Gail Fraser’s The Promise of Lumby is a story of forgiveness and healing. Veterinarian Jeffrey Thomas Candor is running from his past, and he settles in the quirky little town of Lumby hoping its residents won’t ask any questions. He doesn’t expect to fall in love with the charming handywoman Mackenzie Macguire, nor does he foresee interferences from the owner of the town’s newspaper and the town’s mayor in his attempt to start a new life. If you’re looking for a slow, relaxing story with very little peril, this book is perfect for you. However, if you are used to fast-paced, plot-driven books, Fraser’s style will be very disconcerting to you; she will often give all the right clues that something bad is about to happen, but it rarely does. The romantic relationships in the book seemed slightly shallow, but the friendships come off as quite realistic. There are several subplots, which add richness to the story. Fraser also includes several newspaper clippings to add depth and character to Lumby. The last hundred pages or so, when Tom Candor has been run out of town, are the most interesting, as this is when all of the problems have appeared and must now be resolved. Fraser does not wrap up all the loose ends as in a fairytale, in which all involved are blissfully ecstatic, but she does deliver a satisfying ending.
The main plot covers Lumby’s encounter with veterinarian Tom Candor, and vice versa. Tom comes to town to buy the beloved Ellen Campbell’s veterinary practice so that she can retire. However, it soon becomes apparent to all that though he is a talented practitioner, Tom is hiding something. Dennis Beezer, who owns the town’s newspaper, does some snooping and finds out about his tragic past. Enraged that he kept this truth from the town, Dennis teams up with the town’s mayor, Jimmy D, to run Tom out of town. The townspeople object to Tom’s absence, and now they must come up with a way to convince him to return. Meanwhile, Tom and his newfound soul mate, Mackenzie Macguire, are retracing the steps of Tom’s past, and along the way Tom learns forgiveness.
Tom Candor is a talented, naturally passionate man who is trying to hide from some genuine pain and his own suppressed emotions. However, because there are so many subplots, the author never spends too much time with any one of the characters, and the result is that they seem slightly two-dimensional. Their quirks are endearing, but their dialogue and interactions don’t seem developed enough.
Overall, for readers who prefer the slow pace of a country town, The Promise of Lumby is a calm, steady, easy-going tale of redemption. – Becky Blomenberg, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
At Montis Inn, the success of Pam Walker’s on-location restaurant is leaving her overworked and frazzled. Meanwhile, Lumby’s only veterinarian, Dr. Ellen Campbell, has decided to sell her business, and the townsfolk are in full panic mode. Who could possibly replace her?