Monday, October 9, 2017

Blue Ridge Sunrise - Denise Hunter

Synopsis: Zoe has returned to Copper Creek for her grandmother's funeral. She's been gone 5 years and never intended to return. She's now inherited an orchard.  Being home among family and friends has given her strength to leave an abusive relationship and see if she can start again. She's got plenty of explaining to do and maybe even a little forgiveness to ask for. Cruz has never entirely stopped loving Zoe but has mixed feelings about her return. As the foreman of the orchard, they're bound to finally figure out a few things but it's not going to be easy.

Review: Yikes. This one is going to give a few people fits. I can already hear the diehard Christian romance readers voicing their concerns over it. But, before I get into that, let me just say that Denise Hunter is such a skilled author that she could write about paint drying and you'd beg for a sequel. And, so, Blue Ridge Sunrise is destined to be a five star book.  However, in reviewing it, I am breaking one of my rules and I've struggled with that. The main characters, we are told, have been intimate and are not married.  Zoe is in an intimate relationship with her boyfriend when we first meet her. There is little indication that either main character has any concerns about premarital intimacy.  And so, it's hard to call this a chaste book.  However, the book is clean and the intimacy is not lauded and is only a passing (and assumed) element of the story.  So, I am giving this one a by and sharing my two cents.

If we thought that the first book in this series was edgy, this one is true to that sentiment. It contains adult situations, is gritty, and edgy. It's no lighthearted read like some of Hunter's latest series. Rather, it deals with real people struggling with real situations, pasts and their consequences. Nothing is sugar coated in this story and not everything turns out perfectly. Characters are complicated as are their lives and it's refreshing to see that.  However, I do think that Hunter has squeezed in a religious element that feels a little contrived. These are not really faithful people. They may believe in God and there's mention that they attend church, but they aren't living their daily lives as such so to have those pieces thrown in, feels like her publisher made her do it.  And that's unfortunate because instead of adding to the story, it feels a little manipulated and Hunter is too good for that. I don't love the boogie man ending but the rest of the book is excellent and so well written it will pain you to have to put it down to make dinner, go to work, or go to bed. Zoe and Cruz's story is a solid sequel to Sweet Briar Cottage.

Amazon Pre-Order $8.99
Release date: 11/07/2017

I was given an ARC to review

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