Book Review: "The Promise of Lumby" by Gail Fraser

At Montis Inn, the success of Pam Walker's on-location restaurant is leaving her overworked and frazzled, while her husband Mark's fascination with Internet auctions leads to some outlandish purchases, one of which requires military clearance. Meanwhile, Lumby's only veterinarian, Dr. Ellen Campbell, has decided to sell her business, and the townsfolk are in full panic mode. Who will tell blind Jeremiah that his old horse Isabella is eating rabbit feed, and who will help little Timmy convince his parents that a puppy is the perfect pet?

When animal doctor Tom Candor arrives in Lumby, he seems the answer to everyone's prayers. But some residents are not so trusting of the shy, pensive vet, especially newspaper owner Dennis Beezer, who is determined to expose Tom's secrets. The repercussions lead to an unpredictable, over-the-top adventure, and a heartfelt lesson the people of Lumby won't soon forget...

Oh Lumby, once you come to visit, you never want to leave again. This story is filled with a lot of heart and love. There's so much in this book but it never feels overwhelming when reading. I love the humor that goes into the story as it makes the characters and town come alive. As always my favorite bits are the sheriff's notes and news articles. The small town charm comes through in those and always are great for a laugh.

The main focus of this book is on Tom Candor who has come to replace the town's long term vet. He's hiding from a past that he hopes no one in Lumby will find out. He eventually confides in town handywoman Mac who he discovers a special connection with. The story tracks how Tom keeps doing everything to avoid his past and how the townsfolk slowly begin to find out and try to figure of whether of not they can trust him. The side story involves the monks of the town and their ever growing animal collection. Thanks to a news article, they are getting unique animals sent to them from all over the world and they have no idea how to keep up with their new zoo. It's quite hilarious reading about their adventures.

Even though in the past books I have enjoyed being at the Montiss Inn, Pam and Mark both got on my nerves a bit in this edition. Mark seems to have no control over his spending habits as he keeps buying things that not only his budget can afford but also are almost completely useless to the inn's well being. It's just annoying because one would think that a grown adult could and should check all information before making such rash purchases but he doesn't and then has to pay to consequences. Subsequently Pam never rebukes Mark for wasting their money, therefore allowing him to continue this trend. The problem I had with Pam involved her reluctance to give up control of her kitchen to their new chef whom they needed. While I can understand her feelings, I felt that it got a bit out of hand and I'm glad that she finally realized her mistake.

Other than this minor qualm, I really loved reading this book. There's a lot of humor and overall a really good story. Lumby is a small town but Fraser writes the books without the stereotypes other books give to small towns. These are total comfort reads and are read best with a cup of tea or lemonade at your side. While these books are best read in order to get the full range of the characters, they can be totally read as stand alones and be highly enjoyable. I am so glad I discovered Lumby and I enjoy the time spent during each visit and can't wait to return again.

The Promise of Lumby by Gail Fraser is published by NAL Trade (2009)

This review copy was provided by the publisher


  1. I really want to read this series - you've made it sound so good.


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