My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I won this as Goodreads First Read and was very excited as the book really appealed to me, more for what seemed to be the mystery aspect (Sophie’s “shadowed past”). I knew it was a romance, but I didn’t realize it was a Christian romance. I do enjoy Christian fiction, however, the Christian aspect of this book doesn’t really flow. It’s not really integral to the story -- it’s just there. The author tried to bring it front and center, but it almost seemed to just be stuck randomly in the story and almost always in relation to attending church.
The book centers on Sophie Caldwell, who has returned to Hickory Ridge, TN to run a newspaper. There she meets Ethan Heyward, who is overseeing the building of a resort that is sure to revive Hickory Ridge. Each has a “secret.” It is one of the best written books I’ve read lately -- the mechanics were nearly flawless. Unfortunately, I didn’t really connect with any of the characters. I liked Sophie and Ethan, but it seems like their relationship sprung full blown. I felt like I missed the in-between of the developing relationship as it it seemed to go from introduction to “I hate keeping secrets” to we’re destined to spend the rest of our lives together. And, there’s another relationship between Gilly (a friend of Sophie’s who wants to be a nurse and open a clinic) and a beau that comes out of nowhere at the end.
While the story was supposed to be the romance of Sophie and Ethan and their secrets, Gilly’s push for a clinic seems to share as much of the story as Sophie and Ethan (and came across a tad preachy to me). Sophie’s “secret” is resolved pretty much in the middle of the book and is anti-climatic. Ethan’s secret is also resolved around the same time in an overly dramatic way. And, I had a hard time finding the “romance.”
I liked the setting of Hickory Ridge and the people, but I couldn’t connect with any of them. This may be because this is the third and final book in this series and I hadn’t read the previous titles. However, each book focuses on a different one, though one of those did introduce the reader to Sophie as a child. My disconnect could also be because I don’t read a lot of romance and even less Christian romance.
Having said all of that, given how well written this book is, I would recommend it for those that enjoy Christian romance, but with the caveat to read the other two books first.
View all my reviews