Audrey Whitman’s dreams are coming true. Now that their five kids are grown, she and her husband, Grant, are turning their beloved family home into a cozy bed and breakfast just a mile outside of Langhorne, Missouri.
Opening weekend makes Audrey anxious, with family and friends coming from all over to help celebrate the occasion. But when Audrey’s daughter, Landyn, arrives, the U-Haul she’s pulling makes it clear she’s not just here for a few days. Audrey immediately has questions. What happened in New York that sent Landyn running home? Where was Landyn’s husband, Chase? And what else was her daughter not telling her? One thing was for sure, the Chicory Inn was off to a rocky start. Can Audrey still realize her dream and at the same time provide the comfort of home her daughter so desperately needs?
About the Author
Deborah Raney’s books have won numerous awards including the RITA, National Readers' Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. She and her husband, Ken, recently traded small-town life in Kansas—the setting of many of Deb's novels—for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita. Visit Deb on the web at DeborahRaney.com.
Read an Excerpt
Home to Chicory Lane
A Chicory Inn Novel
By Deborah Raney
Abingdon PressCopyright © 2014 Deborah Raney
All rights reserved.
So, Mrs. Whitman, is everything ready?" Grant stood under the archway dividing the formal dining room from the parlor, smiling that cat-that-swallowed-the-canary grin Audrey adored. And had for nearly thirty-five years.
She went to lean on the column opposite him. She loved this view of the house—no, the inn. She must remember to refer to it as such. This wonderful house where they'd raised their five kids and where she'd played as a little girl had finally become The Chicory Inn. The stately home just a mile outside of Langhorne, Missouri, had been built by her maternal grandparents on a wooded fifty acres with a clearwater creek running through it. Now it was her fifty-five hundred square-foot dream fulfilled. Or at least that was the plan.
Audrey gave her husband a tight smile. "I'm as ready as I'll ever be. I just know I'm forgetting something."
"Come here." He opened his arms to her.
She stepped into his embrace, desperately needing the strength of him.
"Everything looks wonderful, and anything you forgot can't be too important. Just look at the weather God supplied—sunshine, cool October breeze, and the trees are at their autumn peak. Even the chicory is still in bloom in the ditches. Made to order, I'd say."
She nodded, feeling as if she might burst into tears any minute.
Grant pulled her closer. "Can't you just enjoy this weekend? It's no fun if you're in knots the whole time."
"Were we crazy to invite the kids home for this?"
He kissed the top of her head. "We were crazy to have kids, never mind five of them. But hey, look how that turned out."
"I wish your mom could've been here."
He cleared his throat. "Trust me, it's better this way. Besides, you know she'll find a way to get in her two cents, even from the wilds of Oregon. What do you want to bet she'll call, just as guests are arriving, to make sure you didn't forget anything?"
She loved Grant's mother dearly, but the woman did have a way of trying to run the show—even when it wasn't her show to run. Grant was probably right. Cecelia—or CeeCee, as the kids called their grandmother—had timed her trip to visit Grant's brother perfectly.
Audrey's cell phone chimed, signaling a text message.
"See?" Grant gave her an I-told-you-so grin. "There she is."
She checked her phone. "Your mother barely knows how to make a call on a cell phone, let alone send a text. Oh, it's Link. He's running late." She texted a quick reply to their son.
"Link late? Well, there's a huge surprise."
She laughed, grateful for the distraction. Their son was notoriously tardy. But after she put her phone back in her pocket, Audrey turned serious. "Oh, Grant ... What if this whole thing is a big fat flop?"
"And why, sweet woman, would it be a flop, when you've poured your heart and soul and passion into it for the last eight months?"
"And most of your retirement funds, don't forget." The thought made her positively queasy. It wasn't as if he could just return to his contractor job tomorrow and get back his 401K. "Not to mention a lot of sweat equity."
"And don't forget the blood and tears." He winked.
"And your blood pressure," she said with a look of warning. "How can you joke about this, Grant? What if we—"
"Shh." He tipped her chin and silenced her with a kiss.
