First Lines: "Thin rays of afternoon sunlight filtered through the leaves of the old maple tree that dominated the front yard of the Howard family home. Unshed tears blurred Alice Howard's vision as she squinted up at the tree's majestic canopy."
Summary: Alice Howard thought her father would live forever. She realized he was an old man, of course, and his health was failing, but she hadn't prepared herself for the reality of losing him. That's why it came as such a shock when she received a phone call at work telling her that her father had passed away.
Alice's sisters would be coming to town to help her deal with all that needed to be dealt with. It had been quite a while since either of them had been home. Alice was saddened that it took their father's death to bring them back. Her older sister, Louise, is a pianist who keeps busy teaching lessons and accompanying for concerts at church and in the community. Jane, the youngest, runs a restaurant and just went through a difficult divorce. Alice is looking forward to them all being together again.
Once the funeral is over, the sisters begin thinking about what to do with the beautiful Victorian home that they grew up in. Their father left it to the three of them. On a whim, Alice suggests that they renovate the house and turn it into a Bed and Breakfast. She never imaged that her sisters would actually consider it.
As they begin working toward making the Bed and Breakfast a reality, they encounter many difficulties. As estimates come in, they discover this project is going to require quite a bit of money. And then there are people of the town to contend with. Many of them are against making any changes to the house that has been next to the church for decades. Added to this is the unreliability of the contractor they hired. Will the sisters be able to overcome these obstacles and make their dream a reality?
My thoughts: This is the first book in the Grace Chapel Inn series and it was an enjoyable, quick read. The three sisters are unique and had some trouble working together, but each one brings something important to the project. I look forward to seeing their roles played out in future books. I especially enjoyed the character of Aunt Ethel. She is their father's sister and lives in the carriage house on the property. She is a bit younger than their father was and has some strong opinions on the way things should be done. She makes it her business to keep up on what is happening in the town. She comes on strong, but is actually quite tenderhearted.
I especially enjoyed following along with the renovations being done. The sisters end up doing most of them and so must go through the process of deciding on paint colors, themes and furniture for the many rooms. They begin with their own bedrooms, decorating them according to their individual tastes. The difficulty comes when they begin trying to decide on decor for the dining room, parlor and living room.
This series is unique in that it is written by various authors. I have read other series done in this way and the authors do an amazing job of maintaining continuity. I look forward to reading more about Grace Chapel Inn.