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The Boardinghouse

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Dreams can become nightmares. May Rose has the husband, family, and boardinghouse she wanted, but managing business and doing her best for loved ones make challenging days and troubled nights. Now her husband is ailing, someone from the past is trying to find her, and malicious guests are poised to ruin her reputation. Sadly, she learns that blood is not always thicker tha Dreams can become nightmares. May Rose has the husband, family, and boardinghouse she wanted, but managing business and doing her best for loved ones make challenging days and troubled nights. Now her husband is ailing, someone from the past is trying to find her, and malicious guests are poised to ruin her reputation. Sadly, she learns that blood is not always thicker than water. The Boardinghouse is the fifth novel in the Mountain Women Series, presenting the struggles, triumphs, friendships and loves of women in a small West Virginia town in the early 1900s.


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Dreams can become nightmares. May Rose has the husband, family, and boardinghouse she wanted, but managing business and doing her best for loved ones make challenging days and troubled nights. Now her husband is ailing, someone from the past is trying to find her, and malicious guests are poised to ruin her reputation. Sadly, she learns that blood is not always thicker tha Dreams can become nightmares. May Rose has the husband, family, and boardinghouse she wanted, but managing business and doing her best for loved ones make challenging days and troubled nights. Now her husband is ailing, someone from the past is trying to find her, and malicious guests are poised to ruin her reputation. Sadly, she learns that blood is not always thicker than water. The Boardinghouse is the fifth novel in the Mountain Women Series, presenting the struggles, triumphs, friendships and loves of women in a small West Virginia town in the early 1900s.

30 review for The Boardinghouse

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ronald Keeler

    Reading books from Carol Ervin’s Mountain Women Series is like going back to a childhood home after a long absence. In this case I am sure to have a place to stay. The Boardinghouse is book five in this series. Readers should not be discouraged by the bewildering number of characters, each with their own backstory, because Ervin helpfully provides a guide in the front of the novel which lists all the characters the reader will meet. Each introduction has a few keywords indicating what the backst Reading books from Carol Ervin’s Mountain Women Series is like going back to a childhood home after a long absence. In this case I am sure to have a place to stay. The Boardinghouse is book five in this series. Readers should not be discouraged by the bewildering number of characters, each with their own backstory, because Ervin helpfully provides a guide in the front of the novel which lists all the characters the reader will meet. Each introduction has a few keywords indicating what the backstory will contain. Reading all the books in the six-novel collection is a good idea for fans of TV series such as Dallas. Although the overall experience is that of coming home to a welcoming family with a strong matriarch, May Rose Percy, this does not mean there won’t be problems. That is why the novel is interesting. Ervin has May Rose narrate family problems on the very personal family level, a level with which many of us are familiar. May Rose lets boarders in the rooming house present their own stories. Luzanna is a friend and works at the house but she does not always agree with May Rose and she is not afraid to speak up. Wanda is a married stepdaughter, respectful of May Rose but also strong in her opinions. Because this is a boardinghouse, there are occasionally unpleasant guests. Readers may find it difficult to like Irene Herff or Milton Chapman but they will enjoy the discourse the two have with May Rose as she deals with unwelcome clients. It should be apparent that this is a novel about strong women. They had to be strong because the geographical setting is frontier like settings where coal is king and when it goes well, families are secure. When the volatile coal-based economy sinks, so does the quality of life for all. For this novel, the time is the early 1900s, important because although women had to be strong, they had no legal rights. The second theme of Ervin’s novel examines comprehensive problems outside the control of the family. Women did not have the right to vote; they did not have the right to own property. How could they then demonstrate their strength? Many times they were forced to do so, as when May Rose had to manage absolutely everything when husband Barlow became sick and had to go to a spa for an attempted cure that would restore his ability to walk. There are depictions of women’s increasing attempts to get legal standing. There is a section where women gather at a meeting to discuss the constitutional amendment giving women the right to vote. The lead speaker is a man discussing why women should be content with their lot of ruling the home but be sure to not worry about anything outside it. At the end of the meeting participants sign petitions, one will have men’s signatures and one will contain women’s signatures. Only the one with the men’s signatures will count since women can’t … There is a third part, not actually a theme, in which Ervin informs readers of history not only concerned with social issues. The great amount of time spent in communication, when people happening to go in the desired direction volunteer to carry letters, is looked at. There are many difficulties in transportation. If I don’t have a horse, it will take me this many days to walk. Cattle were an important asset, it was good to have many. But what about the logistical problem of feeding them? May Rose worries about all these things daily but even more so in the context of a disaster such as an uncontrollable wildfire. Ervin writes of the importance of a strong family whose members are loyal to each other. If they are not loyal, they should at least, like son-in-law Dr. Will, do no harm. When harm occurs, it offends May Rose’s sense of propriety. This last is the strong overriding theme of the novels in this series. There is a correct standard of social behavior, propriety. It rules all things from the dinner table and acceptable conversation to social behavior outside the home. May Rose illustrates this with her concern over the possible damage her reputation may sustain if a certain rumored action in her past becomes publicly acknowledged and advertised. That event occurred a few novels prior but is a driving force for all actions by May Rose. I highly recommend this novel as one of my “comfort” reads. I like to read such novels when I want to immerse myself in a time that, although there were problems, I thought I had a chance of working the problems out. All the reader should do is pay careful attention to character names. They are essential to the story. Names change because women marry and take the name of (get ready for it) … the man.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alesha Leveritt

