To read The Lumby Lines is to approach a book in a different manner. Reading this book is equal to a visit to a special place and a special group of people. It’s not your typical page-turner and I mean that in a good way. The Lumby Lines is similar to spending an extended amount of time in a small community and getting to know the residents and the various points of interest. This book is meant to be enjoyed over a long period of time.
Lumby is a small town somewhere in the northwest; it feels like Washington state. It’s inhabited by typical folk who tend to be a bit on the quirky side. The area is surrounded by rolling hills, rivers, a lake, orchards and other small towns.
Outside of Lumby is a very old monastery, Montis Abbey. The monastery is vacant and one of the buildings has been severely damaged by fire. It looks like it will eventually fall in upon itself, and then it is suddenly purchased by some “outsiders,” a couple from the East Coast who want to turn it into an inn.
The physical beauty of the area around Lumby is good but it’s not what kept me “visiting” The Lumby Lines. It was the people. Getting to know the residents is at the heart of the book. Let me tell you about my favorites:
- Mark and Pam are the new owners of the monastery. They’ve walked away from high-powered careers and invested everything they have in the inn.
- Gabrielle Beezer owns a Mexican restaurant in town. Her husband, Dennis, runs the newspaper in a neighboring town. Their teenage son, Brian, seems to love playing pranks that backfire on him. His parents are worried.
- Brother Matthew and a few other monks were former residents of Montis. Matthew is full of wisdom plus a lot of knowledge about the monastery, including the extensive orchards and the beehives.
- Joshua is a former monk who has quite the zest for living and helping others. He and Dennis love betting on all sorts of things.
- Charlotte is probably the oldest resident and definitely the richest. You wouldn’t know it from the dirt under her fingernails or her ordinary life style. She loves to give cashier checks anonymously to various people. She’s a mystery I’d like to know more about.
There are more people to become acquainted with in this book. There are also events in the book that are fun. I enjoyed reading about the construction process on the abbey, an exciting raft race down a swollen river, a budding romance, a new business venture for the monks and the reclaiming of the old orchard.
There are so many other things in The Lumby Lines besides reading the story. The art work you see on the cover is also scattered throughout the book. It’s by the author’s husband, Art Polin. I also liked the occasional listing of the Sheriff’s complaints and the newspaper articles about quirky events in town.
And then, there is the back of the book which contains recipes (a fabulous one for pasta with chicken, brocolli and cheese), an interview with the author, and questions about the book for book clubs. There is a lot to love in this book.
The Lumby Lines is the first book in the series. There is Stealing Lumby, Lumby’s Bounty, The Promise of Lumby, and Lumby on the Air – coming this Spring. I intend to visit all of the Lumby books. There is also a regular newsletter and a great website, Lumby Books. I love the little moose that walks around the edge of the screen.
My stay at Lumby was so pleasant that I want a return visit. I’ve grown so fond of the residents that I won’t be able to walk away from them. I’ll be sure to tell you about them. I’d love it if you joined me.
Check your local library for The Lumby Lines or any of the other Gail Fraser books. The Lumby Lines is also available at Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.)
The Lumby Lines by Gail Fraser – New American Library, 2005 – My Rating: A