Friday, February 15, 2013

Review: The Guestbook by Andrea Hurst

Adult Contemporary Romance

This book weaves together the heart of Nicholas Sparks, the romance of Nora Roberts, and the charm of Debbie Macomber.

Fleeing her picture-perfect marriage among the privileged set of Brentwood and the wreckage of a failed marriage, Lily Parkins decides to move to the only place that still holds happy memories, her grandmother’s old farmhouse. The lush and majestic setting of the Pacific Northwest calls to her and offers a place of refuge and perhaps renewal. Her grandmother has passed away, leaving the Madrona Island Bed & Breakfast Inn to Lily.

Left with only an old guestbook as her guide–a curious book full of letters, recipes, and glimpses into her family history–Lily is determined to embrace her newfound independence and recreate herself, one page at a time. With the help of the quirky island residents she has befriended, she slowly finds the strength to seek out happiness on her own terms. But as soon as she has sworn off men and is standing on her own two feet, Lily meets Ian, the alluring artist who lives next door, and her new life is suddenly thrown off course. The last thing she wants to do right now is to open her heart to another man.

Ultimately, Lily must decide if it’s worth giving up her soul for security or risking everything to follow her heart.

The Guestbook is the first book in the Madrona Island Trilogy

This book was provided from the author in exchange for honest literary review.

Lily couldn't believe that her seemingly perfect life had crashed down around her. Finding out about Brad's infidelity had crushed her in some ways, but strangely enough had freed her in others. Lily finally had the courage she needed to walk out and find herself. Amazingly enough she has been left an inheritance of her grandmother's home in upstate Washington.
Life in Madrona is far from her lavish life in California. Lily struggles to remember who she is outside of being a man's possession. Her story will prove that love knows no timetable, and sometimes you never really know what you are missing.
I loved the concept of this story. Lily's struggle regain her life is beautifully written. The strength needed to find herself and start again is so true to life. Each of the characters in this little town are so thoughtful and amazing, and leaves you with a "down home" kind of feeling. Lily and Ian's relationship was also done very tastefully. After a controlling relationship it is so hard for a woman to open herself up to romantic feelings again. The plot was very well paced with a bit of suspense and mystery. I did like the fact that everything didn't always go in Lily's favor, yet she kept at it. It is also an easy read which does pull at the readers attention as well as their heart. Editing was very well done. No obvious grammatical or spelling errors to distract the reader. If I had one gripe it would be I felt the incident with her father was foreshadowed to be a big deal, but it was over in a page. I would have like to have seen more of a confrontation, and one where she fought it out. That would have been an epic add to an otherwise amazing story.
This is an adult contemporary romance suitable for mature audiences. I do list this as a recommended read. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that this is the first book of three in the Madrona series. You can't help but fall in love with this quaint little town. Happy reading!!!!

About Andrea Hurst 

When not visiting local farmer’s markets or indulging her love for chocolate, Andrea Hurst is an author and literary agent. Her passion for books drives her to find and write stories that take readers on a journey to another place and leave them with an unforgettable impression. She is a developmental editor for publishers and authors, an instructor in creative writing at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts, and a webinar presenter for Writers Digest. She lives with her dachshunds in the Pacific Northwest, on an island much like the fictional Madrona, with all of its natural beauty and small town charm. Her published books include The Lazy Dog’s Guide to Enlightenment and Everybody’s Natural Food Cookbook, and she co-authored A Book of Miracles. To learn more about Andrea and her books, visit or