Author Lin Stepp, a lifelong Tennessean, has written her sixth novel in the “Smoky Mountain” series — “Down By the River,” a story set in the foothills town of Townsend.
Released by Kensington Publishing, Stepp’s newest offering promises the same small-town feeling and inspiration as her previous novels. According to the publisher, the Smoky Mountain series “will delight readers looking for a sweet, satisfying read with deep soul.”
Dolly Parton commented on “Down By the River,” saying “Well, I’ve finally come across someone that believes in all the things that I do — love, family, faith, intrigue, mystery, loyalty, romance and a great love for our beloved Smoky Mountains.” Parton ended with “Lin Stepp, I salute you.”
In “Down By the River,” widow Grace Conley makes a decision to prove it’s never too late to make a fresh start — a second chance. With the death of her husband two years ago still fresh in her heart and mind, she visits the Smokies and discovers an old inn for sale.
Out of curiosity, she tours the beautiful house which sits on several acres beside the Little River. And a desire to buy it and turn it into a bed-and-breakfast captures her thoughts.
Undaunted by her family’s objections, she forges ahead with her plans and runs into several surprises, not the least of which is a “ladies’ man,” who stirs up other emotions. And there is a mystery — who is this person who seems to see all that goes on in this small town which is home to warm and friendly families?
The characters and events in “Down By the River” serve to bring families together and create bonds between friends and neighbors. There are rich overtones of religion in Grace Conley’s ventures in romance, business and community, as she is faced with challenges she had never dreamed of.
And through it all, she holds onto her confidence and faith as prayers are answered and incidents come together. And she is not the only one who is given a “second chance.”
Stepp has added a comprehensive “Reading Group Guide” which includes an outline of 18 discussion questions to enhance the reading of “Down By the River.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Dr. Lin Stepp is a native Tennessean, a businesswoman and an educator. She is on the faculty at Tusculum College, where she teaches psychology and writing. Her business background includes more than 20 years in marketing, sales, production art and regional publishing. But closest to her heart is her beloved series of contemporary novels set in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. For more information, visit website: linstepp.com.