By Reservation Only (Deerbourne Inn) - Barbara Edwards

Release Date - October 8, 2018

Here's a book I started and lost interest in. Tried again and still couldn't get into it. I gave it one more shot more than a year later, and this time I met with success. Unfortunately, I did also find myself frustrated that I did.

Welcome to Willow Spring, Vermont. Chef Nathan Harte was given a historic inn by a favorite client. He's spent months restoring it, and work is coming to an end. A short time prior to the opening, Emily Harrington arrives hoping to go through the inn's historic documents. As Nathan's been injured and could use an extra pair of hands, he reluctantly agrees.

Emily is in Vermont for reasons she doesn't want to share. She finds herself falling for Nathan, but she can't let that attraction keep her from her goals. Plus, Willow Spring has a lot going on. There's an arsonist on the loose, too.

I liked the setting. I found certain things to be unrealistic. This really isn't a romance. It's more a cozy mystery, but Nathan really isn't a sleuth. He's just a witness to the world around him. That arsonist mystery definitely got tied up too quickly and really didn't make much sense to me. I didn't feel it added to the story at all.

I live in Vermont. I've grown up here. I can tell you that the only poisonous snake you might stumble across is a timber rattlesnake. They also were put on the state's endangered list when I was a teen. I haven't seen one in my life, and I've never heard of one being encountered in a field. Some people think there are spotted adders. They're actually milksnake and aren't harmful at all. I find water snakes are the most aggressive snake I've ever encountered and even then, they're not poisonous and would rather slither away than confront a person. If you're coming to Vermont, I'd be more worried of getting a deer tick than I would any poisonous snake. Even a deer tick isn't dangerous if you remove it within a day.

The story ends abruptly. I won't give away any spoilers, but it's clear that this is the first in a series. As other authors wrote the other stories in the series, I'm not sure the untied ends get the treatment they need. I'd have to read the rest of the series to know anything, and I just wasn't engrossed enough to bother.


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