The Tumble Inn by William Loizeaux

TUMBLE
The Tumble Inn by William Loizeaux
Publisher: Syracuse University Press
Genre: Contemporary
Length: Full Length (166 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Stephanotis

Tired of their high school teaching jobs and discouraged by their failed attempts at conceiving a child, Mark and Fran Finley decide they need a change in their lives. Abruptly, they leave their friends and family in suburban New Jersey to begin anew as innkeepers on a secluded lake in the Adirondack Mountains. There they muddle through their first season at the inn, serving barely edible dinners to guests, stranding themselves in chest-deep snowdrifts, and somehow, miraculously, amid swarms of ravenous black flies, conceiving a child, a girl they name Nat. Years later, when Mark and Fran are nearing middle age and Nat is a troubled teenager, Mark’s life is ripped apart, forever changed, and he must choose between returning to his old home in New Jersey or trying to rebuild what is left of his life and family in the place of his greatest joy and deepest sorrow. The Tumble Inn is a moving drama about home and about the fragility and resilience of love.

The Tumble Inn is a story that has me examining my own life and priorities. I loved both the characters of Mark and Fran. Mark’s the only narrator in this book but we get a well-rounded view of both him and Fran.

I think anyone reading this will relate to them. Stuck in a job they’re not entirely thrilled about and given the opportunity to do something completely different. Something they’re not really qualified to do but decide to go for it and never look back.

The author did a wonderful job describing the inn that Fran and Mark run and also the surrounding area. I felt like I was there. The secondary characters are wonderful too. You’re happy for this couple when their daughter Nat comes into their life. I did, however, wish the author would have added some more chapters about her and her growing up at the inn instead of using narration to chronicle the years between her being an infant to a troubled teenager.

There’s a sad spot in the book which I won’t give away. It’s a turning point for the characters and you’re drawn further into the story. I loved the ending which gives you that (as all good books should) feeling that you’re glad you took time to read it.

If you’re normally a genre reader don’t let the literary tag on this story put you off. It’s fast paced and Mr. Loizeaux has an easy to read writing style. I’d say add The Tumble Inn to your fall reading list. I know I’ll be looking for more of this author’s work.

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