Blue Ridge Sunrise – Denise Hunter – Blue Ridge Sunrise #1 – Thomas Nelson – Published 7 November 2017
Former free spirit Zoe Collins swore she’d never again set foot in Copper Creek or speak to the man who broke her heart. But return she must when her beloved Granny dies, leaving the family legacy to Zoe–a peach orchard nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
When Zoe returns home with her daughter and boyfriend Kyle, she finds that she’s the only person in town who doesn’t expect her to give up the life she’s established far away from Copper Creek. Everyone believes she was born to run the orchard, but how can she make it her home after so many years?
Cruz Huntley never quite got over his first love Zoe Collins, the little sister of his best friend Brady. Not when she cheated on him during their “break,” not when she took off to parts unknown with good-for-nothing Kyle Jenkins, and not even now—five years later.
As life-changing decisions and a history with Cruz hang over Zoe’s head, tensions rise between her and Kyle. Even as she comes to terms with the shifting relationships in her life, Zoe still isn’t sure if she can remain in Copper Creek with her new responsibilities . . . and her first love.
So, I decided to throw my neatly ordered to-read list out the window and read Blue Ridge Sunrise way ahead of schedule. I simply couldn’t resist the promise of a Denise Hunter romance or (let’s face it) that cover.
Returning to her hometown and confronting her past was never on Zoe Collins’ to-do list. But the death of her beloved grandmother has finally brought Zoe home, bringing along her young daughter and boyfriend Kyle. When Zoe discovers that her grandmother has left her a peach farm, Zoe is torn between returning to her life on the road as a singer and staying to take over the farm. Coming face-to-face with Cruz Huntley, her first love and ex-boyfriend, makes things more complicated – especially when Zoe knows that sticking around will mean finally coming clean about her biggest secret. Seemingly insurmountable obstacles war with finally feeling at home in Copper Creek, as Zoe learns to face her past and embrace her future.
I admit the whole ‘single mother with a young child and a BIG! secret that she has withheld from an old boyfriend’ isn’t my favourite storyline. It wasn’t hard to predict the direction of the story. However, Denise Hunter still made it an enjoyable read. Zoe and Cruz are flawed and relatable characters and the setting is absolutely charming – I could practically smell the sweet, fruit-scented air.
There is plenty of romantic tension and the ending also ramps up the suspense thanks to a tense situation gone bad (and arguably some very questionable judgement from one of the main characters). Faith plays a small part in the story – I’ve read mainstream books that talk more about God – and this is consistent with the characters’ actions and choices. This book also raises the important issue of domestic violence and abusive relationships.
Blue Ridge Sunrise was an enjoyable contemporary romance. I’m really looking forward to the second book in this series – we meet Brady and Hope in this book and their story promises to be really interesting. There are also a few appearances from characters from Denise Hunter’s most recent release, Sweetbriar Cottage. The Blue Ridge Romance series promises plenty more romance and sweet stories.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Genre: Christian contemporary.
Themes: Romance, dating, abusive relationships, children, farms, family.
Advisory: References to sexual relationships (outside of marriage).
Published: 7 November 2017 by Thomas Nelson Publishers.
Format: Paperback, ebook, audiobook. 336 pages.
ISBN: 0718090500, 9780718090500