– Denise Hunter –
Published 19 April 2022
Mulberry Hollow is the second book in Denise Hunter’s Riverbend Romance. As is the way with most of her series, you can read the books as stand alone titles, but reading the series in order gives you a lovely overview of a this family group. We met Avery in the first book in the series and now get a better insight into her life, career and decisions in this second book.
Avery is a doctor and owner of the only clinic in town. It’s a career she followed after watching her mother die. Now the genetic disease that stole her mother’s life hangs over Avery’s. It’s one of the reasons she is so desperate to entice another doctor to the clinic. When a hiker finds his way to Avery’s clinic doorstep and needs medical care, it might also be an answer to prayer. With limited funds, Wes offers to renovate the small carriage house on Avery’s property in exchange for his medical care. It’s easy for Avery to enjoy Wes’s company, despite her vow to avoid a relationship, marriage and a family. But Wes is committed elsewhere, anyway, so it can’t hurt to spend time with him, right?
Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed Denise Hunter’s writing and the way she brings her characters to life. This one seemed to go by so quickly (maybe I need to read them more slowly and actually savour them instead of devouring it in one sitting). Avery is caught between fear of what her future might hold and the fear of not knowing. She has decided to forgo marriage and a family to prevent the hurt she experienced as a child. But her family’s nagging about dating is getting on her nerves. When Wes enters her life, it seems perfect. She enjoys spending time with him but knows there can be nothing between them in the future. That, of course, doesn’t protect her heart when it comes to saying goodbye.
Wes is a great love interest character, if a little blinded at times. He is so good for Avery, though and they are good together. It just takes them a while to figure that out.
This one only mentions God once or twice and church the same, so calling it Christian romance might be a stretch. My other complaint is the lack of diversity. Only two character that are not white and they end up together? Seriously? I think Christian fiction authors and publishers need to do better in this regard, but it’s certainly not a problem limited to this book.
Looking for a relaxing and romantic read? You really can’t go wrong with Denise Hunter and she remains one of my favourite authors for a book I know I’ll thoroughly enjoy.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Adult fiction.
Genre: Christian contemporary
Themes: Doctors, Appalachian Trail, grief, romance, building.
Representation: White main characters and side character. One Asian side character and one Latinx side character. Heterosexual relationships.
Published: 19 April 2022 by Thomas Nelson
Format: Paperback, ebook. 336 pages.
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