There’s something magical about small towns. Having grown up in one, I was privy to the charm and quirky characters that undoubtedly exist in these hidden villages. While some can be ravaged by rumors, gossip and small town politics, towns like Gail Frasers’ Lumby are completely quaint and wonderful. The Promise of Lumby is the fourth book in Frasers’ series, one about a small town named Lumby, located in the upper midwest of the United States. Filled with quirky characters and landmark buildings, Lumby is a breath of fresh air for those looking to escape a fast paced life.
At the start of this Lumby tale, we are introduced to Mark and Pam Walker, who have been centerpieces of the Lumby series so far. Their transformed bed and breakfast, The Montis, has been doing well and Pam is looking to expand. She takes out an ad in the local paper, hoping to find a local chef that can assist her in the kitchen as her dining clientele grows. Near town, local veterinarian Ellen is struggling with a decision she made over a year prior. As she ages more and more, Ellen decides to sell her animal clinic and practice, take a vacation to Greece and then retire more near to her family. The only problem so far is that she can’t find anyone to buy an animal clinic in a small town like Lumby. The town monks of the Saint Cross Abbey run into some troubles as well when they go to the local airport expecting to meet two Japanese monks. However instead of meeting two monks, they are met with a gift of two snow monkeys that they now need to house and take care of, without a vet no less.
The most wonderful thing about the Fraser’s Lumby series is that it’s a story about a town. The characters that live in the town are bizarre, curious people that make an ordinary town seem lively and energetic. The Promise of Lumby also has a lot to offer, story wise. Nestled in with a story about monks and wine, you’ll find a tale of newfound love contrasting with a couple who has been married for almost twenty years. You’ll meet the town mayor, who doubles as the owner of the areas only bar. You’ll even be regaled with tales about Hank, the town flamingo who happens to be plastic, but somehow manages to move about town and is always dressed for the occasion. Visiting Lumby after some time away feels like seeing friends you’ve long awaited to reconnect with; they just make you smile.
Rating: 8/10 – The Promise of Lumby is another great installment in the Lumby series. While it doesn’t do anything to reinvent itself, playing it safe seems to be the answer to the success of this charming series.