– 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?
A Life Once Dreamed – Rachel Fordham – Revell – Published 4 August 2020
Six years ago, a shocking secret sent Agnes Pratt running in search of a new start. She found it in Penance, a rugged town of miners and lumberjacks in the Dakota Territory, where she became Miss Aggie, respected schoolteacher and confirmed old maid. But the past has a way of catching up with people.
When childhood friend and former sweetheart James Harris accepts a position as the town doctor, Aggie’s pleasantly predictable days suddenly become anything but. James wants to know why Agnes left behind the life they had dreamed of creating for themselves–but he is the one person who can never know.
In the shadows of the Black Hills, can a healing light be shed on the past? Or will the secret Agnes can’t seem to outrun destroy her chance at happiness?
Rachel Fordham returns to the 1880s frontier in her latest novel, A Life Once Dreamed. This is a historical romance that plunges readers into a setting where disease can wipe out families, birth holds many dangers and morals dictate social standing. This is a story about belonging and acceptance and finding your true family.
Agnes Pratt left Boston six years ago. She left behind the love of her life, but she knew they could never had a future together. Now she is teacher in a small frontier town. When James Harris appears in town as the new doctor, it brings up all their past and Aggie’s hurt. But she refuses to share the secret of why she left him all those years ago. When two disasters chance the course of their lives, Aggie and James will need to decide if what they share is enough to overlook all the obstacles that stand between them.
The setting Fordham creates feels very realistic. Times are hard and facilities basic for the people of Penance. The arrival of a doctor is cause for celebration – for everyone that is, except Aggie. Seeing James again shows her that her feelings haven’t changed, a love that is built on years of friendship and shared adventure, which we readers learn about through reflections, flashbacks and letters. Aggie closely guards her secret, even from readers for a good part of the book. I didn’t guess the direction her secret would take the book until the first disaster. I won’t spoil anything here.
The Heart of a Hero – Susan May Warren – Global Search and Rescue #2 – Revell – Published 2 June 2020
Rescuing Aria Sinclair is just what former SEAL Jake Silver needs in order to redeem his past mistakes. Keeping her distance from Jake is what Aria needs to protect her heart. As a hurricane turns paradise into peril, they must save themselves and others in this story of second chances and survival–and the cost of both.
Heart of a Hero is the second book in the Global Search and Rescue series. This book has one disaster after another, as the characters are pushed to their limits (again) and face the truth behind God’s sovereignty, accepting forgiveness and maybe even a romantic future.
We met Aria and Jake in book one of the series as they climbed, fell off and then were rescued off Mt Denali. Now, Aria has been forced to take a vacation by her boss, this time in Florida, and she’s pointedly ignoring what happened between her and Jake. Jake wants nothing more than to chase Aria down and convince her they could be together, but he’s not sure she should want him, especially knowing the secrets and bodies his past hides. When a category 5 hurricane bears down on Florida, Jake jumps on a plane to go and help Aria, but they will have to rescue each other many times over before the storm is done.
I think I’ve said in a review before that I love reading Susan May Warren’s books but I am rather glad I’m not one of her characters. They seem to have to face an endless stream of disasters where everything that could go wrong does. But it doesn’t feel overly dramatised. It kind of feels like real life at the moment. And if anyone could survive a tropical storm and everything that follows, it would be Jake (former SEAL and genuine good guy) and Aria (doctor, trauma and heart specialist). But the events of this book push them both to the edge and they have no choice but to rely on each other and God.
At Love’s Command – Karen Witemeyer – Hanger’s Horsemen #1 – Bethany House Publishers – Published 2 June 2020
Ex-cavalry officer Matthew Hanger leads a band of mercenaries who defend the innocent, but when a rustler’s bullet leaves one of them at death’s door, they seek out help from Dr. Josephine Burkett. When Josephine’s brother is abducted and she is caught in the crossfire, Matthew may have to sacrifice everything–even his team–to save her.
Every time I read a Karen Witemeyer book I am surprised all over again at how much I love her writing style, characters and the romance that just leaps off the page. Either I’ve got a bad memory or every book she writes just gets better and better.
I was a little worried by the first chapter. Would the heroes of the book be made heroic at the expense of Native Americans and a white-washed history? I need not have worried. Horrified by the events and massacre he and his men are commanded to be involved in, Matthew Hanger and his three men leave the cavalry and create Hanger’s Horsemen. They are hired guns, working to arrest criminals and help those needing protection from gangs and bad guys. During one such job, one of Matt’s men is injured and he races to find the nearest doctor. He is surprised to find Dr Jo is actually Dr Josephine Burkett. Josephine is a good doctor and striving to prove that women make excellent health practitioners. When Jo’s brother is taken captive and held for ransom, she turns to Matt and his men for help.
As always, the love story Karen Witemeyer has penned comes to life off the page. It’s romantic, and the chemistry between Josephine and Matt is off the charts. But there is also a shared understanding between them. Even though there isn’t a lot of time for them to connect between pulling bullets out of shoulders and riding after the gang who hold her brother hostage, Josephine and Matt do get some time to share their past hurts, something the other can relate to, and a shared respect for each other. There is also lots of time for kisses, which I am pleased to report.
Pelican Point – Irene Hannon – Hope Harbor #4 – Revell – Published 3 April 2018
After inheriting a crumbling lighthouse, Dr. Ben Garrison is more than ready to get rid of it until he meets a determined Marci Weber who wants to save the landmark. Can she make him see her point of view?
Pelican Point was one of my most highly anticipated reads of 2018 – and it did not disappoint. I have loved every single book in the Hope Harbor series. Each has been filled with stories of faith, love and a wonderful journey of discovery or change in life direction, and Pelican Point is no exception.
Dr Ben Garrison has returned to Hope Harbor in the wake of his beloved grandfather’s death. After just finishing a tour overseas as an army surgeon, his plan is to quickly finalise his grandfather’s affairs and move on to a new civilian position in the city. But when he learns his grandfather owns the town’s crumbling lighthouse his plans are delayed. Spurred on by the town’s fiery newspaper owner, Marci Weber, the townspeople want to save the lighthouse from destruction. As Ben and Marci are pushed together, there is a spark between them that is hard to resist – even if a relationship is the last thing in their plans.