The Magnolia Inn

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 29 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

I love second chance romance stories and this was an excellent contemporary romance with second chances thrown in. I wanted to read this book as soon as I saw this cover, but I also love Carolyn Brown's books. She has a folksy, fun way of telling a story and the characters in this one fit right into that. Jolene has had a rough life, losing her father when she was young and her mother sinking into addiction. Her last boyfriend was a weekend drunk and she has had enough. Moving to The Magnolia Inn in small town East Texas, she is ready to work with her cousin to renovate it after being given the Inn from her Aunt Sugar and Uncle Jasper who have retired. What she never expected was her cousin selling his half of the Inn to handsome Tucker, who was a weekend drunk, never getting over the death of his wife five years prior.

This was a beautiful story full of love, compassion, friendship, understanding and yes, second chances. The three ladies who take Jolene into their fold; Dotty, Lucy and Flossie are Sugar's best friends and they needed a fourth wheel. They are adorable, a bit quirky and so loving and accepting, I would love to have them as my friends. When Jolene and Tucker begin to realize that they have feelings for one another, they were so cute. Both were afraid to love again, but the attraction was just too strong and it is hard to ignore the encouragement of the whole town. There were some twists in the story, but they all led to the right place. There is a bit of a Christian undertone to the story, but you do not have to enjoy Christian Fiction to read this. Carolyn Brown's writing is beautiful and when I finished this book (in one sitting) I had a huge smile and warm feeling. I do not hesitate to recommend this story to those who love a contemporary, second chance romance.
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This book started slow for me but it built up to a wonderful story of family, friendship and love. I'm excited to read other books by this author. Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.
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Jolene returns to East Texas to restore the Magnolia Inn she has just inherited.  She discovers 1/2 of the inn belongs to Tucker who is a handyman with problems dealing with the death of his wife.  Jolene isn't much better, she's filled with guilt over the death of her alcoholic mother whom she couldn't save.   As they get to know each other and work on the Inn they are both starting to heal.  I loved the older group of friends she also inherited with the inn.  I received a copy of this ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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This was a great book to read, Jolene and Tucker are hurt people who have a lot to overcome in themselves before they can really be open to someone else. Restoring an old Victorian house is the perfect opportunity for them to work together and work on themselves as they come together to find that there really is good in the world if they are willing to take the chance.
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Thank you to Montlake romance, Carolyn Brown, and netgalley fir giving me a chance to read this book for my honest review. A series of events and fate thrust two unlikely people together and the events are just a wonderful story to watch bloom. This is a great story of letting the past go and moving on learning to trust yourself and others.
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This is a slow burn romance which was quite nice for a change. Jolene Broussard is offered to buy half of The Magnolia Inn from her Aunt Sugar and Uncle Jasper and Tucker Malone takes on the other half.  The Inn is in desperate straits and needs a lot of TLC.  So do Jolene and Tucker.  They are both damaged souls who really are just looking for somewhere to live and work and regroup.  While they are renovating the Inn, they are also rehabilitating themselves while slowly falling in love.  Oh, and don't forget the crazy ladies in town, Flossie, Dotty, and Lucy, they are a hoot!  This was a pleasure to read and I definitely recommend this one. 

**Received this ARC for review from the publisher via NetGalley**
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Lovers of Hallmark movies... here is a story that could come right off the screen. The Magnolia Inn stars Jolene, a hopeful new owner of the inherited B&B with a can do spirit in need of lifting after losing her mom and the dusty cowboy/carpenter Tucker, who is a widower who blames himself for his wife's death and who has dreams for the Magnolia Inn that are not the same as the owners... will love drive them together or will guilt drive them apart? 

I loved this book!!!
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I've come to really look forward to Carolyn Brown's novels, and The Magnolia Inn is no exception. While the characters are all new to me, by the midway point of this novel, they all felt like family, and I'm giving this thoroughly enjoyable novel 4.5 stars.

Jolene Broussard spent her childhood summers at the Magnolia Inn Bed & Breakfast, with her Aunt Sugar and Uncle Jasper, a loving couple who had no children of their own. When her aunt and uncle decide to retire and spend the next year traveling the country in their new RV, they leave the inn to Jolene and Jasper's nephew, Reuben, who bullied Jolene every summer when they were children. He hasn't improved much with age and almost immediately puts his half of the B&B up for sale, and Jolene has no idea how she'll manage the inn and the many renovations it needs when she has a mere $100 in the bank. Most of Jolene's earnings went to her mother for years. Her mom climbed into a bottle as her means of coping with the loss of her husband, and then later added drugs to the mix, eventually dying of an overdose in a seedy motel after she and Jolene exchanged harsh words, which have left Jolene with a load of bitterness, guilt and regret. 

