duffy and her father, Nolan, having her back when it takes everything she has not to bolt again but to stay and face the truth that only unfolding her family's history will reveal. While Nolan works on keeping Meri calm--and in town--Jillian pulls out of her gems of information she doesn't know she has and arranges the puzzle pieces.
But none of that changes the fact that Meri's family is closing in to haul her back to her "real" life. When their arrival inflames tensions and Meri finally does bolt, Nolan and Jillian may be out of time.
The Inn at Hidden Run is the first book in the Tree of Life series. Readers will come back to backdrop of a lovely mountain town of Canyon Mines again and again to explore and celebrate unforgettable family stories that inspire them to connect with their own family histories and unique faith journeys.

Meri is on the run from her family. She knows they’ll find her eventually, but that’s a problem for later. Right now, having flunked out of med school, facing her family full of doctors is the last thing she wants. She ends up in Canyon Mines, Colorado, at the The Inn at Hidden Run, and just tries to enjoy some small part of life before it comes crashing down.

What Meri doesn’t expect is fast friends and avid supporters in Jillian and Nolan, a daughter-father team that runs the inn and has a great interest in genealogy. Together, the three work out Meri’s past to help her better face her future.

If that second paragraph doesn’t seem to follow much from the first, you’d be correct, and it is The Inn at Hidden Run’s fatal flaw—one of two, anyway. When Meri comes to the Inn, Jillian’s friendship turns almost immediately stalkerish. There’s one point where they drive to another city to track Meri down. This is perhaps acceptable for lifelong or really close friends, but Jillian and Meri are barely acquaintances at this point.

I’m also not quite sure what knowing Meri’s history was supposed to do. Yes, it is fun putting together the clues from her name (and other tidbits) and pinpointing their origin in the B plot set in the past, but what it is supposed to do in the present? Newport’s solution in the book is underwhelming and not very plausible.

The storyline in the past is fairly engaging, following Eliza’s work as a nun/nurse during the Yellow Fever pandemic in the late 1800s. (A fun thing to read in current corona times, for sure!) The historical aspect of the plague and how we are making some of the mistakes again in current history was both intriguing and depressing, but absent the current focus on pandemics would not have seemed exceptional.

The past storyline is also Newport’s second fatal flaw. In the present storyline, Jillian is desperate to uncover Meri’s genealogy, but because it’s already being presented to the readers, that search lacks any tension whatsoever. We know what Meri is going to find. The B plot robs the mystery and tension from the A plot.

If you’re a fan of genealogy or you’re looking for a simple, clean read, you may enjoy The Inn at Hidden Run. For me, it didn’t have enough substance to hold my interest.