She knew Grant had been relieved to get out of the rat race his job had become. In fact, his doctor had prescribed retirement along with the blood pressure meds he'd put Grant on last fall. The past year of renovations had been anything but relaxing, but things would settle down now that the remodel was finished. Maybe this was all a sort of blessing in disguise. She let that thought soothe her. For the moment anyway.
The doorbell rang.
"That'll be Corinne." She pushed away from him. "She promised to help me with the hors d'oeuvres."
"I don't see why we couldn't just have chips and salsa or pretzels or—"
"And don't forget your tie." Audrey scooped the despised noose, as Grant had dubbed it, off the end of the hall tree and tossed it at him.
He caught it and dangled it by two fingers as if it were a poisonous snake. "You're not really serious about that?"
"Serious as a heart attack."
Grant's grumbling faded behind her as she hurried to answer the door.
Their eldest daughter stood on the wraparound veranda with almost-two-year-old Simone propped on one hip.
"Corinne?" Audrey sagged. "I thought Jesse was going to watch the kids?"
"He is, but I think Simone's cutting teeth, and I didn't want Jesse to have to deal with that, too. You know how he gets when—" Corinne stopped mid-sentence and eyed her mother. "It'll be fine, Mom. Dad can watch Simone if we need him to."
"No, your dad has a whole list of things he's in charge of. I need him." She pushed down the resentment that threatened. "Never mind. You're right ... it'll be fine." She reached for her youngest granddaughter and ushered Corinne into the foyer.
Corinne walked through to the parlor, her eyes widening. "Wow! It looks gorgeous, Mom. You've been busy."
"I just want everything to be perfect. Just this one time." She didn't have to look at her daughter to know Corinne was rolling her eyes.
"Just this once, huh?"
She ignored the sarcasm and tweaked little Simone's cheek. "Are those new toofers giving you trouble, sweetie?"
The baby gave her a snaggletoothed grin and wiped her turned-up nose on the shoulder of Audrey's apple green linen jacket.
"Simone!" Corinne's shrug didn't match the grimace she gave Audrey. "Well, at least it matches."
Audrey did not find that amusing.
Corinne swooped in with a tissue, which made Simone screech like a banshee. Which made Huckleberry come running, barking as if he'd just cornered a squirrel.
Great. Just great. "Can somebody please take this dog outside? How did he even get in here?" Audrey hated raising her voice to her family, but she knew too well that the playful Lab could undo in two minutes everything they'd spent a week preparing. "I want him outside until the last guest leaves."
"Come here, Huck," Corinne coaxed, stroking the sleek chocolate-colored coat. "You bad boy."
"It's okay. I'll take him out." Audrey handed the baby off to Corinne, put Huck outside, and came back to the sink. Grabbing a damp dishcloth from the basin, she scrubbed at her jacket, exchanging the toddler's snot stain for a dark wet spot. She prayed it would dry before the first guests started arriving.
The clock in the foyer struck eleven, and a frisson of panic went through her. They had less than two hours and so much still to do. She heard Link's voice at the front door. Maybe she could enlist him to watch Simone for a few minutes. Like his brother Tim, Link had always had a way with kids.
"Hey, Mom. Dad said to report in." Tall and rugged-looking like his father, Link appeared beneath the arch of the kitchen doorway. "Smells good in here." He gave Audrey a quick hug before snatching a bacon-wrapped canapé from a silver tray. He popped it in his mouth before Audrey could protest.
She placed herself between her son and the gleaming marble counter full of food. "There are snacks out in the garage for you kids, but I'm not joking; this stuff is off limits until we see how many people show."
"Got it, Mom. Off limits." In one smooth motion, Link gave her a half-salute and reached behind her for a sausage ball.
"Cut that out! Shoo! Out of my kitchen!"
"Place looks good, Ma."
Grant appeared in the doorway. "Reporting for duty."
Link shot his dad a conspiratorial grin but obediently backed into the entryway. Audrey wondered for the thousandth time why some sweet young girl hadn't snapped up this handsome son of hers. But that was a worry for another day.