    Generally, I feel a great disdain for book series. I haven't truly loved a series since the alphabet murder series by Sue Grafton. That said, I really can't get enough of the Mountain Women series. Here are a few reasons why: 1) This series centers around people who have good character, but it doesn't have an openly preachy tone. The characters face tough things in life, but ultimately, "good' triumphs. I love that. 2) The books themselves are well-paced. Just enough happens, without things feelin Generally, I feel a great disdain for book series. I haven't truly loved a series since the alphabet murder series by Sue Grafton. That said, I really can't get enough of the Mountain Women series. Here are a few reasons why: 1) This series centers around people who have good character, but it doesn't have an openly preachy tone. The characters face tough things in life, but ultimately, "good' triumphs. I love that. 2) The books themselves are well-paced. Just enough happens, without things feeling over-plotted. 3) There is a good balance of time passing between books, and yet the story flows continuously and without issue. I love that I am following the same characters, instead of reading one book about May Rose and the very next book being about her granddaughter. 4) Ultimately, I love being involved in these characters' lives. While the circumstances of their lives are different, they are people I feel familiar with now, and each book seems a return to old friends. 5) The final thing I love (for this list anyway) is that this is a window into history. Seeing the early 20th century of the United States from a rural perspective brings a new perspective to a time we all feel very familiar with. If you are looking for a great series of books, this is one to put on your list.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    The timeline in this series doesn’t add up, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless. Last book was the flu of 1918, and MayRose discovered her pregnancy. Now its 1919 and her kid is nearly a year old. No. That's not how things work. Assuming the flu we saw was the fall of 1918 (which was when it was bad), then MayRose didn't give birth till May-ish. Her kid is likely only 6 months old or so. The timeline gets worse in the next book - which supposedly is in the spring of 1920/spoiler. The timeline in this series doesn’t add up, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless. Last book was the flu of 1918, and MayRose discovered her pregnancy. Now its 1919 and her kid is nearly a year old. No. That's not how things work. Assuming the flu we saw was the fall of 1918 (which was when it was bad), then MayRose didn't give birth till May-ish. Her kid is likely only 6 months old or so. The timeline gets worse in the next book - which supposedly is in the spring of 1920/spoiler.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Gigi2u2

    May Rose is like the Everready Bunny I love May Rose strength. In fact all of the characters are great. Glad May Rose finally married Barlow. I love how the town folks help those in need no questions asked. Sad about Will slowing down and that Irene Donnelly what nerve!! Hope to read more about her shes a real knee slapper🤭😂

  5. 5 out of 5

    Bob Moore

    History meets local color in early 20th century West Virginia, and comes alive through well wrought characters in a gripping narrative. Carol Ervin is a story teller par excellence. I loved The Waltons, but this is closer to the real thing. Sorry, John Boy.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Cyndi Jett

    Such a great series you become one of the townspeople

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ann Mclellan

    Still enjoying the series.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ellen Barnett

    Really was a well written book This was a good read. The characters all for together. I am looking forward to more books by this author.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Cyndy

    What a great book. The the 5th edition from the Mountain Women series. It is a realistic story of life in the rural mountains. The hardships and heartache of survival. Very good.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jo Ann White

    Inspiring I enjoyed reading this book as I have all the books in this series. It is a continuing of the lives of the people's in the other books. Inspiring I enjoyed reading this book as I have all the books in this series. It is a continuing of the lives of the people's in the other books.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dennis Holt,Sr.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Judy Prindle

  13. 5 out of 5

    teresa

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jean Harrison

  15. 5 out of 5

    Joanna Kerlin Corbett

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tresa Beavers

  17. 4 out of 5

    carol davis

  18. 4 out of 5

    Alyssa

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mary Ritter

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy Randall

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kenneth R. Prestwich

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dorothy Robinson

  23. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

  24. 4 out of 5

    Nell Beaver

  25. 5 out of 5

    pat brown

  26. 4 out of 5

    Tammy Warren-melton

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Cottner

  28. 5 out of 5

    Diane Scheiben

  29. 4 out of 5

    Debra Rosenthal

  30. 5 out of 5

    Lori Shafer

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