The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Monday, March 23, 2015

THE MEMORY HOUSE By Linda Goodnight

Publisher: HQN Books
Pages:  384
Expected Release Date:  March 31, 2015
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 5 Stars⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the Book: 
New York Times bestselling author Linda Goodnight welcomes you to Honey Ridge, Tennessee, and a house that's rich with secrets and brimming with sweet possibilities

Memories of motherhood and marriage are fresh for Julia Presley--though tragedy took away both years ago. Finding comfort in the routine of running the Peach Orchard Inn, she lets the historic, mysterious place fill the voids of love and family. No more pleasure of a man's gentle kiss. No more joy in hearing a child call her Mommy. Life is calm, unchanging...until a stranger with a young boy and soul-deep secrets shows up in her Tennessee town and disrupts the loneliness of her world.

Julia suspects there's more to Eli Donovan's past than his motherless son, Alex. There's a reason he's chasing redemption and bent on earning it with a new beginning in Honey Ridge. Offering the guarded man work renovating the inn, she glimpses someone who--like her--has a heart in need of restoration. But with the chance discovery of a dusty stack of love letters buried within the lining of an old trunk, the long-dead ghosts of a Civil War romance envelop Julia and Eli, connecting them to the inn's violent history and challenging them both to risk facing yesterday's darkness for a future bright with hope and healing.

Wanda's Thoughts:  Fans of historical fiction and romance will be riveted and deeply moved by this rich and compelling novel. The author skillfully merges together two story lines, present day and civil war era. The writing is descriptive and inviting, drawing you into the character’s lives.

Present Day - Julia Presley was still feeling the horrors from six years ago when her six-year-old son, Mikey, had been abducted and never found. Her marriage had dissolved within a year of Mikey’s disappearance, and she was suffering loss, grief and betrayal. Julia was keeping busy at the point of exhaustion, taking care of a bed-and-breakfast she’d purchased. The Peach Orchard Inn was a two story Southern mansion, which had survived a Civil war and the century and a half since. Julia didn’t believe in ghosts and spirits, but strange things had been happening at the Inn, and history seemed to be lingering in the walls and crevices of the mansion.

Eli Donavan was a man with a criminal record who’d spent seven years in prison. He was carrying a lot of shame and remorse, even after six months of freedom. He’s been contacted that he has a six-year-old son. A son he’s never met and doesn’t even know his name. The boy’s mother was dead and it was up to Eli to raise him. Eli was certain he was not fit to be a father. He needed work to provide for his son and started at the Peach Orchard Inn doing odd jobs for Julia in exchange for room, board, and a small salary. Julia is all the things he appreciates in a woman, and a tender romance develops, but not without problems.

Civil War-1864 – Peach Orchard Farm had been home to three generations of Portland’s, including Charlotte Portland’s husband, Edgar, and their nine year-old-son, Benjamin. Charlotte had fallen in love with the house when she was a bride of sixteen. Edgar was a strange man, and she despaired at ever fully knowing him. He was not an affectionate man, full of hatred, bitterness, and with wounds running deep inside. She was never able to fully love Edgar. Union soldiers, who were in need of a house to use as a temporary hospital, had suddenly invaded their quiet country life.

Captain William Gadsden, a decent and caring man, led the Union soldiers. The Captain promised Charlotte that no harm would come to her or her family. The soldiers respected the Captain, and Charlotte was convinced that he was a good and godly man.

The Yankee Captain regularly sought out Charlotte and paid much attention to her and her son. The Captain certainly complicated her life – their paths should’ve never crossed. She was a woman married to a Confederate and was determined to stay faithful to her husband. She was fearful of displeasing God, even if being unfaithful was only in her heart. It was a forbidden love and they both were yearning for something out of reach.

And the story unfolds with the author cleverly tying together two story-lines with strong parallels. The Memory House is an uplifting, feel good read. My rating – 5 stars.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Harlequin via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author: NY Times and USA Bestseller, Linda Goodnight writes novels to touch the heart as well as to entertain. Her emotional stories of hope have won the RITA , the Carol, the Reviewer’s Choice, and numerous other industry awards. A small town girl, Linda remains close to her roots, making her home in rural Oklahoma. She and husband have a blended family of eight, including two teenagers recently adopted from Ukraine. Many of her books are about family and children and rightly so, as she draws her deeply emotional stories from her surroundings, her great love of family, and from personal experiences as a nurse and teacher.
Readers may connect with Linda through her website at or on Facebook and Twitter.