"Hey guys," Audrey said, "can you bring in some folding chairs from the garage? Maybe just half a dozen or so. I don't want to set up more than we need."
"You'll need more than six." Grant sounded so sure the day would be a success. "Bring a dozen, Link."
She hoped he was right. But if not ... Well, there would be no problem getting rid of all the food she'd made. The good ol' Whitman family reunion they'd planned for the rest of the weekend would take care of that. The thought brought a pang of longing with it. It was wonderful to have most of her family together, but it wouldn't be the same without Landyn and Chase.
And Tim. Nothing would ever be the same without Timothy.
* * *
Landyn Spencer craned her neck to check the Interstate traffic behind her in the rearview mirror, but all she could see was the U-Haul trailer she was pulling. The extended mirrors on the behemoth were smeared with a dozen hours of rain and dust.
New York was thirteen hours behind her, and with the sun finally coming up, she realized she was in familiar territory.
She'd left the city after ten last night, starting out on only four hours of sleep. She'd been watching the lit-up Empire State Building fade into the skyline in her rearview mirror, and not until she'd passed through the Lincoln Tunnel and come out on the New Jersey side had she finally allowed herself tears.
That was a mistake. She'd been crying ever since. But enough. She had to get hold of herself before she got home. She swiped at damp cheeks, took a deep breath, and steadied her gaze on the road in front of her. If her eyes got any more swollen, she'd have to pull the Honda over. And if she did that, chances were good the stupid thing wouldn't start again. Then she'd really be up the Hudson without a paddle. Besides, right now, she just wanted to put the past—and Chase Spencer—as far behind her as she could.
She still couldn't believe that her husband of six months had gone so far off the deep end. Without even discussing it with her, he'd let their great, albeit small, apartment on the Upper West Side go—sublet their home to a stranger—and rented a fleabag excuse for a studio apartment in Brooklyn. What was he thinking?
He wasn't. That was the problem. He'd let his art rep convince him that living in Bedford-Stuyvesant near some stupid gallery that was supposedly the next hot thing would jumpstart his career. The agent had told Chase the studio would pay for itself in a matter of months—and probably herald in world peace too.
Well, fine. Chase had made his choice. But they were newlyweds. She should have been his choice. Oh, he claimed he wasn't forcing her hand. But if she did what he wanted and followed him to Brooklyn, it meant an almost two-hour commute for her every day. They saw each other little enough as it was! Had he thought any of this through? No, he had not. And despite what Chase said, leaving Fineman and Justus, and a marketing position she loved, didn't leave her with many options. Especially not now ...
The tears started again and she shook her head. She couldn't even let herself think about that right now.
She attempted to distract her maudlin thoughts with the stunning colors October had painted on either side of the Interstate. She thought she'd crossed over into Kentucky, though she didn't remember seeing a sign. If Chase were here, he'd no doubt be sketching the trees or shooting photos in a vain attempt to capture the vivid colors. Then he'd complain that the pictures didn't even come close, and she'd have to—
A horn blared behind her. She checked the mirror and then the speedometer. She was barely going fifty in the left-hand lane. Stupid cruise control had quit working again. Heart pounding, she accelerated and tried to whip back into the right lane only to have the trailer tug her over the line into the passing lane. She finally managed to maneuver to the proper lane, and she glared hard at the driver as he passed her.
It was a stupid, childish thing to do. She was the one in the wrong. But the guy had almost scared her into having a wreck. It would serve Chase right if she had an accident. She quickly checked the thought. He wasn't the only one she had to think about. Mom and Dad had already lost one child. Her throat tightened at the thought of her brother. If they had to go through that again, she wasn't sure they'd ever recover. Besides, Mom and Dad didn't know she was on her way home. If she had a wreck, no one would know why she was on a road all alone, miles from New York.
It did make her smile to think about what her parents' reaction would be when she pulled into the driveway. She hadn't seen Mom and Dad since her wedding in April, and it would be fun to surprise them. Suddenly she missed them the way she had that first summer she'd gone away to church camp and learned the meaning of "homesick."