It doesn't take long to find a buyer for the other half of the inn, and the buyer is Tucker Malone, a former police officer, who was widowed when his wife and soul mate, Melanie, ran out for some milk late one night and was killed in an auto accident, for which Tucker blames himself, and soon he too climbs into a bottle. After being caught driving drunk and fired from his police job, he now limits his drinking to weekends, works as a skilled carpenter/handyman, and with the money he received upon his wife's death, thinks that renovating and operating the B&B might be just the thing he needs to get out of the deep depression and rut he's in. 

Jolene doesn't give up her secrets easily, and neither does Tucker, who often talks to his deceased wife as if she's in the room with him. These are two broken people attempting to fix up a broken down building and they do work both hard and well together as partners. While this novel is classified as a romance, it takes a very long time to get there, and I'd classify it as women's fiction rather than a romance, but regardless of classification, I found this novel to be filled with interesting characters, and, while there's not a lot of action, there's certainly plenty of character development, something I've come to love about Carolyn Brown's novels. 

The majority of this novel is about these two troubled strangers who are now suddenly business partners, trying to get the inn in shape and ready to reopen in the spring, while both Jolene and Tucker try to deal with their own demons, as well as each others. Jolene, who works part-time at a local bar, has issues with drunks--in addition to her mother's alcoholism and drug-use, Jolene's her last boyfriend also drank and gambled heavily, cleaning out what little savings Jolene had before she kicked him to the curb. Tucker is still grieving his wife's death, and has been for the past two years, and his conversations with her spirit are revealing, heartfelt and touching.

While I enjoyed watching Jolene and Tucker slowly learn to work and live together, learn about each other and battle their own demons, what really got me hooked on this novel were the wacky and weird friendships of Aunt Sugar's friends, Flossie, Dotty and Lucy, who've all known each other since childhood, and whose weekly get-togethers and group attendance at various local churches each Sunday were an absolutely hilarious delight. They are southern gals to the nth degree, always in each other's lives, always ready to share the latest gossip, their feelings, and of course, do a little matchmaking on the side. Since they all miss Sugar, they take Jolene under their wings instead, and they were all an absolute delight, reminding me in many ways of the characters and relationships among the women in Steel Magnolias, as well as Sharon Sala's wonderful Blessings novels, both of which always give me the warm fuzzies, and I'm happy to add The Magnolia Inn to that group.

One of the primary issues in this novel is alcoholism and its effects on the people turn to alcohol to either solve a problem or deaden their pain, and that may be a trigger for some, as it was for me, but it was handled so well, and with so much kindness, tact and understanding, that what might have become a treatise on the dangers of alcohol and drugs, never became maudlin, and kudos to Ms. Brown for that. A lot of this novel is also about dealing with loss, dealing with the tragic events that happen in every lifetime, about healing a little bit more each day, and taking things one day at a time, and one step at a time moving forward. 

The attraction between Jolene and Tucker is slow to develop. Working side by side to make a go of their partnership, both Jolene and Tucker have to each face their own demons, their own guilt, and then help each other move past those feelings, and for this reader, I found the slow pacing of their relationship suited this novel perfectly. Would I have liked a little more romance between these two characters? Absolutely. But I was still charmed, fully engaged, and fully entertained from the very start to the romantic HEA finish, and I think you will be too.

I voluntarily read an advance reader copy of this novel. The opinions expressed are my own.
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THE MAGNOLIA INN is a slow burn contemporary story that I was pulled in to from the very first page. To be honest, I fell in love with the cover the minute I saw it. I knew I would read it anyway, because I love Carolyn Brown, but the cover really pulled me in. I would love to stay at an inn with a beautiful purple door!I loved everything about this beautiful story and I’m excited to recommend it to my reading friends. Carolyn Brown always has a way of grabbing her readers and she never lets us go.

THE MAGNOLIA INN really takes a turn that will have you unable to put this beautiful story down. Neither Jolene or Tucker are looking for a relationship, but they can’t seem to ignore their growing feelings. Tucker’s wife died five years ago and it has left him with so much grief and guilt. Jolene has been burned in the past and has no desire to go down that road again! It was cute watching these two dance around their feelings for each other. Jolene just wants to remodel the beautiful inn that she has inherited from her aunt and uncle but she needs someone to buy the half that her cousin wants to be bought out of. Jolene doesn’t have that kind of money and Tucker does so when she hires him as a carpenter he decides to do a little investing!

