Eliza Monroe has been traveling the United States for three years, immersing herself in the towns she visits as she searches for the mother she’s never known. She hopes returning to her grandmother’s inn in Sage Springs, Mo., will provide the break she needs to evaluate her lonely life.
What Eliza isn’t expecting is to have two men enter the picture, not making her decision to stay or leave any easier. One has been her foundation, while the other is as comfortable as she is hopping from city to city. Throw in a kooky grandmother, a cheerful best friend, a sarcastic guest, a town where residents and spirits interact like neighbors, and Eliza has little time to contemplate her future.
Friendships grow, webs are spun and lies are revealed before Eliza comes to terms with what she wants in life and learns what's really important.
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ARC provided by author.
ARC provided by author.
Eliza Monroe left the tiny town of Sage Springs, Missouri three years ago, in an attempt to see a little bit of the world, while trying to track down the mother who abandoned her at birth. She returns home every September to help her grandmother, who took care of her after her father died of a heart attack, run Cedar Inn, the family’s aging bed and breakfast. But living out of a suitcase for the past few years has taken its toll on Eliza.
“A long white clump of fluff caught my attention. I was that cloud. I watched as it floated all by itself, all the while surrounded by other puffy masses. Never joining. Always drifting along on its own.”
She flits from city to city, hot on the heels of her ever evasive mother, following each new lead provided by the private investigator she hired. Weary from her the consistent moving, she decides that this time when she returns home, she will stay longer than normal, maybe even forever.
“Still no closer to finding my mother or finding myself, I needed some time to assess. I felt listless as I bounced from town to town, seeing people with their friends and families, and there I was—serving these happy people at cafes and restaurants. No friends or family around for hundreds of miles.”
She returns home and helps her grandma begin the preparations for the upcoming Fall season, which is their busiest time of year. In doing so, she must face not only her archenemy, Bianca Sutherland, whose family wants to buy Cedar Inn, but also the man she walked away from the day after he confessed his love for her. Jake Brown was a best friend to her most of her life, and seeing him brings back memories and feelings she isn’t sure she is ready to deal with. He is such a great, patient man, and throughout the whole book, I kept wanting her to just give in, already. Even after the mysterious Gavin comes to stay at the Inn, working as a handyman. But he definitely seems to have a thing for the lovely Eliza. And she can’t help but utter embarrassing innuendo practically every time she opens her mouth around him.
There are a ton of delightful characters in this book, from her best friend Lexi, to the new guest at the inn, Ivy, who owns her own candle company with one of the best business names I have ever heard. I could tell you, but I will let you find out for yourself. The grandma is hilarious, and quite the opposite of what you might expect, seeing as how she had recently been arrested after a naked, albeit spiritual, romp in the woods. That’s another thing, this Sage Springs isn’t your ordinary small town, either.
“I accepted Sage Springs for what it was, which was pretty much a town full of people and spirits. A good portion of us could see and speak with ghosts. Those of us who came from the old families anyway.”
And they are everywhere, including at the inn. There is a resident ghost, Oliver, who was killed in the place back in the days when it used to be a brothel. Oh, but he’s a friendly ghost, and definitely comes in handy.
The paranormal aspect wasn’t overpowering. I really liked the added touch of having ghosts like Oliver involved in conversations and scenes during the book, especially since it didn’t distract from the rest of the plot.
For someone who was feeling lonely on the road, Eliza soon finds herself torn between to seemingly genuine men, having fun with new and old friends, and that her grandmother may need her more than she lets on. I felt for Eliza and her inner struggle, still hoping to someday find her mom, but at the same time, trying to decide if she is ready to "give up her ghost" and settle back down in Sage Springs.
This was a sweet story, with a few twists and turns towards the end, but no cliffhanger. I really enjoyed it and will definitely be reading the second in the series, “Spirits and Spells,” which will be based on a different character from this book.