But how could she tell them she was leaving Chase? After only six months of marriage. She could hear her dad now. "Landyn Rebekah Whitman," he'd say (somehow forgetting she was now a Spencer), "you get in that car and you drive yourself right back to New York." He'd be mad at Chase, too, but she'd be the one who'd get the talking-to.
Well, they didn't know the details. And they wouldn't. Chase had fought hard to win her parents over, and she wasn't going to make him out to be the bad guy now—even though he was. One hundred percent, he was. It still made her furious.
No ... worse than that. It broke her heart.
She was beginning to understand why her parents had been skeptical about Chase in the first place. He was letting this ... delusion of getting rich and famous selling his art sidetrack him. Not that he wasn't good. He was. He had a ton of talent, but that didn't mean he could make a living at it. And their finances didn't exactly allow for risky investments right now.
Chase had landed a job in New York right out of college, working in the art department for a small local magazine. It was a job that used his art skills, and one with room to grow.
But then this nut job art rep had seen Chase's work and gotten him all wired with delusions of grandeur. In a way, she understood. Chase hadn't received much encouragement growing up. His dad left when he was five, and he'd been raised by a single mom who seemed to have a new boyfriend every other week. The minute Chase graduated high school, Mona Spencer had followed some guy out to California. She'd come back for their wedding on the arm of yet another flavor of the week, but Landyn didn't expect to see her again unless she and Chase took the initiative to make a trip out West someday.
Still, despite his rough childhood, and a couple of wild years in high school, Chase had defied the odds and turned into a good guy. A really good guy. Their youth pastor from Langhorne Community Fellowship took Chase under his wing, and by the time Landyn was old enough to date, he was toeing a pretty straight line. Well, except for that tattoo. Dad had come completely unglued when he heard Chase had gotten inked. She'd finally calmed him down by explaining that Chase's Celtic cross—on his collarbone, so it was hidden under most of his shirts—was a symbol of his faith and of the permanence of God's love for him. Landyn had always loved her husband's tat—one he'd designed himself. She'd even toyed with the idea of getting one to match. But so far the fear of her father's reaction and the lack of cash had prevented her—not to mention the disturbing image of herself as a grandma with a shriveled tat on her chest.
After Chase proposed, Mom and Dad insisted they go to counseling before getting married—more intensive than the required premarital counseling—with Pastor Simmons. And though she'd balked big-time at the suggestion, Chase had been willing. And when their sessions were over, she was certain Chase Spencer was ready to be the husband of her dreams—even if her parents weren't convinced.
Maybe she should have listened to them.
Because now he'd quit his job and all but forced her to quit hers. Forced her to run home to Missouri. Except she didn't have a home in Missouri anymore either. Her parents had turned their house into a bed-and-breakfast, and her room was now a guest room at the Chicory Inn. Real original, Mom. From what her sisters said—and from the photos Mom had e-mailed her of the finished renovation—Landyn wouldn't even recognize the place.
Sometime this week was the big open house for the inn, too. She'd told her parents she and Chase couldn't get away—which was true at the time. But now she had no choice. She'd stayed with a friend from work for three days, but if she'd stayed there one more day, she'd have had one less friend. So she'd loaded up what little furniture Chase didn't take with him, and she was headed back to Langhorne.
At least in Missouri she wouldn't be shelling out two thousand dollars a month in rent for some roach-infested studio. And she'd be a world away from New York. And him.
Excerpted from Home to Chicory Lane by Deborah Raney. Copyright © 2014 Deborah Raney. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I just loved this story of Grant and Audrey and their youngest daughter Landyn and her husband Chase. Grant and Audrey turn their home into a B&B much to the dismay of Landyn whom after a fight with her husband runs back home, but not really her home anymore. This is a story of love, hope and faith, especially with Landyn pregnant and homeless? Chase tries to convince himself and especially Grant he is good enough for Landyn. This book reminds me of the vows taken in marriage "For Better and Worse". Remembering we all have our own thoughts and feelings that although you might not think are important, they are! I can not wait to read the rest of the books in this series.
