About the book:
Ever since his mother left, life has't been easy for Heath Wellington III. Between his father's (Junior's) bouts with alcoholism and literary rejection, and Heath's own wrongful suspension from school, there hasn't been all that much to be thankful for.
But following the tragic death of estranged grandfather Senior, father and son alike stand to inherit a life-changing fortune . . . with one catch. Heath and Junior must spend the next three months managing Senior's bed and breakfast, located in the same Massachusetts home Junior has spent the last eight years trying to escape.
Upended from his everyday life and relocated to a town where everyone knew and loved the grandfather he can't even remember, Heath finds an inn full of some of the strangest people he's ever met, such as:
* Winsted, the old, wise Jamaican man who used to lead the prayers in Senior's factory;
* Mrs. Farrel, an elderly woman giving away her late husband's fortune letter by letter;
* Mustang Sally, the muscle-bound, tattooed grease monkey who doubles as a children's author;
* And Carter, the silent TV news junkie and secret Harvard graduate.
And, at a nearby school is Savannah, Junior's first love, and her adorable, autistic daughter, Tori.
But most of all, there's Junior himself, vinegar to Heath's oil. As Heath adjusts to his new world, what he needs most is to start anew with his father, to understand that Junior, too, is dealing with loss, and to realize that, even in the most tragic of times, there's a lot in life to be thankful for.
Thanksgiving at the Inn is a beautiful story of family and forgiveness, and a sure holiday classic. Tim Whitney's fantastic, heartwarming debut is one you'll want to read with the whole family for years and years to come.
Heath is a delightful, thoughtful boy who struggles with finding his place in life. He craves his father's love, but all Junior can seem to do is criticize and neglect him. Like many fathers and sons, Heath and Junior butt heads and can't seem to get along, and Junior's own struggle with alcoholism and finding his own place in life, doesn't help the situation. Once Heath and his father arrive at the inn, however, Heath finds the family he's always dreamed about having, even as his own father grows more distant. The other residents take him in and, from them, he begins to learn about love and gratitude, and even begins to understand his father a little better.
I think that this is a terrific book to read any time of year, but it's particularly heartwarming to read during the holidays when gratitude and family are at the forefront of people's lives. While the target audience is middle school age, it is certainly a book for all ages. I loved Heath and Winstead and Sally. I found the characters fairly well developed and certainly likeable. Some might say the story is predictable, but I loved the lessons that Heath and his father learned: the true meaning of gratitude; that family is important; and being there for someone else really just might make a difference.
This was a charming novel and a terrific debut for Tim Whitney.
Thanks to Harrison Demchick of Bancroft Press for the opportunity to review this book. You can purchase your own copy of this terrific book here.
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