Jonathon gave me this book for Valentine's Day - gotta love him! I'm always happy to read a book about a hotel, or a house or a shop, and this book has all of them! And it has a gorgeous cover.
The story is about the three Montgomery brothers, Beckett, Owen and Ryder, who are renovating the Inn at Boonsboro, as well as creating a gift shop across the street for their mother. The brothers are friends with two of the shop owners in the street, Clare, who runs the bookshop and Avery who runs the pizza restaurant. These two convince the men to employ their friend Hope as the Innkeeper, which makes three women for three men...can you see where this is going?
Anyway, this is the first volume of a trilogy and in this book we only see the relationship build between Clare and Beckett. Beckett has adored Clare since they were fifteen, and Clare is now an army widow with 3 young sons. A creepy guy in town, who also went to school with them all, harasses Clare, adding an edginess to the story. There is also a ghost in residence at the Inn, and that adds another interesting layer.
The Next Always is a fairly light book, although there is some discussion of death and abuse. The camaraderie between the brothers is quite realistic, and mostly lowbrow with quite a bit of swearing and blokey banter. The female characters seem to be only after one thing, which makes them a bit shallow. The writer paints a vivid picture of the characters and town, however there is much day to day minutiae described, and quite a lot of detailed discussion about renovations, which I mostly skimmed over.
I was mainly entertained by the ghost story and the stalker story. I loved that the rooms in the inn were named after famous literary couples such as Elizabeth and Darcy. I would read the next novels in the series, because I like the story of the inn and the bookshop. The characters are pretty loveable too.
My rating: ***