By: Olivia Newport
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Publication Date: May 2019
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Olivia Newport delivers an intriguing story in the first of her Tree of Life series, The Inn at Hidden Run.
Jillian Parisi-Duffy is a genealogist and loves what she does. Her home doubles as her office and is nestled at the base of Pikes Peak in picturesque Canyon Mines, Colorado. She shares the quaint and beautifully restored Victorian on the outskirts of town with her lawyer dad, Nolan. Her best friend Nia Dunston is a walk down the street. She runs a bed and breakfast at the end of Main Street and the Inn is quite the tourist destination during the summer months in colorful Colorado. It’s not hard to spot a newcomer to town since its year-round population is miniscule. When Meri shows up on Nia’s doorstop and practically begs for a job, Nia is all too willing to accept the help. It was the excess baggage Meri had in tow that Nia would soon learn was quite a heavy load.
The more Jillian learns about her friend's mysterious new-hire, the more she is compelled to do what she does best: search Meri’s family heritage. With more than enough work on Jillian’s plate already, the last thing she wants to do is take on a pro-bono task. After discussing the details (or the lack thereof) when it comes to Meri and her family history, Nolan steps up to the plate to offer up his attorney skills in an attempt to gain Meri’s trust and determine what this young woman is running from. Why did Meri flee her roots of Tennessee and end up in Colorado of all places? Is she running from the law? Is she running from harm’s way? Or is she simply running from her past with no desire to look in her rear-view mirror ever again?
Olivia Newport has penned a novel worthy of turning its pages to see what lurks ahead. The depths and traits of all her characters are beautifully developed and are easy to connect with. The flow of this story has no drag whatsoever and it is easy to find voice from its inception. Having lived in the Colorado Rockies for many years, I enjoyed the scenery Ms. Newport painted with her words. There were often times when I found myself in the moment and place she described. I tip my hat to Ms. Newport’s ability to stay true to her pen and allow the writing to flow effortlessly as she layers the story with her adept creativity. I look forward to the next book in her Tree of Life series. Well done Ms. Newport.
Quill says: The Inn at Hidden Run is a terrific story that blends history with the present and is full of mystery and intrigue throughout.