THE MAGNOLIA INN is filled with twists and turns and had me staying up way too late one night to finish! I had to know where Carolyn Brown was taking us and what would happen to Jolene and Tucker. I really loved how the whole community came to Jolene and Tucker’s aid and only wanted them to feel loved and realize that they were home. There is so much heart in Carolyn’s writing that I’m always left with a huge smile on my face and my heart very happy. I could totally see THE MAGNOLIA INN becoming a Hallmark movie and I would love to see it. All of the characters are very interesting and believable, so much so that I felt as if I’ve known them for a long time. I would love to hang out with Sugar, Dotty, and Flossie. I’m sure they could teach me a thing or two and I know they would keep my laughing all day long! I love how Carolyn does that to me each and every time.

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own and were voluntarily given.
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I adore southern women's  fiction. Carolyn Brown is one of the reigning queens of it. Magnolia Inn is delightful. Primary and secondary characters are great
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The Magnolia Inn is the newest book by one of my new favorite authors, Carolyn Brown. It tells the story of Jolene and Tucker. 

Jolene spent her summers with her aunt and uncle at The Magnolia Inn, a B&B owned and operated by them. She loved her summers there and at the beginning of the novel she finds out that she has inherited half of the Inn. Her cousin, through her uncle (no blood relation) has inherited the other half of the Inn. Her aunt and uncle decided it was time for them to retire and travel the USA by RV. 

Jolene is thrilled, her cousin (who is a major jerk), is less than excited and no sooner than the papers are signed, he has sold off his share of the Inn to a man by the name of Tucker. Tucker’s wife passed away a few years earlier in a car accident and Tucker is having a very hard time getting over his wife’s death and he still speaks to her in his mind. Tucker lives in a trailer and after deciding to purchase the Inn, he quickly moves in. The story then progresses as Jolene and Tucker begin to fix up the inn.

This is a very slow burn romance. A good portion of the book is spent with Tucker still mourning his deceased wife while dealing with his growing feelings for Jolene. There is some adult content in the book, but all those scenes happen behind closed doors so I would consider this to be a clean romance.

While I adored both Jolene and Tucker, the best characters had to be Jolene’s Aunt Sugar’s friends; Flossie, Dotty and Lucy. They are such a hoot and their scenes are some of the best in the book. I compare this a bit to books by Fannie Flagg, in the scenes of how wonderfully southern it is.
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Sarah – ☆☆☆
With themes of loss and grief and a focus on strong relationships between quirky southern women, this story kept reminding me of Steel Magnolias. I enjoyed the intergenerational relationships and I liked Jolene for her determination as she builds a new life for herself.

I didn’t love this story as much as I expected to. In an age of a million property-porn Instagram accounts, restoration blogs, and Pinterest boards, this story feels more 1982 Laura Ashley than 2019 Emily Henderson. Too much of this story feels oddly dated and I struggled to believe in Jolene and Tucker as young Millennials.

There really isn’t much romance in this book. Tucker is still grieving at the start of this story and Jolene is constantly judging him and assuming the worst of him. She can’t see Tucker for most of the book because she just sees her mother in him. Jolene is unnecessarily cold and mean to Tucker – right until they get together. The story is stronger when it focuses on Jolene and Tucker dealing with their pasts. It is also strong when it focuses on Jolene’s relationships with her aunt’s group of friends. But this really doesn’t feel like a romance. There is also no heat in this book. It feels like a book that could be borrowed from a church library and I’m guessing that I’m 30 years younger than the author’s typical reader. I’m sure this book will appeal more to a conservative audience of older American women.

I am aware that my reaction to this book is partly a cultural thing. I’m a liberal atheist Brit. Jack Whitehall does a great standup routine where he examines the differences between American and British attitudes towards alcohol. I’m too British to even start to understand how the characters in this book are quickly judged and labeled either teetotal or alcoholic. Add in the slightly crazed religious stuff, the cute non-swearing, and the prudish giggles about a married couple sharing a bath and I feel like there’s a cultural chasm between the worlds Jolene and I inhabit. We might speak the same language, but I struggle to relate to much of anything else in her world.
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Good slow-building romance between two hurting people who can't seem to let go of their painful pasts. Jolene was raised by a mother who was an alcoholic and a drug addict, making Jolene the "adult" in the family. After Jolene grew up and moved out, her mom died of an overdose, leaving Jolene feeling guilty for deserting her. Then Jolene's boyfriend also turned out to be an alcoholic who cleaned out her bank accounts. She needed a chance for a fresh start.

