The Village Inn of Secret Dreams

The Village Inn of Secret Dreams

by Alison Sherlock
Setting: England
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Family & Relationships, Family Life, Fiction, Friendship, General, Holiday, Mashups, Romance, Women, Workplace
Published on September 30, 2021
Pages: 341
Format: eARC Source: Book Tour, From author/publisher

Brand NEW from the bestselling author of The Village Shop For Lonely Hearts. After escaping her parents’ unhappy marriage to sleepy Cranbridge a long time ago, Belle Clarke dreams of staying at The Black Swan Inn forever.
But with the rundown Inn threatened with closure, Belle may be forced to leave, unless a buyer can be found ... quickly.
So, when her oldest friend Pete Kennedy returns from working abroad with a plan to save the Inn, Belle should be overjoyed. The trouble is, Pete has some rather radical ideas for the renovation which Belle disagrees with.
But when a snow storm hits, Belle and Pete are forced to put aside their differences and work together to help the village.
Can Belle realise her dreams to stay in Cranbridge and can Pete ever stop running from his past?
As they try to save The Black Swan Inn, secrets are revealed and just maybe they’ll finally find out how they really feel about each other.
Praise for Alison Sherlock:'Glorious escapism. Uplifting, heartwarming and joyful, Alison Sherlock writes with a warmth and lightness of touch' Kerry Fisher'A lovely story of finding yourself and discovering what home means. I couldn’t stop turning the pages. Loved it.' Jessica Redland

This is the story of renovating a run-down inn in a small British town. The current owners are nearing retirement and haven’t wanted to invest in the inn for a long time. It shows. The food is inedible and the drinks are the cheapest available. They would have closed a long time ago if there were other options for nighttime entertainment nearby.

Belle is the niece of the owners. She wants to stay in the inn forever but doesn’t see how that could happen. When her aunt and uncle jump at a drunken offer to buy the place she is not happy to find that she’ll need to rely on her estranged best friend for a job. She is extra mad because he’s made it clear that he is only looking to flip the property.

The story is nicely predictable. You know how this is going to go but it is an enjoyable read. Pete is supposedly a big financial sector success but not very bright. He doesn’t do any market research before just running headlong into renovating the inn into a modern gastropub. He also has a big hangup about his late father because he thinks he found a secret that his mother doesn’t know about. Anyone who has ever been married knows that what he thinks he found would never be a secret between a long time married couple. It could also have been easily resolved by asking a few questions or even doing a simple internet search but he left town for years and is determined to never get into a committed relationship because of it. Props for his mother pretty much telling him he was dumb when he had his “big reveal.”

Belle is a bit more logical. She craves security and likes to fade into the background. Her only goal is to work at the inn. She does turn out to be the world’s fastest quilter. Several times she makes a quilt in an evening. It takes me months. Kudos to her.

The inn does sound like a fun place to hang out. This book is part of a series but functions well as a standalone.