If you love books as much as we do, Landmark Booksellers in Franklin, TN is so worth the drive. Landmark is one part history, one part bookstore and one part epic love story. Built in 1826, Landmark’s home conjures up memories of yesteryear with whitewashed columns and a second-story balcony. President Andrew Jackson and the famed Davy Crockett once walked the boards of this historic building.
When owners Carol and Joel Tomlin bought the building, they dedicated it to their love of books and Southern literature. Hanging on the wall behind the sofa are 20 black and white photographs of Joel’s favorite Southern authors, half of which hail from Tennessee. Name them all and Joel will give you a free book. I thought I knew my Southern authors, but a few in Joel’s collection stumped me.
Spending time in Landmark is like getting an education in Southern literature. Recently, Joel introduced me to Peter Taylor, a Southern writer who had previously escaped me. Wander in late in the afternoon, and you will find Joel and Carol holding court on the big leather sofas in the middle of the store. You never know who might be joining them. On more than one occasion we have been blessed to find Robert Hicks sitting on the couch, telling stories and sharing his gentle sense of humor. If you don’t know who Robert is, look him up and read his books. Reese Witherspoon stopped by a few weeks ago to pick up a copy of “Orphan Mother,” one of Robert’s books that her momma told her “she had to read.”
And the love story? Well, you will have to read “The Bridges” by Karen Kingsbury a novel and Hallmark movie loosely based on the Tomlin’s story. But here’s a hint: after raising a large blended family, Joel and Carol decided to spend time doing what they loved and Landmark Booksellers was born.