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The Red Door Inn (Prince Edward Island Dreams, #1)
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Archived Group Reads - 2018 > August's Book of the Month - The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson

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message 1: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2219 comments Mod
Hi, everyone! August's Book of the Month is The Red Door Inn by Liz Johnson.

GR Summary:
Marie Carrington is running from a host of bad memories. Broke and desperate, she's hoping to find safety and sanctuary on Prince Edward Island, where she reluctantly agrees to help decorate a renovated bed-and-breakfast before it opens for prime tourist season.

Seth Sloane didn't move three thousand miles to work on his uncle's B&B so he could babysit a woman with a taste for expensive antiques and a bewildering habit of jumping every time he brushes past her. He came to help restore the old Victorian--and to forget about the fiancée who broke his heart.

The only thing Marie and Seth agree on is that getting the Red Door Inn ready to open in just three months will take everything they've got. Can these two wounded souls find hope, healing, and perhaps a bit of romance on this beautiful island?

Step into the Red Door Inn, a lovely home away from home tucked along the north shore of fabled Prince Edward Island. It's a place where the wounded come to heal, the broken find forgiveness, and the lonely find a family. Won't you stay for the season?

Chime in with a comment if you're planning on joining in!


Charlene | 339 comments I’m in :)


Carissa | 113 comments I'm in


Kate (liahonagirl) | 367 comments I started this last night and I'm intrigued . . . Marie seems so lost . . . I REALLY want to know her back story . . . Jack is so kind and generous . . . and Seth? Right now he's just grumpy . . . but I'm sure there's a reason for that, too. Nothing like a book grabbing you from the get-go! :)


Donna Tulip | 11 comments I'll be reading this.


Chris | 279 comments This such a good read - already read it when it first came out but will be re-reading it!!


Sarita | 1078 comments I'm in


message 8: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2219 comments Mod
I'm really looking forward to this - I read book two first, and I loved it.


Donna Tulip | 11 comments Starting chap 3. Curious about their back story. They seem ....very gaurded.


message 10: by Cheryl, Challenges Mastermind (new)

Cheryl Olson (girlsmama) | 707 comments Mod
I just got this from the library so I'm hoping to join in!


message 11: by Jane (new) - added it

Jane | 114 comments I may join in - depends on what mood this month brings :) !!

I started this book way back when it first came out and never got very far (maybe 5-6 chapters?). I vaguely (??) remember that the main character was getting on my nerves -- she was sort of too over-the-top wet noodle-ish and unrealistically clueless and naive?? But, I've always wanted to pull it off the shelf and try it again when I'm in the right mood. I've heard really good things about this book and the next two in the series, so I'm pretty sure I will ultimately enjoy reading it. Plus, I LOVE the setting!


Donna Tulip | 11 comments Well I finished this. I really enjoyed the secondary characters. I rated it three stars.


Sherrie (sbrittig) | 5 comments I’m somewhere in the middle of the book. I like how Marie is gaining in confidence as she is surrounded by supportive friends. Can’t wait to see how this ends!


message 14: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2219 comments Mod
I hope to get a good start on this tonight! :)


Linda Klager | 34 comments I finished reading Red Door Inn. What a great read. Thank you for recommending it. I have also read book # 2 in this series.


Kerstin | 18 comments Haven't visited here for a while, but when you selecting this book I thought now is a good time to join in. There were such good recommendations a while back I put it on my TBR list. I'm in chapter 11 and enjoying it very much :)


message 17: by Beth, Head Librarian (last edited Aug 10, 2018 05:52AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2219 comments Mod
Jane wrote: "I may join in - depends on what mood this month brings :) !!

I started this book way back when it first came out and never got very far (maybe 5-6 chapters?). I vaguely (??) remember that the main..."


Jane, the main character has panic/anxiety attacks based on a traumatic experience that happened in her past. Once you get the full story, it's pretty understandable why she is the way she is.


message 18: by Beth, Head Librarian (last edited Aug 10, 2018 05:53AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2219 comments Mod
I'm at 70%. For the first little bit, I was skeptical about how these character would mesh, but once I got to about 40%, I started liking it a lot. I hope to finish it tonight. :)

Also, I have to say until the type-writer came into play, I was really not liking Seth all that much. That really helped me warm up to him.