Jolene's Aunt Sugar has given her a half-interest in the Magnolia Inn, the bed and breakfast that Sugar and her husband run together. He has given his half to his nephew Reuben, who Jolene detests (with good reason). Reuben has no interest in doing anything with his half and immediately sells it to Tucker. Jolene has some great ideas for the inn, but no capital to carry them out.

Tucker is the local handyman. He used to be a cop until his wife died in a car accident. Unable to handle his grief, Tucker turned to alcohol and eventually lost his job. Now he works as a handyman during the week and drinks his way through the weekends to dull the pain of her loss. When he heard about the inn, he thought it would be a good opportunity for him. He has the cash to invest and the skills to do the renovations.

Jolene wasn't too sure about having Tucker as a partner. She was all too familiar with living with a drunk, and she didn't want to do it again. I liked the way that she and Tucker sat down and laid out their expectations so that there would be no misunderstandings. I enjoyed the development of their relationship. They started as partners, working together to renovate the inn. I loved the easy exchange of ideas, and their willingness to compromise when necessary. As they worked together, their partnership became friendship. There were some terrific scenes of their more lighthearted moments, as well as some emotional scenes as they shared the more painful parts of their pasts. All that time together also gave a simmering attraction time to grow. But both were wary of risking their hearts again. Jolene feared getting involved with another alcoholic and did her best to keep Tucker at arm's length. But she also has a good influence on him after he heard her story. Tucker was buried in guilt over his wife's death, which made getting past it that much harder. He also fought his growing feelings for Jolene because they made him feel disloyal to his wife. It was very interesting to see the mental conversations he had with Melanie as she tried to get him to let her go. There were some heartbreaking moments as Tucker worked his way through that grief. The slow buildup of the feelings between Jolene and Tucker was believable and right for them. I loved seeing them realize that their pasts don't have to define their futures and that they can build that future together.

The secondary characters are a huge part of the story. First, there are Aunt Sugar and Uncle Jasper, who were ready to retire and live their dream of traveling. It was fun to follow their travels and see the effects it had on them. I loved Sugar's phone calls back to Jolene and "the girls." Her ability to sense when Jolene needed her was great, and I enjoyed the kernels of wisdom she dropped along the way. I wasn't at all surprised by her feelings as the trip went on. The surprise she had for everyone at the end was terrific. Her three friends, Dottie, Flossie, and Lucy, were a riot. Each of them was very different, but their friendship was bone deep. It was fun to see them rag on Lucy about her actions after romantic breakups. I loved how they supported Jolene with the inn and kept a wary eye on Tucker until they were sure he was okay to be around her. Their Sunday lunches were a hoot and added a bit of lightness when emotions got a little heavy.
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Voluntary review of an ARC from Netgalley. I read all sorts of books and have no problem with erotic romance, but it is very pleasant to read a sweet, completely clean romance with down to earth characters and situations. Jolene and Tucker have ghosts from their past that need to be overcome before they can pursue their mutual attraction. Meanwhile supporting characters are hilarious. Flossie, Lucy and Dottie are older friends who are eccentric matchmakers. Aunt Sugar, Jolene's sorta surrogate mother, has left for an extended road trip, but still gets her two cents in. Very enjoyable story which I recommend.
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This was another amazing story that I devoured over the long weekend.  Both Jolene and Tucker have their demon's to fight.  Reading as they worked together to restore an old Victorian home was a lot fun for me... and I imagine it will be for you as well.  A great read.
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Jolene Broussard inherits half interest in her aunt and uncle's business, The Magnolia Inn, and has lots of ideas to renovate it. The other heir quickly sells his share and the new partner, Tucker Malone, has his reasons to renovate and update the inn. Jolene and Tucker work together very well on the remodeling and in the process begin to heal from past tragedies. They are helped by Jolene's aunt's good friends who have fun with a bit of matchmaking and Tucker's ex-father-in-law. I really enjoyed this story by one of my "go to" authors!

Thanks to the publisher and to NetGalley for an ARC; all opinions are my own.
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An emotional story about life, grief, and moving forward. The characters are realistic. The setting is wonderful. I hadn't read anything by this author in awhile, this story reminded me why I always enjoyed her work.
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Three and a half stars: A healing romance with a little home renovation. 

