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Reviewed by Deborah Stone for Readers' Favorite
Starlight Inn: A Tillie Spencer Novella (Book One) by Lucie Ulrich is a charming Christmas love story that can be enjoyed any time of the year. Ella Dixon is tormented by the failure of her restaurant business and the seemingly unattainable acceptance of her father. She has immersed herself in her second love, which is sewing, and has started a new business. As Ella heads home to spend Christmas with her twin sister, Eva, and Eva's family and their father, she is forced to take refuge at the Starlight Inn due to a snow storm. A peculiar woman, Tillie Spencer, agrees to share her room with Ella in the filled to capacity inn which is run by Nick and his sister Fran. Tillie makes her strange predictions and Ella enjoys the homey and peaceful atmosphere that she has found herself in. She and Nick have definitely noticed each other and there is an undeniable attraction between the two of them.
Christmas Day, the weather eases and the roads are cleared. Ella heads home to see her family and she is taking Tillie with her. Christmas with the family goes as expected with hurtful words exchanged and a shortened stay. Ella drives Tillie back to the inn and agrees to spend the night and part of the following day. Confused about her feelings for Nick and trying to focus on her plans to enlarge her business that is 100 miles away, she leaves early the next morning to return to her life. Was Nick just a chance meeting or is there more going on here? How can she have feelings for someone she has only known for hours or a few days?
Lucie Ulrich introduces characters that are easy to relate to, each with their own well defined role in this delightful story. Ella is strong and determined, yet fragile and unsure. Nick knows what he wants, but isn't sure how to get it. Tillie, the least defined, seems to know things she shouldn't know, and the mystique around her allows your imagination to create parts of the story for yourself. Lucie Ulrich offers a well written, well thought out and very well planned first book, Starlight Inn, in the Tillie Spencer series and I plan to read each one. Very happy to have read this novella and loved it. I look forward to more in the series, and can't wait to see what Tillie is up to next.