Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Literally the Best Reviews: The Room With the Second-Best View

The Room With the Second-Best View -- Virginia Smith
Harvest House Publishers
224 Pages

I have reviewed other books in the Goose Creek B&B series. While these are listed under “Inspirational” on the bookshelves at the Lockport Library, it is not the typical inspirational story that you find on those shelves. They are inspirational in that these books detail the best of what it means to be a husband, wife, neighbor, and friend.

The story continues the one started in The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade and Renovating the Richardsons. Arthur and Millie Richardson are attempting to complete the renovations on the aged Victorian mansion that they purchased to convert into a bed-and-breakfast. As always, nothing is as simple as it seems, and Millie is making more promises than Arthur is willing to fulfill.

This installment focuses on the upcoming nuptials between Dr. Susan Jeffries and the handsome handyman, Justin Hinkle. Their plan is to have a small gathering in front of the Justice of the Peace and keep everything low-key. But this is Goose Creek, Kentucky and nothing ever is simple as it should be.

When Millie has an accident and sprains her wrist, she is shuffled off the preservation board she so desperately hoped for and Justin’s overbearing aunt, Lorna, has arrived several weeks early. Lorna is full of ideas of how things are being done wrong and isn’t afraid to throw her opinions and her considerable wealth around just to get what she thinks the young couple wants and needs. Of course, Arthur bristles at her tone and does whatever he can to stay under her radar.

Goose Creek is that small town where everyone is well aware of everyone else’s business and aren’t afraid to let their opinions be known. Small cliques form and gang up on their counterparts in order to get their view atop the heap. However, in the end, rifts are healed and new friendships are formed in the face of outside criticism.

Virginia Smith captures the hodge-podge and helter-skelter life of a small town with great aplomb. Her characters continue to grow as she writes each book. Arthur Richardson is a cantankerous man on the verge of retirement, begrudgingly giving into his wife’s whims. He truly loves her and wants her to be happy even if her actions drive him to the edge of his sanity. Isn’t that the way all marriages are? Not only husband to wife, but also wife to husband?

Smith also captures the nervousness of an impending bride. She begins second-guessing all her plans when confronted by the overbearing personality of Justin’s Aunt Lorna. Susan also must face the antics of the double trouble of teenage boys hellbent on wreaking as much havoc as humanly possible. In the end, the story is frustrating, humorous, and heartwarming all at once.

The Goose Creek series may honestly be one of my favorite human-interest series. Virginia Smith gives the reader the feel of a small town, sampling from many facets of life in such a community. She builds that sense of community around a core group of characters. We can relate to these people, and may even know some in our lives in our own neighborhoods. She has drawn from a rich crop of characters around her and delivered yet another glimpse into the life of a small town.

Personally, I cannot wait until the next book is released. There seems to be no quick end to the love of these characters and settings by the author. And that is a good thing. Each chapter in this series will only enhance what we already know about Arthur, Millie, Susan, Justin, and all the other Goose Creekers.

Craig Bacon lives in a small town. And he can breathe in a small town.