“Frostfire Inn” by Lia Garret is an introductory novella that begins the series of “Stories from Tanager Valley”. Like many other authors are doing, this novella offers a sample of the upcoming books as a teaser that creates interest in both the author and the series.
Lauren Endicott’s father died in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. She investigated the case on her own, and turned the story into a thinly veiled novel that became a best seller. After the novel’s release, Senator Huntington, who was implicated as the real murderer, committed suicide. Lauren went into law, and moved to a foreign country, hoping to put her past behind her. Her job is less than fulfilling: just shuffling papers.
Ten years later, Lauren comes back to Tanager Valley. She purchased a bed and breakfast there, and takes over for an ill manager. At the same time, the Huntington family books several rooms at the inn for one of the son’s wedding. She hopes no one will recognize her.
Hiding her identity every way she can, she becomes attracted to Flynn Huntington, the son of the senator she believes framed her father. As they get to know each other, pieces and clues about the case become apparent.
The book is well-written and clean. The plot moves along smoothly until the end.
A good mystery puts clues in front of the reader that can be added up to solve the case. The author did this fairly well as far as the murder case goes. She has false leads, more than one suspect, and all the makings of a good mystery. That much of the ending is satisfying.
But the murder case is only one of the problems that this character has to solve. The inn isn’t making enough money to be profitable. When the reader adds up the clues about her career, the ending for her money problem isn’t logical.
It takes a strong, hard-working and intelligent woman to finish law school. Strong people take an injustice, or a big hurt, mix it with courage, and turn it into a resolve or commitment that this injustice shouldn’t happen again—to her or to anyone else.
Literature has the power to bring out the best in all of us by giving us an example to follow. In this case, the author falls short of showing us how to strive to be our best, and how to use our talents and abilities for the good of all.