– 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?
The Secrets We Bury – Stacie Ramey – Sourcebooks Fire – Published 6 March 2018
In an effort to escape his family, Dylan decides to hike the Appalachian trail—but he never expected to run into love.
Dylan Taggart is on the run. His family is trying to put him in a school for psychologically challenged students, and he gets it—he has anger issues. But Believers Charter School is a complete overreaction. So he decides a six-month hike on the Appalachian Trail is the perfect place to hide out until he can legally drop out of school.
Dylan wanted independence, but being alone on the trail is more than he bargained for. Then he meets a mysterious hiker named Sophie, and the two begin to develop a bond he never expected. But will love be enough to escape what they’re both running from?
I was intrigued by The Secrets We Bury, but never did I expect that is was going to be that good! Everything fits seamlessly together: the authentic male protagonist who struggles to fit in and deal with everything that makes him different; the people Dylan meets on the trail, those who are just passing strangers and those who come to have such an impact on him and he on them; the trail magic; the powerful beauty of the setting and the way Dylan slowly comes to notice it; and of course the underlying themes of grief, guilt, forgiveness and starting over.
Dylan has run away from home. Run away from the grief that overpowers him, run from the guilt of the secrets he carries, run from the mother who wants to put him in a special school to control his outpouring of anger. His plan of escape is to hike the Appalachian Trail. But the trail will test Dylan in ways he couldn’t expect – from bugs and new food to bears. When Dylan happens upon a strange and intriguing girl who is apparently hiking alone and unprepared, Dylan is drawn to her in a way he has never experienced before. Dylan might be running away, but the trail just might be the place where he finds himself.