– Denise Hunter –
A Riverbend Romance #1
Published 19 October 2021
I so enjoy reading Denise Hunter’s books. I know once I pick one up, I’ll just disappear into the world and characters she has crafted and I know that I will love every word. And that’s exactly what I got in Riverbend Gap. This book is the first in a new series (yay) that follows a family (yay, yay) living in a small rural town along the Appalachian Trail (more yay). Honestly, between the amazing romance, stunning scenery so beautifully described, the drama and tension and the great writing, I just loved this book.
Katelyn Loveland has a new job, new last name, new boyfriend and a new house. Moving to Riverbend Gap was her new start. But she’s also determined to get some closure from her past. The first step is scattering the ashes of her beloved younger brother. Then, she needs to find her biological mother and learn why she and her brother spent most of their lives in foster care. Not part of the plan was avoiding a deer and almost plunging to her death over the side of a mountain on the way to meet her new boyfriend’s family. When Cooper Robinson, Deputy Sheriff, comes to her rescue, she is relieved and grateful. The tense moments they share forge a deep connection. The only problem is that he is the brother of her new boyfriend. As circumstances through Cooper and Katelyn together again, it’s hard to ignore the deepening feelings between them.
An Appalachian Summer – Ann H. Gabhart – Revell – Published 30 June 2020
In 1933, most people are focused on the Great Depression but all Piper Danson can think about is how to get out of being a debutante and marrying Braxton Crandall. In an act of defiance, Piper volunteers as a frontier nursing courier in the Appalachian Mountains where adventure awaits.
An Appalachian Summer is an atmospheric novel about the frontier nurses of the Appalachian Mountains, women couriers, and life and love in the in 1930s. With romance aplenty, adventure and lighthearted moments, An Appalachian Summer is a light and easy book to enjoy.
Piper is grateful her family has weathered the crash of the economy so well, even if it means she must go ahead with her Debut Ball. Being pressured by her father to accept an engagement to Braxton Crandall and heartbroken over the silence she is receiving from her best friend and keeper of her heart Jamie Russel, Piper seizes upon the opportunity to join the frontier nursing courier service in the Appalachian Mountains. From the journey there, to the surprises in store for her, it is all a great adventure. She just wants to forget men and romance for a summer, which is fine until a mystery man from her aunt’s past re-emerges, Jamie follows her all the way to the mountains and she must decide where her heart and future will lay.
Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, this is a novel that mixes the past with more modern ideas of women’s liberation and a changing society. I sometimes forgot the time setting and had to do a double take at some of the more casual language and use of jeans and such.
These Healing Hills – Ann H. Gabhart – Revell – Published 5 September 2017
Francine Howard has her life all mapped out until the soldier she planned to marry at WWII’s end writes to tell her he’s in love with a woman in England. Devastated, Francine seeks a fresh start in the Appalachian Mountains, training to be a nurse midwife for the Frontier Nursing Service.
Deeply affected by the horrors he witnessed at war, Ben Locke has never thought further ahead than making it home to Kentucky. His future shrouded in as much mist as his beloved mountains, he’s at a loss when it comes to envisioning what’s next for his life.
When Francine’s and Ben’s paths intersect, it’s immediately clear that they are from different worlds and value different things. But love has a way of healing old wounds . . . and revealing tantalizing new possibilities.
These Healing Hills is a delightful historical romance novel. The descriptive writing firmly places the reader in the gorgeous scenery and amongst the friendly people of the Appalachian Mountains. It was wonderful to sink into this story and journey with Fran and Ben as they overcome the obstacles before them, each find a place to call home, and find peace.
Francine Howard didn’t start her life looking for adventure, but when her fiancé writes home from the war to tell her he has found someone else, she knows home in Cincinnati is no longer where she wants to stay. Instead, she takes up the offer to travel to the Appalachian Mountains and put her training as a nurse to use as one of the Frontier Nurses. It is a vast change in culture, but Fran soon feels at home there. Ben Locke has spent many years away at war and wants nothing more than to return to his home in the mountains. He isn’t sure what his future holds, but the kind nurse with the amazing smile draws him like no one has before.
Maybe It’s You – Candace Calvert – Crisis Team #3 – Tyndale – Published 3 February 2017
ER nurse Sloane Ferrell escaped her risky past–new name, zip code, job, and a fresh start. She’s finally safe, if she avoids a paper trail and doesn’t let people get too close. Like the hospital’s too-smooth marketing man with his relentless campaign to plaster one “lucky” employee’s face on freeway billboards. Micah Prescott’s goal is to improve the Hope hospital image, but his role as a volunteer crisis responder is closer to his heart. The selfless work helps fill a void in his life left by family tragedy. So does a tentative new relationship with the compassionate, beautiful, and elusive Sloane Ferrell. Then a string of brutal crimes makes headlines, summons responders . . . and exposes disturbing details of Sloane’s past. Can hope spring from crisis?
What would you do for a fresh start when you don’t think you deserved one? Maybe It’s You is the heartbreaking and hopeful story of second (and third and fourth) chances, facing your past, grace and love. Maybe It’s You has Candace Calvert’s trademarks of romance, medical tension, drama, action, and heartwarming stories of the people who give of themselves to keep others safe.
Sloane is a character grounded in the reality of a broken world. Sloane has faced trauma from her childhood right up until her last post at San Diego Hope Hospital. We first met Sloane in Step By Step. Acerbic, alcoholic, with a shame-filled past that she wishes she could bury and yet to which she just keeps adding, Sloane pushes people as far away as she can get them. But in Step By Step a serious car crash leaves Sloane hospitalised and a colleague fighting for her life and Sloane decides to start turning her life around. But shaking her past won’t be easy, especially when an ex-boyfriend with ties to the Russian mafia resurfaces and seems determined to involve Sloane.
Finding Hope – Melanie D. Snitker – Love’s Compass #2 – Published 1 July 2015
That one word has rocked Lexi Chandler’s life to the core. Her focus has always been to help others. She loves being a nurse and enjoys spending time with her family. Things had been going according to plan. Now she’s struggling to pick up the pieces and make sense of the changes in her life.
Lance Davenport has cared for Lexi since they were kids. Between their age difference and bad timing, he’s turned burying his feelings into an art. Now, watching Lexi battle with cancer has made him realize just how much he’s missed. He doesn’t know what their future holds, but he’s determined to not waste another minute.
The people closest to Lexi pull together as she tries to navigate her way down a path none of them ever dreamed she’d have to travel.
I was pleased to find this book had the same tone as many of my favourite Christian contemporary novels. Think Melissa Tagg, Irene Hannon, Kimberly Rae Jordan. Romance, strong family connections, trials, faith – great stories that leave you feeling uplifted. This is the first book I’ve read written by Melanie D. Snitker but it certainly won’t be the last.
Finding Hope is the second book in the Love’s Compass series. It gave away a few major plot points from the first book and set in place events for the third but otherwise was fine to read out of series order.
Lexi Chandler has just been diagnosed with cancer. It wasn’t what she was expecting, especially after recently losing her father suddenly to the same horrible disease. She doesn’t want to rely too much on her mother, so when her brother’s best friend and long-term family friend Lance Davenport offers to drive her to her appointments she gratefully accepts. She doesn’t expect to develop feelings for Lance, nor to discover that he has been hiding his own feelings for many years.