Saturday, April 30, 2016

Tumbledown Manor

Happy National Honesty Day!  You celebrate this day by being completely open and honest (you are not even allowed white lies). Can you be completely honest for one day?  Here are some historical events that took place on April 30 in history.   The United States made the Louisiana Purchase (remember this from history class) for $15 million dollars in 1803.   George Washington takes the oath of office to become the first elected President of the United States in 1789. He took the oath on Wall Street in New York City. Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford become the first celebrities to leave their footprints in concrete at Grauman's Chinese Theater in 1927.

Tumbledown Manor is a new novel by Helen Brown.  Lisa Trumperton Katz, a writer, has been married to Jake for twenty-three years.  Lisa believes she has a good life (and a happy husband) until she opens the card attached to her birthday flowers and finds out that they are for his mistress.  Lisa asks Jake for a divorce and decides to head back to her birthplace of Australia.  Lisa stays with her sister, Maxine (a real pain in the tuchis) and her husband, Gordon.  Lisa, thanks to her divorce settlement and her income from writing (she is currently doing a three book series based on the Bronte sisters), can afford a place of her own.  Her sister encourages her to purchase a new townhome.  But once Lisa discovers their family home Trumperton Manor (Tumbledown Manor to the locals) is for sale (and in horrible condition), her decision is made.  It will need quite a bit of work, but that does not alter Lisa’s decision.  Her son, Ted and his friends are big supporters and offer their assistance. Lisa also hires Scott Green (local handyman and landscape designer) and the Gray Army to help with the renovations.   Lisa is looking forward to her new life in Castlemaine, Australia.  What secrets will Lisa uncovers about the house and her family during the renovation?  Will Lisa ever be able to complete her latest manuscript (she is suffering from writer’s block)?  What happens when ex-husband, Jake has a change of heart?

Tumbledown Manor is an expected story.  It has a pretty good flow to it and nice writing, but there are really no surprises or twists (I kept hoping for a ghost in the stables).  Everything turns out just like you expect it would.  I do wish there had been more about the renovations on the house and less about Lisa’s writing.  I also found way too many references to egg salad sandwiches (I’m not kidding).  It turned me off eating for several hours.  It was an overused and unneeded reference.  I liked Lisa finding out the history of her family (the scandal) and the addition of Mojo (the cat) and Kiwi (the cockatoo).  Tumbledown Manor was a satisfactory novel, but I wanted more.  It is basically a romance novel with a theme that has been done many times (a woman finds out husband is cheating, gets divorce, and starts a new life by making an impulsive buy).  I give Tumbledown Manor 3 out of 5 stars.  I did like the sweet ending (all romance novels have to have a happy ending).  I think the novel had unrealized potential.  It could have been so much more (a great ghost story or the beginning of a mystery series).

I received a complimentary copy of Tumbledown Manor from NetGalley in exchange for an honest evaluation of the novel.

Guideposts puts out some great series.  If you have not tried them, today is a good day to start.  They are offering the first book (ebook version only) in three different series, for $.99 each (a very significant savings). The three series are Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries, Miracles of Marble Cove, and Mysteries of Silver Peak. I have read and loved each of these series (you can download a version that can be used on your Kindle.  You will have to download, then email to your Kindle with "convert" in subject line). I hope all of you have a great last day of April.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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