Linda Klager | 34 comments Yes, the story of the typewriter and how it relates to Marie and Seth is a very good one. You are right - it made me like Seth much better.


message 20: by Kerstin (last edited Aug 10, 2018 10:45AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kerstin | 18 comments We are sympathetic to Marie because she is introduced first, and we relate to her as a woman. But when you look closer, both Seth and Marie have experienced grave betrayal by the other sex. As a result, they both express distrust of the other. How they individually express this is very different. She internalizes and he externalizes, which really are manifestations of how they were hurt. What they have to work on in order to overcome the pain is to recognize each other's humanity. How this will unfold I have yet to find out :)


Hannah (bookwormhannah) | 851 comments I also loved the typewriter idea! It was fun and whimsical and added a nice color to both characters.


Maria | 111 comments Loved the typewriter idea, too! Very sweet. :)


message 23: by Cj (new) - rated it 4 stars

Cj | 5 comments I just finished this tonight. This was the first book I read by this author. I enjoyed all of the characters. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series to see what happens next.


Sarita | 1078 comments I enjoyed this book! I actually liked Seth. I think he is one of those strong men (bordering on pride) so his ex-fiance's betrayal would have shook him hard. There was one stage at the end where he did irritate me because I felt like he should have known Marie's character by now.


Kerstin | 18 comments Sarita wrote: "I enjoyed this book! I actually liked Seth. I think he is one of those strong men (bordering on pride) so his ex-fiance's betrayal would have shook him hard. There was one stage at the end where he..."

"like button" :)


message 26: by Miles (new)

Miles Royer | 4 comments I will get it too soon, it sounds great. Thanks


message 27: by Ebonie Jade (new) - added it

Ebonie Jade | 5 comments Reading and Enjoying! :)


message 28: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2219 comments Mod
I'll post some discussion questions this evening! :)


Linda Klager | 34 comments Thank you, Beth!


message 30: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2219 comments Mod
Hello! Here are some discussion questions - feel free to answer any of them and/or post your own questions and comments.

I'll try to come up with more this weekend. :)

**SPOILERS BELOW**

1. This story is set on Prince Edward Island, a very well-known place - did you feel a strong sense of place while reading the story?

2. Prince Edward Island provide Marie with a refuge and healing - especially the shore, as well as Seth's spot. Is there a place that feels like a refuge for you?

2. Marie was a victim of rape in her past - how do you feel that the author handled Marie's memories of this traumatic event, and how realistic did you find her reactions in the present day?

4. What did you think of Jack when Marie first meets him? Did it seem realistic or too good to be true? Do you know someone like Jack?

5. Seth is clearly still reeling from the betrayal from his past when he and Marie meet. Both react strongly to things, but in very different ways. How would you describe the way they each react and handle their emotions? Did their reactions ring true to you as the reader? Why or why not? If you're up to sharing, are you one to internalize your feelings or let them out in other ways?

6. Who is your favorite character in the story and why?

7. Which scene, if any, stood out to you the most?


Sarita | 1078 comments 1. This story is set on Prince Edward Island, a very well-known place - did you feel a strong sense of place while reading the story? I did feel like I could picture the place due to the great descriptions the author used to describe the island

2. Prince Edward Island provide Marie with a refuge and healing - especially the shore, as well as Seth's spot. Is there a place that feels like a refuge for you? Any place in nature, usually the beach but if it is nature it works. Lately just running in our neighborhood also refreshes me.

2. Marie was a victim of rape in her past - how do you feel that the author handled Marie's memories of this traumatic event, and how realistic did you find her reactions in the present day? I think it was very realistic, how she avoided physical contact from people and withdrew in herself. Even how she started to overcome this and having feelings for Seth. The feelings for Seth just felt a teeny bit fast compared too her anxiety attacks, but it didn't feel unrealistic.

4. What did you think of Jack when Marie first meets him? Did it seem realistic or too good to be true? Do you know someone like Jack? I think he was realistic. My father-in-law comes to mind, he always tries to help people where he can.

5. Seth is clearly still reeling from the betrayal from his past when he and Marie meet. Both react strongly to things, but in very different ways. How would you describe the way they each react and handle their emotions? Did their reactions ring true to you as the reader? Why or why not? If you're up to sharing, are you one to internalize your feelings or let them out in other ways? I liked Seth, I saw him as this macho man who takes pride in his work and before Reece probably his judgements and choice. I think Reece broke his trust in himself as well and that was why he had this extreme distrust in Marie. I do think at the end his reaction was a bit extreme, since he should have known Marie's character, but she did hide her wealth from him, so I can see how he would have reacted harshly because he probably knew Reece longer than Marie and she betrayed him.

Marie's reactions, except for those due to her rape, was mainly I think due to how her father treated her, so from an early age I think she learned to protect herself and probably didn't feel wanted and that was why she wanted to leave.