What a good start to this series about the Whitman family. I really enjoyed that the family were real people with real faults and problems, and yet, the love that a family should have for one another was prevalent. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this series. I received this book in a giveaway but was not required to give a positive review. Full review is at my website.
I had already read the second book in the series, which I enjoyed very much, so wanted to go back and read the first book. This series is about a family with adult children and grandchildren. Each book features different family members as the main characters, with the other family members playing secondary roles. This first book tells about the forays of empty nesters, Audrey and Grant Whitman, into the bed and breakfast business. I laughed at many of the scenes. Those were enough to convince me that I don’t have the patience to be in the business, though I have enjoyed my own experiences in staying at lovely bed and breakfast inns. The family dynamics in the Chicory Inn novels is heartwarming and entertaining, often reflecting real life situations. I’m a little skeptical about the financial figures that were complicating the lives of Landyn and Chase. Perhaps, some figures were edited out of the story, but it didn’t sound realistic that Chase would owe the tax amount that was mentioned. Other than that, I think the story seems quite believable. I really like the spiritual slant in the lives of these characters, especially the wise words of CeeCee, the matriarch of the family, when she was talking to Chase. “If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that God rarely works in ways that make sense to us while they’re happening.” The biggest part of the story focuses on the relationship of Landyn and Chase, who are newly-weds of only 6 months. If you enjoy Christian romance, I think you will enjoy their story. If you gravitate toward contemporary fiction about families, I recommend the Chicory Inn novels.
Home To Chicory Lane ( Chicory Inn Book #1 ) By: Deborah Raney I did not know what to expect when starting to read Home to Chicory Lane, but I was not disappointed. Deborah Raney now has me hooked. I will be reding more of her books. I did not have any problems following the story or the characters. Audrey and Grant have spent most of their saving on their home remodeling it into a bed and breakface, Chicory Inn, this is a new start for both of them .Opening day is a big success with family and friends. Driving up the drive way was their daughter, Landyn, driving her car and pulling a trailer . What is going on, where is Chase, her husband of six months. Landyn is a little upset about some of the changes to her old home. Now Grant and Audrey have more worries beside the Inn. What would send their daughter home without her husband , Chase ? Where will they put her. The guest are being toured through the Inn. Home to Chicory Lane main characters are Landyn and Chase. It is a very long ways from New York to Missouri. I fell in love with these two and felt sorry for both of them. I wanted to tell them to stop and grow up. A few times I caught myself saying NO NO and tears in my eyes. Will things work out for Audrey and Grant with their new Inn. What will happen between Landyn and Chase. Faith is the main theme in Home to Chicory Lane. I was given a copy of this book and was not told That I had to give a positive review.
Empty nesters Audrey and Grant Whitman have raised their five children in a stately home just a mile outside of Langhorne, Missouri. Each book in the Chicory Inn Series will focus on one of their children – the first being Landyn Whitman Spencer, the baby of the family. This heartwarming story begins with the excitement and tension of opening weekend of the Chicory Inn. It was Audrey’s dream of renovating the home built by her grandparents over a hundred years ago into a bed and breakfast. Her husband Grant, now retired, had been a bit averse to sinking most of his retirement into the project, but did so without grumbling much… because after all….Audrey had grown up in this house…and he lovingly gave Audrey her way. The Inn was completely filled by reservations and Audrey was having opening day jitters. It did not help that Corrine arrived toting fussy baby Simone. Simone was teething, and Corrine did not want daddy Jesse to deal with that. Corrine cut in that her dad could watch Simone if need be. Her excuse was irritating to Audrey and she pushed down her resentment, even when Simone wiped her nose on Audrey’s apple green jacket and Corrine laughed saying “Well, at least it matches. “ Corrine then dabbed Simone’s nose with a tissue which made her screech like a banshee – causing the dog Huckleberry to come running and barking. Deborah Raney’s prose is transparent and humorous initiating my attention to be held captive from the first page. Little do Audrey and Grant suspect their stress level has only begun. Daughter Landyn Whitman Chase is pulling a U-Haul trailer from New York City arriving home at an ill-timed moment with no explanation. She does have valid reason – to herself anyway – as to why she has come home. Landyn and Chase have been married a mere six months and Chase made a rash decision – without discussing it with her – no less. He had let their apartment on the Upper West Side be sublet, rented a fleabag studio apartment in Brooklyn because God was leading him in this way to further his art career. This made no sense to Landyn…she had much to think about – including a bit of information she was withholding from Chase. I had better stop right here and let you read the story for yourself. Deborah Raney’s plot was well rounded with heartaches to joys. I could identify easily with Audrey as a mother. As I read through the book I could relate to each side of conflicts. If you are ready to laugh and cry, then read this lovely story about family life based on Godly principles. Ms. Raney writes realistic drama with deep feeling and wisdom. This is the first book by Deborah Raney I have read…and it will not be the last. I don’t want to hurry a great writer….she needs time to develop her stories with aplomb and eloquence. I will be patient and wait…keeping my ears and eyes open for the next novel about the Whitman family. Who will be in trouble next? "I received this book from Litfuse for free in exchange for an honest review."
