Summon the Keeper
Claire Hansen, carrying suitcases and her cat, Austin, is walking through Kingston, Ontario, in the pouring rain, looking for a place to stay. The hotels are full. She finally discovers a bed and breakfast inn. She signs in and takes the indicated room at the top of the stairs.
The next morning, she is startled to find she is the new owner of the odd inn. Yet she knows this is where she should be. She is a Keeper, and was summoned to the place. Now that she has arrived, the summoning compulsion has left. She soon discovers the former manager, one of her magical kin himself, left her a frightening legacy. Up in Room 6, there is a sleeping Keeper who had turned to evil. It had taken 2 Keepers to contain her. There is a wide opening to Hell in the basement. The two are connected. Claire knows her job should be to close the hole between dimensions and dispatch the evil Keeper. But it would be almost impossible to handle both even with her considerable powers. There are some other, more pressing problems, in Claire's opinion.
Dean is the young, brawny, too-good-to-be-true man from Newfoundland who is the caretaker of the inn. Jacques is the French Canadian ghost who haunts the inn. Jacques would like nothing more than to temporarily gain flesh and take Claire to bed. Claire finds herself attracted to Dean, but tries to ignore her emotions and him. He is too young for her - she is 27, he is 20. Also, she has the type of job that keeps her moving, unable to form lasting relationships. If she is going to be staying at the Elysian Fields Inn, though, she may have to rethink her position on relationships.
This is a wonderful, lighthearted fantasy about universal and magical dimensions that interconnect with our perceived reality. Austin is a wise cracking cat who tries to get better food from his owners and gives Claire sage advice. Jacques is a lecherous ghost with a sense of humor. Dean is sincere, trustworthy, and is a hunk. Mrs. Abrams next door is a humorous busy-body who forever shows up unexpectedly. Hell has conversations with itself that are worth many chuckles.
Huff has taken the magic/dimensional concept, keeps it alive, and adds the right amount of humor. This is a great book, and obviously a setting to start a series. I'll look forward to more of them.
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