Keep Holding On – Melissa Tagg – Walker Family #3 – Larkspur Press – Published 27 September 2016
Beckett Walker hasn’t stepped foot in Maple Valley in years. There’s no getting past the painful memories, and there’s every chance he’ll be arrested as soon as he shows his face. Which is exactly what happens when he finally returns. Suddenly his dream of adventure as a military lawyer comes skidding to a halt.
Horticulturist Kit Danby has spent too much time missing home and her childhood best friend–Beckett Walker. Now she might have a shot at reclaiming both. After years of living abroad, she returns to run her family’s apple orchard. She has one season to turn a profit and impress the father she barely knows. But she can’t do it alone.
It should be simple: Beckett needs community service hours. Kit needs a helping hand. But there’s more at stake than either of them planned. With a tangled past and futures that look nothing alike, they’ll have to find a way to weather the storms of the present . . . or risk losing everything.
Once again Melissa Tagg has delivered with an achingly beautiful story of family (crazy, big, loud, loveable family), friendship (childhood best friends falling in love – my favourite kind of friendship), and life, love, laughter and tears. I wanted to both savour this book and devour it.
It’s lovely to return once again to Maple Valley and the Walker family. I loved catching up with Logan, Amelia and Charlie, Kate and Colton, Seth and Ava, Raegan, Megan, Case and all the familiar faces of Maple Valley. But it is Beckett Walker who is the star of this story. Beckett has been absent from Maple Valley for six years. He left one night six years ago when the hurt of his life had tangled around him and he just needed to get out. Since then he attended college and has been working as a lawyer in Boston, but a chance to become a JAG officer has him finally returning to Maple Valley, where he knows he must face his past (including the criminal arrest warrant waiting for him), his family and his childhood best-friend, Kit Danby.
There is so much going on in this book. I kind of felt sorry for the characters a little. You know that feeling when everything is going wrong and it feels like the world is toppling in on you? Well, these characters certainly do. Kit Danby has spent the last few years living and working in England, but she jumped on a plane the minute she heard her brother and father might be selling her grandparents’ orchard. Like Beckett, returning home means facing her past, the hurt from her father’s abandonment and Beckett himself. Kit and Beckett quickly rekindle their friendship. Even as adults (with some serious chemistry, mind you) I could picture Beckett and Kit as kids, best friends, playmates, getting into trouble, climbing trees and roofs, mischievous smiles beaming. Their blooming (and sometimes halting, spluttering) relationship is founded in their friendship. They know each other so well and yet have so much to work through.
I love the cover of Keep Holding On because it so accurately conveys the beauty and joy of this novel. Beckett and Kit are both wrestling with what they want from their future. They both know they need God’s guidance but aren’t sure if they are hearing right or if they are on the wrong path, headed in the wrong direction – especially when everything seems to go from bad to worse. Their story of them confronting their fears and finding their futures is truly enjoyable.
This book made me fall in love with the Walker clan all over again and I can’t wait to continue this series, hopefully with Raegan’s story.
Genre: Christian contemporary.
Themes: Family, romance, best friends, friendship, orchards, small towns, lawyers, criminal histories, faith.
Published: 27 September 2016 by Larkspur Press.
Format: Paperback, ebook. 301 pages.