Deborah Raney in her new book, “Home To Chicory Lane” Book One in the Chicory Inn series published by Abingdon Press brings us into the life of Audrey Whitman. From the back cover: Welcome to Chicory Inn… Where family is (almost) always welcome! Audrey Whitman’s dreams are coming true. Now that their five kids are grown, she and her husband, Grant, are turning their beloved family home into a cozy bed and breakfast just a mile outside of Langhorne, Missouri. Opening weekend makes Audrey anxious, with family and friends coming from all over to help celebrate the occasion. But when Audrey’s daughter, Landyn, arrives, the U-Haul she’s pulling makes it clear she’s not just here for a few days. Audrey immediately has questions. What happened in New York that sent Landyn running home? Where was Landyn’s husband, Chase? And what else was her daughter not telling her? One thing was for sure, the Chicory Inn was off to a rocky start. Can Audrey still realize her dream and at the same time provide the comfort of home her daughter so desperately needs? There is something romantic and appealing about a Bed and Breakfast. I would rather stay there than some hotel. Maybe it is the homeliness of the place or just the simplicity. Whatever I prefer a Bed and Breakfast. What do you do when your dream has been not to go to one but to own and run one? And just when you think you have it together one of your married daughters returns home without her husband. And on opening weekend.This is life. It is not always fun and sometimes it doesn’t operate on your schedule. That’s the way of it. Ms. Raney explores the little details of family that make this book so much fun to read. Audrey and the family are all likable and Ms. Raney has a way of making the characters lives very real so that we feel that we are living the moments with them. We feel that we know these people. We enjoy spending our time with them. We root for them to win. And when the book is over and we cannot spend time with them anymore we mourn. The good news is though that there are more books to come in this series and I for one can hardly wait. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Oh my word. I never had a family like the Whitmans but Thanks to Deborah Raney, I can imagine that I have. Family drama is exhausting… I had no idea Deborah Raney had such a long list of best-selling titles to her name but I can see why. NO ONE writes Family drama in a CLEAN, DECENT way, than Deborah Raney. WOW! It only took a page – 1 page for me to get sucked right into this book and it was exceptionally difficult to put down, even with two kiddos wanting my constant attention. Ironically, it has shown me that while I had more the upbringing Chase experienced (minus the mom running off), the family I am raising now is much more on par with the Whitmans – only I just have the two kids. Oh well. They’re still young. Maybe some day… It’s no wonder Deborah Raney has had so many Best-sellers and has such a large following! She paints a vivid picture of everything from the newly-remodeled Inn to the Rain-drenched streets of New York. Her characters are vibrant and REAL, and their story is so true-to-life it’s astonishing! I absolutely love how she weaves God into the story. There’s nothing preachy about it. It’s just how true followers of Christ live their lives, with God at the heart of it all! All told, an excellent read! I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.
