Book Review: "The Lumby Lines" by Gail Fraser
Nestled in the Northwest is a quaint little town that its quirky residents are proud to call home. With charming shops lining its one main thoroughfare, Lumby is home to the oldest apple tree in the county and the smallest bank in the state. And though it's hours from the nearest big city, readers will always find Lumby close to their hearts.
When Mark and Pam Walker, a vacationing couple from the East Coast, decide to restore Lumby's ramshackle Montis Abbey and turn it into an inn, it takes a while for the locals to warm up to them. Especially the irascible William Beezer, owner of The Lumby Lines-the newspaper "worth the paper it's printed on." At every turn, he tries to hinder the Walkers' efforts. But the couple soon learns that for every citizen like William, there are many more willing to lend a hand-and that Lumby isn't just a place, it's a way of life.
I've always enjoyed reading stories about small town life where the outside world doesn't seem to cast a negative pallor on the people. It's not necessary living in a fantasy world but it's really nice to be able to spend time reading and not have to worry about things that will make you upset. While some people might say you're just trying to escape reality, I feel that I get enough negativity from real life as it is, so in my reading it's nice for a chance to get away. I'm a big Mitford fan but it's been a while since a new book by Jan Karon has come out. I've been trying to find books written in the same style but had been unsuccessful until I was introduced to this series. These books were a joy to read and I'm so glad I found out about them.
What I liked best about the story is that even though this book takes place in a small town, there's no busy body who tries to poke their nose in everyone's life. That always bugged me about books that are like this so I was really happy to see that element was not included. Instead what we get are wonderful characters that I really felt I could relate too. The Walkers are trying to start up a new life in a new town and need all the help they can get. Meanwhile the other residents are trying to get used to them. I also liked the monks. They added a interesting touch to the story. I also love how the mayor is a dog and the most famous member of the town is a plastic flamingo.
There's an interesting thread in the story about why a certain towns member is so against the Walkers opening their inn as well as the former Abbey itself. It actually goes pretty deep in the story and I really appreciated the depth. It's also a funny book as well. The newspaper articles give a great insight into small town life as they don't linger on the murders or robberies of big city news but instead give focus to the people of the town. It's almost like stepping back into time to when neighbors unlocked their doors and everyone knew everyone by first name. The sheriff's complaints are a hoot! I love the run-ins with the wildlife as well as the calls made that like "a squirrel stole a flower bulb" or "man reported feeling dizzy after smelling goose dung." Even though I know that's part of the story, somewhere in America I'm sure there's a local newspaper that has the exact same thing.
I really have enjoyed my visit to Lumby. It is such a refreshing read and I can't wait to come back and visit. There's nothing offensive at all in this book and if you are a Mitford fan you will really like these books too. Also included in the book is the Lumby Reader which includes a fun interview with the author and the characters as well as some yummy sounding recipes. All in all this has been a really great book to read and I can't wait to get into the next book in the series. HIGHLY recommended.
The Lumby Lines by Gail Fraser is published by NAL Trade (2007)
This review copy was provided by a publicist