October 05, 2011
The Tavern on Maple Street by Sharon Owens
I started out not enjoying the book very much. The first couple chapters were like plowing through drudgery and read quite slow. However, after those first few chapters, the plot started picking up and interesting characters were added to the mix. Like Owen's other novels, everything turned out all right in the end.
The main couple of the story, Jack and Lily Beaumont are the owners of the tavern. They have run it as a quiet place for twenty years, living above it and serving drinks and lunch to the regulars. Their world is turned upside down when the street the tavern is on is being bought up to be turned into a mega-mall. Because most everyone else will be selling out due to the exorbitant prices being offered for their property, they are faced with the decision of whether to sell or hold on to the place they love and have their neighbors hate them for it.
As a last chance to hold onto the Tavern, Lily decides to hire a few people and start having events and live music held in the pub. She thinks the added employment and patronage will hold back the building of the mall. She also redoes the tavern with warmer colors and large mirrors, and being that it is near Christmas, holiday decorations.
The four girls that she hires to help her out couldn't be less alike and from the beginning she takes on Bridget O'Malley as a boarder as well. Bridget is accident prone and breaks many of Lily's precious things and she also eats what seems to be twice her weight in food every day.
Daisy an art student is very vivacious and independent. Through a series of events she also ends up boarding at the tavern.
Trudy is a geography student and has a myriad of phobias, including lemons and buttons. She too ends up boarding at the tavern.
As it should come as no surprise, the 4th girl Marie also ends up boarding at the tavern. She is a shy girl, and much prefers being in the kitchen to working in the tavern itself.
Throughout the novel much growth is seen in all these characters. They stop caring mostly about themselves and open up to the people around them. Many love triangles often about with the girls sometimes fighting over the men and sometimes being relieved that they are no longer with the person.
In addition to the main characters, there is a side story about Liam Bradley and his wife Betsy. He is a well-known author who is working on a new book. Both characters are very superficial and the only relevance they have to the main story is that Liam frequents the tavern and also fancies himself in love with Lily. Honestly, their whole role in the story could have been left out and I feel wouldn't have been missed. It seemed more of a filler to make the book longer.
I was a bit disappointed in the ending. While a convenient plot twist left it so the tavern would not be demolished it just seemed like a sell-out to me. However, the resulting funds from the sale helps each of the characters along with achieving their true dreams and love. It also gives Lily and her husband a chance to see the world beyond the tavern.
The Tavern on Maple Street