Present Day, Missouri Home to Chicory Lane is about Audrey Whitman, her husband Grant and their five grown children. Audrey has dreamed of turning their three-story home into a Bed & Breakfast and now that the kids have all left home she is finally seeing her dream come true. Her B&B is complete and her first guests are pouring in. But it's soon realized that Audrey's B&B is so much more than a place for weary travelers to lay their heads. This is a book that really draws you into the story and into the lives of each character. I loved Audrey, Grant and all of their kids and extended family. The fact that Deborah Raney used a B&B as the setting was perfect for this story. The Whitman's are a down home family in a small town setting. I believe anyone can relate to the story. The characters dealt with issues that families have to cope with each and every day and the guests of the B&B are like extended family and add a lot to the story. I was, honestly, drawn in from the very first page and I hated to see it end. And, I have to admit, it's not often I read a book that I don't want to end. This is good, clean fiction that the entire family will enjoy reading. I am very much looking forward to the next book in the series and I highly recommend reading Home to Chicory Lane so you can kick off what, I think, will be a great series! Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review and no monetary compensation was received.
I LOVE Deborah Raney, so when I saw this was the 1st book in her new series, I was so excited! I so enjoy staying at a Bed & Breakfast, and felt right at home at the lovely Chicory Lane! I love the message that came through loud and clear from the Whitman family...God is in control ALWAYS, especially when we feel everything is out of control, it is then that we see HIM move on our behalf! Thank you Deborah for sharing your gift of writing with all of us and letting us see the many examples of how God moves in our situations and our lives via the Whitman family! I felt like a part of their family! I know the value of coming together as a family and working hard helping those you love when they need you. I cannot wait until the next book comes out!! We get a glimpse of this next novel, Two Roads Home, at the end of Chicory Lane! Don't you just love it when authors provide that! Thank you LitFuse for allowing me this complimentary book in exchange for my honest review!! A definite 5 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥'s for sure!
With Home to Chickory Lane, book one in the Chicory Inn series, Deborah Raney has created my kind of story - small-town setting, a family that I cared about, and plenty of romance and drama. The setting is the beautiful Whitman family home/B &B, located on 50 acres with a creek running through it. There's good character depth and Deborah's prose flows smoothly. A good bit of this story is told from the male perspective, making its appeal reach beyond that of women readers. The first page captured my interest and I'm eager to delve even more into this family's life as the series unfolds. Deborah has a gift for creating realistic characters, and Landyn is kind of hard to like in the beginning. She initially comes across as the spoiled and selfish baby of the family, resenting anyone who tries to tell her what to do, and is willing to walk out on her marriage of six months. Chase, who had been raised by a single mom, was drawn to Landyn's family, yet never felt he measured up in their eyes. I especially enjoy stories about a couple working at their marriage, and Deborah does a great job in showing the problems - insecurity, lack of communication, financial strain - as well as the maturity and growth that comes when love and commitment are in the picture. Chase was almost terrified of being a dad, which made him such a sympathetic character to me. These words express that fear so well: "The only thing he knew about fathers was that they left town the year you started T-ball, when all the other kids' dads were teaching them how to swing a bat and field a ball. And every few years they promised to come visit and take you to the zoo, or the rodeo, or Disneyland. And then you packed your bag and sat on the front stoop from morning till dark, waiting for an invisible hero who never showed up." One theme of Home to Chicory Lane is about seeing the God-given blessings in our lives, for it is so easy for us to focus on the negatives, even as Christians. I loved the road-trip scene where the beautiful hymn, Count Your Blessings, became a springboard for Chase and Landyn to begin putting a name to all that they had. But it was the theme of following God's leading that spoke strongest to me, and all who have struggled with whether what they felt was from God or not can relate to this story. These words spoken by Landyn's grandmother to Chase sum it up well: "God rarely works in ways that make sense to us while they're happening. All too often, it's only after we look back, sometimes many years later - often, truth be told, peering over heaven's balcony - that we can make sense of the way He was working." I enjoyed Home to Chicory Lane very much and recommend it to all who enjoy relationship drama/romance. This is a great beginning to a series that will focus on Grant and Audrey's children, with Corinne & Jesse being featured in the next story, Two Roads Home. Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Abingdon Press for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Home to Chicory Lane is the 1st book in Raney’s Chicory Inn Novels series. The series focuses on the Whitman family, and this title features Landyn (Whitman) Spencer and husband Chase. I absolutely love that the family house turned Chicory Inn is shown on the cover of this book. Upon seeing the cover, I was immediately transported to this Missouri bed and breakfast, and my stay couldn’t have been better! While I was so pleased with the picture of the inn, I was left wondering about some of the characters. I especially had a hard time picturing Audrey, the mother of the Whitman family. While we know her youngest child is 23 years old, I don’t think we’re ever told anything about her own age. I wasn’t sure if she’d have gray hair or brown, if she was in her 50’s or 60’s. That being said, I very much loved the characters. Landyn is annoying at times, and I think that’s so we’re able to see her growth throughout the story. It’s really neat seeing two very different places in one novel (Missouri and New York) both from the vantage point of someone who lives there, not through a tourist’s eyes. I found that unique and satisfying. Raney’s story illustrates God’s plan and perfect timing. Though we cannot see the endgame from the beginning, God knows what He’s doing. I was a little miffed at the typos toward the end of the book, but there’s not much else to complain about. Bonus: there’s a sample of the next book in the series at the end of this one! I highly recommend Home to Chicory Lane to fans of Christian Family Fiction, Christian Romance, and books featuring an inn or B&B. Favorite line: We’re just–imperfect people trying to follow a perfect God. **I received this book free from LitFuse in exchange for an honest review.
Even though I've never stayed at a Bed and Breakfast, it has always been something I could dream doing if I simply had a home big enough and support from my husband to give it a go. For best selling author Deborah Raney, she uses this as the setting for her latest series, A Chicory Inn. In the first novel, Home to Chicory Lane, we get a sense for how and why it all started for Audrey and Grant Whitman, who have a sprawling 5500-square foot home on the lushly wooded acres in Langhorne, Missouri. Now that all their children have grown up and begun their own life, it seems silly to have this big old house all to themselves. So rather than sell it off, they decide to forgo the empty nest, and fix it up as a Bed and Breakfast so that they can continue to tradition of taking care of people looking for peace and relaxation while Grant begins retirement to help Audrey in fulfilling her dream. Like all good dreams, Audrey wonders if she can really pull it off. How to get out the word and keep this dream afloat enough to make a living out of it without depleting their savings. However like all great families when you all pull together you can make it work. Yet the one thing they hadn't bet on was their youngest daughter, Landyn arrives home with a U-Haul attached. After only being married for six short months, Landyn is ready to throw in the towel but first she will need to find a way to tell her parents and odds are they aren't likely to be pleased with her reasons and more than likely neither will Chase, once he finds out what she is hiding. Audrey and Grant wonder if they're opening weekend will be a boom or a bust, but with Grant's blood pressure being more than a challenge, he feels this is just what the doctor recommended when he diagnosed a reduction in his stress levels at work. Retiring and helping his wife manage the Inn sounds like a dream in comparison to the rigorous hours at a high pressure job. But how will they be able to help Landyn if all their rooms are booked solid. Where does one send your child when they need help but they can't exactly move back into their childhood home again? I received Home to Chicory Lane by Deborah Raney compliments of Abingdon Press and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions contained here are strictly my own. This is such a beautiful story about how Grant and Audrey are attempting to solve the dilemmas left when you enter the empty nest chapter of your life and how their experience at whether challenging times in their own marriage will be the foundation that Landyn and Chase will launch their own resolution from. They aren't the pushy parents but want the newly wed couple to be able to see the wisdom that age often brings during challenging times in their own marriage. It's not an easy fix, but in the end it shows how helping our spouse achieve their dreams can be challenging and worth while in the end. Deborah embodies the struggles on both an older and younger married couple so there is truly something the reader can relate to. I easily give this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars and can't wait for the next novel in the series, Two Roads Home which we are given a sneak peek at the conclusion of this one. A readers discussion guide is also included.