I'm a bit of both - some times I will overact like Seth and after I had a cool down period, I could look more calmly at the sceneraio and react better (this is like 80% of the times). Other times I would withdraw and go quiet if I feel like I'm not being heard or think the reaction will be negative.


6. Who is your favorite character in the story and why? Aretha - her personality drew Marie out and I loved her straightforwardness at the end towards Jack and Seth.

7. Which scene, if any, stood out to you the most? There was a few:
- the typewriter scene
- where Seth protected Reece when her father visited
- Aretha's speech at Jack and Seth
- when Jack went to speak to Aretha.



Sarita | 1078 comments I will raise a question:

It was clear in this story, that a lot of Marie's understanding and her relationship towards God was affected by her relationship with her father.

If you are willing to share, did your earthly father shape your idea of God and would you say positive or negative?

And, was there someone who played a role like Jack towards Marie, who changed your idea of God.


Kerstin | 18 comments I really liked Liz Johnson's writing style. The narrative flowed smoothly without much redundant repetition. Sometimes in these novels whatever the hangup is, it gets repeated over and over again ad nauseam. Here we have forward progress. She puts you in the scene with enough descriptions so you have a sense of place. Though if you compare modern novels with vintage ones, the descriptions are not nearly as beautiful or poetic. When you read Lucy Maud Montgomery, who was referred to much for obvious reasons, her linguistic ability was on another level. Maybe this is due to the sign of our times, we shy away from what is deemed "flowery" language. But I think we have lost much beauty in the process.

Seth's skepticism at the last scene of confrontation I thought was a bit much. As Sarita commented earlier, he should have known better. He is much too smart to trip up like that. I think this may have been an editorial decision to ratchet up the tension before the resolution. It left a jarring taste. This could have been resolved much better.


message 34: by Beth, Head Librarian (last edited Aug 23, 2018 11:17AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2219 comments Mod
1. This story is set on Prince Edward Island, a very well-known place - did you feel a strong sense of place while reading the story?
I really love setting descriptions but that's really not the trend of the day, so l always seem to crave more than what contemporary books give, however, I did still get a grasp of the important components, the coast line/beach where Marie ran, the inn, parts of the town. I also got a sense of the people of the place, thanks to the endearing characters. Could I have felt a stronger sense of place? Probably, but between those two things, I was satisfied.

2. Prince Edward Island provides Marie with a refuge and healing - especially the shore, as well as Seth's spot. Is there a place that feels like a refuge for you?

I am such a homebody, so I find a lot of comfort in my own home and in the simplicity of our back yard and a walk around the circle. It's not grand but it is comforting. On the other hand, I do love getting out to the river, hiking, swimming at the lake. Anything outside really. I also love the beach - my family goes to Orange Beach, and while it's not as fancy as other beaches, I love it and always feel so relaxed there.

2. Marie was a victim of rape in her past - how do you feel that the author handled Marie's memories of this traumatic event, and how realistic did you find her reactions in the present day?

I feel that the author handled her memories very well. It gave enough details to share the gravity of the situation. Her reactions felt plausible as well, especially for someone who is used to setting their feelings aside, like Marie often did for her father. So she retreated inward, rather than do outwardly destructive things.

4. What did you think of Jack when Marie first meets him? Did it seem realistic or too good to be true? Do you know someone like Jack?

I liked him a lot upon first meeting. Thought perhaps he had seen his share of life and felt like helping someone in distress. I like how he accepts her without a lot of explanation. He doesn't try to figure her out, he just lets her be. I do know some folks like that, and I love being around them. They just love others like Jesus loves others and meets them where they are.

5. Seth is clearly still reeling from the betrayal from his past when he and Marie meet. Both react strongly to things, but in very different ways. How would you describe the way they each react and handle their emotions? Did their reactions ring true to you as the reader? Why or why not? If you're up to sharing, are you one to internalize your feelings or let them out in other ways?

I admit, Seth's attitude got a bit old. I think it was just from not knowing where it stemmed from. Once he shared his story, I understood. It was sweet how despite his grumpiness, he couldn't resist giving Marie a chance.

I definitely turn inward when I'm dealing with things. However, I do sometimes build up until I snap, and I know that's not good either, so I'm trying to let things out in a healthy way before it gets to that point. Don't always succeed, but it's a work in progress.

