The argument raged. One woman insisted that if you said you didn’t like something that meant you disliked it. For what it’s worth, she also seemed to imply it wasn’t “nice” not to like everything that isn’t outright evil.
The other woman, however, said well what I’ve often thought. “There’s a reason why we have the words like and dislike. To like is to enjoy in some capacity. To dislike is to actively ‘not enjoy’ something. If you simply ‘don’t like’ something, that only means what it says. You don’t like it. It can mean you are ambivalent to it.”
After reading a new book recently, I have a new conundrum for you. What do you call it when you both like and dislike something—at the same time? And, to add further paradoxical frustration, what happens when you can also say that you’re ambivalent?
Then, to top all that off, how about this? With those three things in play, how do you then choose a star rating for a book?
Yeah. It’s about a book. I’ve been looking forward to reading The Inn at Hidden Run since I requested a review copy months ago. And now that I’ve read it, I’m at a loss. And I have a question for myself.
Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Additionally, I requested a review copy of this book. This is what I thought.
Will I Read the Rest of This Unique New Series?
There’s a lot to like about The Inn at Hidden Run. You take some quirky characters, put them into tense situations, and fun things emerge. Mix in interesting settings and a cool dual-timeline plot and really, what’s not to like?
Sigh. That’s my problem. I want to love it all. In fact, I was convinced, before ever cracking a cover, that it would make my top books of 2019 list.
Despite the strengths of the premise, the characters (seriously, I loved hating one of them), and the setting, there were other things that just… not so much.
I think it’s best just to list them and move along.
The synopsis opens talking about Meri and even when other characters are brought in, they’re written about as if they are secondary. So, I was lost at first, trying to figure out where these people came from. What happened to Meri?
She shows up later in the first chapter. There were other confusing times, but I suspect those could have been me.
Seriously. Nothing about the opening chapter hooked me. In fact, a friend was there when I began reading and I remember saying, “I think we could easily cut out the first half of this chapter.”
In retrospect, I disagree with myself, but it was my first impression.
Difficult suspension of disbelief
Look, I get overbearing families and hard expectations. Seriously, a couple of the things Meri heard from her parents regarding school achievements I heard from mine. Parental expectations can be nightmarish sometimes. But the way Meri handled herself, and the way the other characters reacted to her—too much of it seemed unrealistically over the top in places where realism was needed.
As you can see, I had problems. BUT, there were excellent elements to The Inn at Hidden Run.
- The historical story was beautifully and excellently done. I really enjoyed the characters, the description, and the pull of the tragedy unfolding before you.
- The tie-in between the historical and the present. I loved how we got to see where Meri’s past had actually shaped her present.
- The genealogical premise. Basically, what you have is a genealogist detective. I want to read that story. And I suspect we will in future books.
So, because of that, I’ll be pre-ordering the next book in the series, and I really hope I’ll get to say that I really liked it. As for this one, I still don’t know how to define my thoughts.
I’m not sorry I read it or requested the review copy I was provided, but I don’t know who to recommend it for—or if I can.
I’m curious. Has anyone read it? What’d you think? Has anyone read both this one and The Pink Bonnet?