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Publisher's Summary

When her grandmother's will wrenches Sara back home from New Orleans, she learns more about Margaret Van Buren in the wake of her death than she ever did in life.

After her last remaining family member dies, Sara Jenkins goes home to The Hideaway, her grandmother Mags' ramshackle B&B in Sweet Bay, Alabama. She intends to quickly tie up loose ends then return to her busy life and thriving antique shop in New Orleans. Instead she learns Mags has willed her The Hideaway and charged her with renovating it - no small task considering Mags' best friends, a motley crew of senior citizens, still live there.

Rather than hurrying back to New Orleans, Sara stays in Sweet Bay and begins the biggest house-rehabbing project of her career. Amid Sheetrock dust, old memories, and a charming contractor, she discovers that slipping back into life at The Hideaway is easier than she expected.

Then she discovers a box Mags left in the attic, with clues to a life Sara never imagined for her grandmother. With help from Mags' friends, Sara begins to piece together the mysterious life of bravery, passion, and choices that changed Mags' destiny in both marvelous and devastating ways.

When an opportunistic land developer threatens to seize The Hideaway, Sara is forced to make a choice - stay in Sweet Bay and fight for the house and the people she's grown to love or leave again and return to her successful but solitary life in New Orleans.

©2017 Lauren K. Denton (P)2017 Thomas Nelson

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Cliché made worse by an unskilled audio perfomer

Recycled plot: Single woman leaves home after college and doesn’t go back much, moves somewhere else and owns shop, has wacky best friend, grandmother (with secrets main character must discover) dies, leaves MC the house that must be renovated, meets man, falls in love, withdraws, comes back, and they all live happily ever after.

I’ve read a fair number of this type and some were quite good because of the characters, writing, dialogue, description, etc. Also, there’s always a few other things added to the bare-bones plot above—like a central conflict. In this case, by the time the conflict comes very near the end of the book, I was quite bored (well, I was bored from page one). And the conflict was so absurd that I fast forwarded, skimmed, skipped a couple of chapters. I missed nothing. The other addition to this stock plot was all the elderly people who lived with her grandmother. Sadly, the author couldn’t make these characters come alive either.

The dialogue was not good—by turns awkward, unrealistic, boring, though the author was excellent at description of concrete things (house, objects, setting). But that won't save a book.

I feel like this a religious author trying to cross into the mainstream (sin and Jesus were mentioned in chapter 2), and while there was not much else in the religious vein it was so…genteel, squeaky clean, so unrealistic in this day and age that I could not suspend my disbelief. Even something that was “scandalous” back in the day was treated with kid gloves. Everything is. Even the one slimy character is well-behaved and never says a mean thing while he’s trying to destroy Sara’s life.

As for the audio narrator, I doubt she’s ever narrated a book, much less performed one. Her voice is nice (but no southern accent and this takes place in the south), and she reads faster than the glacial pace many read at, but: inhalations of breaths and mouth sounds; no character voices—every single person sounds exactly the same; stumbles over words, emphasis on the wrong words, strange cadence sometimes. Worst of all is the emotional aspect. Many times it sounds as if this woman is reading with a smile on her face, and you can hear it. So grandma is dead and it’s supposed to be sad but what you hear is a happy tone. What little feeling the audio narrator is able to emote often seems inappropriate to the words or false—like bad acting. Had the audio performer actually been one, she might have been able to uplift this book to “ok: 2 stars” instead of 1 star all around.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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loved the story

I loved the story and found myself not wanting to stop some days, but I really didn't care for the narrator. At the beginning I had a hard time keeping the story straight. She was to monotone.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I couldn't get through it... horrible performer

This performer was absolutely terrible. I couldn't even get far enough into the book to see if I enjoyed it. I felt like the performer was reading a story to a kindergarten class. However, worse than her giggles (and happy swoons even after the narrator just lost a loved one!), she has NO differentiation between characters. I don't expect performers to nail voices of the opposite gender, but they need to at least try. All of her characters had the exact same voice... the kindergarten teacher happy happy voice. I couldn't stand it. WASTE OF MY MONEY!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Loved the story!

I loved the story within a story!

The narrators smooth easy drawl fit with the context of the characters, but the broken fluency, awkward pauses and constant inhales made it difficult to listen to after a while. I would recommend this title as a great read rather than an audible download.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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I would recommend this book in print

I enjoyed the story it’s a bit sappy but I still liked. I liked Sara and wish I could have met Mags, and the eclectic group living at the Hideaway, the author does a good job of describing the area and people, and I could picture them all.

Karthi Masters is a first time narrator who needs some more work, I was also very disappointed the narrator doesn't have a southern accent and the 2 timelines sound exactly the same and I wish she had some characterizations and not use the same voice for everyone. She also needs to learn to control her breath. This one may have been better in print but I was in the car so kept listening.

I would recommend this book in print rather than audio.

3 ½ Stars

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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It was ok...

This was a feel-good story...a little corny at times, but overall, not a bad book.

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Dull voice

It sounded like it was read in a flat monotone . Usually in the stories I listen to there is a difference in the characters voices. I would never again purchase an audio book with this narrator. It made the story quite bland ..

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Finding yourself where you never expect it.

Often times, who we are is not really who we are, and many times, we don't know it. Sometimes it takes the right place and the right people to allow us to morph into who we were meant to be.