6. Who is your favorite character in the story and why?
I really liked Aretha, as well as Caden. Though of different personality types, both ladies are great examples of friendship

7. Which scene, if any, stood out to you the most?

The first memorable scene to me is definitely the type writer scene. That was what made me thaw towards Seth, haha. Then and it continues and becomes a safe way for them to communicate, it was just very endearing and sweet without being too cheesy.

The scenes of the beach and Marie there, slowly overcoming her panic attacks also stood out to me because they were great pieces of her development.

I also loved the auction scene because it propelled both the plot of fixing the inn and also worked toward deepening the friendship between Marie and Seth. And I also just love descriptions of antiques and old stuff. :)


message 35: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2219 comments Mod
Sarita wrote: "I will raise a question:

It was clear in this story, that a lot of Marie's understanding and her relationship towards God was affected by her relationship with her father.

If you are willing to s..."


I do not have a deep relationship with my earthly father. My parents divorced when I was seven, and we just haven't been super close, although I know he loves me very much, and I love him very much, too.

I do think God protected me in not placing my importance and self-worth too much in that relationship, although at times it did make me question. Thankfully, my mother has been long re-married to a wonderful man, who I refer to as a parent as well. He has been my dad in many ways, and I don't mean that in any way negatively toward my "real" dad. They are both my real dad to me, both fathers in my heart, though only one biological.

I often have to alter my thoughts of myself versus God's thoughts of me. Perhaps this is from a culmination of many things from my childhood, not just having divorced parents. That said, I do see how my feelings could have been very different, and am so thankful that, for the most part, I've been able to view God as He says He is, not as my feelings might say He is.


message 36: by Beth, Head Librarian (last edited Aug 23, 2018 11:32AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2219 comments Mod
Kerstin wrote: "I really liked Liz Johnson's writing style. The narrative flowed smoothly without much redundant repetition. Sometimes in these novels whatever the hangup is, it gets repeated over and over again a..."

I agree! There is a lot of forward momentum and development. It didn't seem like they were going around in circles. I think this might have been part of the reason that Seth's attitude got on my nerves. A little at the beginning was fine, but then at the end, his anger felt overdone. I would have liked to see his feelings more tinged with caution and maybe skepticism, but not full out anger.

I do like her writing style overall. Very engaging and easy to get into the story. Serious/sad topics without being a downer.


message 37: by Miles (new)

Miles Royer | 4 comments I agree, I have the book on hold but I like what Beth wrote about your family compared to God and your relationship with him. God is good.


Sarita | 1078 comments Beth wrote: "Sarita wrote: "I will raise a question:

It was clear in this story, that a lot of Marie's understanding and her relationship towards God was affected by her relationship with her father.

If you a..."


Thank you for sharing this Beth.

For me, my earthly father did have some impact on how I see God. Not that I did not feel important or loved, but more in the sense to go to God and asking Him for every small thing. My earthly father is a very quiet man, and when I was younger, his quietness almost "closed" the door to communication, so I usually worked through my mom when asking for anything. So this did cause that I didn't really talked about things with God or still sometimes lay my heart's desires open before God. Now I do communicate a lot with my earthly father but it it is still difficult to be totally open and honest with God (which is weird because He knows everything anyway).


Linda Klager | 34 comments The thing that I liked most about this book was how the author described the area. I would love to travel there some day. So glad Marie and Seth were able to work out their struggles. The author also did a great job showing how hard it must have been for them to learn to trust again.


Rheetha Lawlor | 6 comments I enjoyed reading this book for a couple of reasons. First, it's PEI, and who couldn't love that. Plus, I think the author did a fantastic job creating the quaint town but not rehashing Anne of Green Gables. I truly enjoy small town books, so this was right up my ally.

Secondly, I applaud the author's inclusion of some very real situations that are traumatic. Neither the assault nor the "duping" were treated with quips that are meant to be encouraging but sometimes tend to be hurtful. It was dealt with the real emotions that come with jarring situations. I think Seth held on to his hurt a little too long though, but maybe that was for the story. Or not. I don't know since no one has duped me for all my money by pretending to love me.

I loved Jack. I mean, who wouldn't. I don't think I'd just go on a boat with him, but then again, I've never only had 10.00 to my name with no place to go. And Aretha. She is a spit fire go getter! You go, girl. Plus, cool name. Haha. (My name is Rheetha so I was super psyched every time I heard it on audible).

And above all, like mentioned in previous points, I loved the comparison of our earthly fathers to God. And she had a horrible no good father to her, so how cool was it to portray God's ability to provide someone who can show that dimension of Him.


