This novel is an enjoyable romance set in the snowy winter of Summer Harbor, Maine.
Hunter did a good job of creating a tense setting as the novel opens. Eden and her young son are running from danger when they become stranded in Summer Harbor. A broken down car and a stolen wallet leave Eden desperately in need of a job. To the rescue is Beau, manager of the Callihan family Christmas tree farm. He needs someone to take care of his crotchety aunt as she recovers from a broken leg.
That is the beginning of a romance fraught with misunderstanding and turmoil. I like how Hunter revealed bit by bit the tragedy that sent Eden on the run. Eden is a very believable character. Mistreated and betrayed, she is not ready to trust a man again. Beau is a sweet fellow who falls head over heels for her. The only trouble is – he already has a girlfriend.
There are plenty of relationship struggles in this novel. The Callihan brothers are an opinionated bunch and Beau's controlling attitude is not always appreciated. The Christian influence is strong in the novel and even though the brothers fuss, they ultimately forgive and let love rule their relationship. The relationship between Eden and her son is precious. The young boy was traumatized by the tragedy and it was good to see the possibility of real healing for him.
There is a bit of suspense in this novel too. Beau thinks he can protect Eden from harm but he under estimates the power of the bad guy. I thought the suspense scene a tad bit unrealistic but I still enjoyed that aspect of the novel.
Something fun in this novel is the appearance of characters from another author's novel. Hunter and Colleen Coble are friends. Since Coble was writing a series taking place in Maine, the two have put their towns close to each other and share a few characters.
One of my requirements for an excellent novel is that it not only entertains but informs as well. I was hoping I would learn a little about tree farming but that was not to be.
I recommend this novel to those who like a well crafted romance with a little suspense thrown in. Get a cup of hot coffee or tea, though, as it is awfully cold in Maine around Christmas time.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Denise Hunter is a bestselling author who has received the Holt Medallion Award, Reader's Choice Award, Foreward Book of the Year Award, and is a RITA finalist. She and her husband and their three sons live in Indiana. You can find out more at www.denisehunterbooks.com.
Thomas Nelson, 352 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.