A collection of Mill River residents experiences heartache and triumph as the McAllister mansion is renovated into a bed-and-breakfast.
When Emily DiSanti, who's managing the renovation, agrees to have it completed in time for Claudia Simon and Kyle Hansen’s wedding reception, she doesn’t realize how stressful the job will be, but having made the promise, she's determined to keep it. Emily finds the romantic overtures of the town’s new police officer, Matt Campbell, unwelcome, but he soon becomes a friend and valuable partner in the McAllister project. She’s not looking for romance, even if Kyle and Claudia make a perfect couple and leave her feeling a little wistful. Even more distracting is the discovery of an ancient briefcase in a secret compartment Emily stumbles upon during the renovation; inside are decades-old letters revealing the tragic youth of Mill River’s elderly priest, Father Michael O’Brien, who was a teenager during the Great Depression. Beloved Father O'Brien seems to have gone through just about everything, and Emily is alternately amazed by his story and guilty for reading about it in secret. However, she can definitely see where his wisdom and compassion come from. His pastoral gifts are a true godsend to any number of Mill River residents, particularly Karen Cooper, whose husband has disappeared in Saudi Arabia. And despite his worthy work, Father O'Brien has some dark secrets of his own and at least one mystery buried in his past that might be solved when a young journalist writes an article about his long life and service. Chan continues her Mill River series with this layered and heartwarming novel that intertwines a number of engaging contemporary storylines and intersperses them with Father O'Brien’s moving Depression-era experiences, offering some fascinating insights and historical details along the way.
A light-handed affirmation of the power of love, faith, and community.