Linda Klager | 34 comments I love your comments, Rheetha! This was an excellent read.


message 42: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2219 comments Mod
I agree, Rheetha. Johnson doesn't resort to trite platitudes for neither of their experiences. It is refreshingly done for sure.


message 43: by Beth, Head Librarian (new) - rated it 4 stars

Beth | 2219 comments Mod
I'm loving everyone's comments! :)


Melinda Freeland (melindafreeland) | 14 comments I gave this novel 4 stars, and I definitely would be interested in reading more of this author's books.

Answer to questions:
1. This story is set on Prince Edward Island, a very well-known place - did you feel a strong sense of place while reading the story? Adequate. I've watched Anne With an E on Netflix, so I guess my mind was picturing the setting on the TV show. I did think the author did a good job of describing the beach area where Marie jogged.

2. Prince Edward Island provide Marie with a refuge and healing - especially the shore, as well as Seth's spot. Is there a place that feels like a refuge for you? I guess my own home! Especially in my room, temperature cool, lights low, sitting in my comfortable easy chair.

2. Marie was a victim of rape in her past - how do you feel that the author handled Marie's memories of this traumatic event, and how realistic did you find her reactions in the present day? I think the author handled this very well. I like that the author didn't go into graphic details. The anxiety attacks and Marie shying away from physical contact seemed very realistic to me as how a rape victim would act.

4. What did you think of Jack when Marie first meets him? Did it seem realistic or too good to be true? Do you know someone like Jack? I thought Jack was maybe a little too good to be true, but with him wanting so bad to get the Inn going and memories of his wife, I guess some people really would offer a stranger a place to stay like Jack did with Marie. I guess I do know someone that kind-hearted (and not afraid of strangers!) - my husband's sprite, sweet, 90-year-old grandma "Memarsh." She has always helped out people either by giving them a place to stay for awhile, or driving them to get their shopping and other errands done, etc. She would probably be a "Jack" in this situation.

5. Seth is clearly still reeling from the betrayal from his past when he and Marie meet. Both react strongly to things, but in very different ways. How would you describe the way they each react and handle their emotions? Did their reactions ring true to you as the reader? Why or why not? If you're up to sharing, are you one to internalize your feelings or let them out in other ways? I think the way Marie reacted to things and handled her emotions was how many women would act in her situation. Same for the most part for Seth, but I think maybe he was a little too wary of women in general. I know he would have felt distrustful for awhile, but ehh, I don't know, he still got on my nerves some. I internalize my feelings some, but usually let them out "on paper" first, then speak to the person involved. Like I might type a letter to the person, let it sit for a day or two, read it, then decide if I still want to say the things in the letter or change them up some. THEN, I'll delete the letter and talk in person to the person involved about the issue.

6. Who is your favorite character in the story and why? Aretha because she was frank and friendly.

7. Which scene, if any, stood out to you the most? Typewriter scenes - very unique idea.


Melinda Freeland (melindafreeland) | 14 comments Sarita wrote: "I will raise a question:

It was clear in this story, that a lot of Marie's understanding and her relationship towards God was affected by her relationship with her father.

If you are willing to s..."

I had a very good relationship with my earthly father growing up (and still do). He definitely shaped my view of God, as my dad was "very" Catholic and raised his children to be the same way. So, it was a positive view of God, although I will say growing up I viewed God mostly as "a stern, punisher God" and now I view God more in terms of a very loving, giving, and forgiving God.

The new view of God came after reading a couple of books my maternal grandma sent me to read, after becoming a member of a non-denominational church, and after doing multiple, multiple Bible studies.


message 46: by Melinda (last edited Aug 25, 2018 04:32PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Melinda Freeland (melindafreeland) | 14 comments Kerstin wrote: "I really liked Liz Johnson's writing style. The narrative flowed smoothly without much redundant repetition. Sometimes in these novels whatever the hangup is, it gets repeated over and over again a..."

I agree that the author's writing style was in such a way that the narrative did flow smoothly. I also agree that a lot of modern novels are not written in such a format that you could say the author had "beautiful or poetic writing." One reason one of my favorite authors is Amy Tan is because SHE absolutely has beautiful writing. In fact, I've had her novel THE VALLEY OF AMAZEMENT on my Kindle for over a year now, but haven't read it yet because it's 931 pages long! and I wanted to read some other new author's first, and knew I could discover more new author's by reading their shorter novels first.


message 47: by Miles (new)

Miles Royer | 4 comments It is still on hold at the library near me i am volunteering to work at a library.


Rheetha Lawlor | 6 comments @Miles, Red Door In is on HooplA if your library has that database subscription :-)


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