Jolene is excited to inherit half of the Magnolia Inn that belongs to her aunt and uncle. The only problem is that the other half is owned by Rueben, her uncle’s nephew. Jolene couldn’t stand Rueben when they were kids, but she hopes to convince him to help her renovate the inn and keep it running. Jolene is crushed when he shoots her down and puts his half on the market. 
Meanwhile, Tucker is barely surviving since the death of his wife. He spends his weeks doing carpentry for others and the weekends are for drinking. When Tucker is offered a chance to purchase half of the Magnolia Inn, he decides to take a chance, even if his new partner is a bit of a spitfire. Soon Jolene and Tucker are working side by side to restore the Magnolia Inn. They learn to become co workers and friends, but both are afraid of letting down their guard. Can they find a way to heal their hearts?
What I Liked:
*The Magnolia Inn is a bit heavier than Carolyn Brown’s cowboy romances. The story features a romance centered on letting go of burdens in the past and healing the heart. So even though I was expecting light and fluffy, I was pleased with this gentle romance, and I liked that it was all about healing. 
*I liked both Jolene and Tucker. Jolene is a girl who has been through the hard knocks of life. She lost her father as a teenager, and then she was forced to take care of her drug addicted mother, only to lose her a few years later. Even though life has handed Jolene a whole crop of lemons, she has learned to make lemonade. Still, she has her scars and she is afraid to open up and trust. What I loved about her was her determination. She works hard and does the right thing. I especially liked how she handled Tucker when he got drunk, she taught him some life lessons. Tucker takes a bit longer to warm up to. He is drowning in grief after the loss of his wife. Yet, he is a kind, good hearted man who isn’t afraid of hard work. I loved the way he handled Jolene and the three old ladies. It was a joy to see him transform. 
*I loved the Magnolia Inn. There is something satisfying about home renovations. The Magnolia Inn was a small, charming inn that had seen better days. Under Jolene’s and Tucker’s hands, the old place got a face lift. I liked reading about the restoration work and all the changes the two made to the old place. 
*A Carolyn Brown book wouldn’t be the same without some feisty older folks to liven things up. In this one, Jolene is looked after by her Aunt Sugar’s three best friends, and a lively trio they are. It was hilarious to see these women in action, especially when it came to dealing with Betsy and her religious streak. 
*The romance was the best kind. I loved that it took its time to establish friendship and trust, which led to healing and opening up. It was a quiet romance that was more about letting go of burdens and moving forward. I thought the romance was done just right. 
*This book deals a lot with grief and and loss. Both Jolene and ..... have endured big losses, and they are still trying to pick up the pieces. Sometimes the book is sad, but I liked seeing the characters come to term with their pasts and find hope and joy. I especially liked the way Tucker settled things with his wife’s family. 
*The book ends with a sweet epilogue down the road. It was lovely to catch up with everyone and see the changes. I always like when I get a nice, happy ending!
And The Not So Much:
*I liked that this book was about healing and dealing with grief, but I struggled a bit with it. I think because I picked this one up expecting a light, fluffy happy read, and this book isn’t exactly that. Yes, there are plenty of happy parts, but there are also some sad moments. Basically, it was a situation where I went in expecting something and got an entirely different read. This isn’t a pick me up cowboy romance like I usually get from this author. 
*Even though I loved the older ladies, I wasn’t a big fan of Betsy. She has some crazy ideas about religion and such. I found her to be a bit too much. 
*I was disappointed that in the epilogue that there wasn’t a mention of Carla. I was curious to see if Jolene and Carla forged that friendship.

The Magnolia Inn was a different type of read from Carolyn Brown. This book was all about healing and renovation. So even though I went into this one expecting a light, fluffy romance and it wasn’t, I was still pleased with the book. I liked that this was a book about letting go of the past and moving forward. If you want a nice read all about overcoming grief and new beginnings, this is one to try. 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review. 
Posted@Rainy Day Ramblings.
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I DNFed at 52% in. It was slow, and an odd mix of romance and women's fiction. It didn't grab me and I didn't really care about any of the characters. I do appreciate that the characters were normal, every day folks with financial, health, and religious problems that could be yours or your neighbors;.
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Jolene inherits half of the Magnolia Inn from her Aunt Sugar and Uncle Jasper.  The other half is to Uncle Jasper’s nephew, who doesn' twant it. He sells his half to Tucker Malone.
Tucker Malone feels guilty and carries a lot of baggage about his wife’s death. She died in a car accident and he received a lump sum which is how he is able to buy half of the Magnolia Inn.
Jolene and Tucker start fixing up the house together and start to get close but have many setbacks due to their pasts. Jolene - her mother and ex-boyfriend who were alcoholics. Tucker - his wife and guilt over her death and his drinking problem.
I enjoyed Aunt Sugar’s friends who take Jolene and Tucker under their wing. 
I enjoyed the book. It’s a clean romance but sometimes it drags a little with Tucker’s angst.
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley and I voluntarily chose to give an honest review.
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