I had already read book one and two. I had really enjoyed them and was anxious to read this one. It was a good conclusion to the series although I hated for it to end. It was a good history lesson also.
Once again I am awestruck at the descriptions of the beautiful Cades Cove that Ms. Robbins has painted. Since childhood I have loved the Great Smokey Mountains, it was also a favorite spot for my father. Whether it was for a daytrip or a week's vacation this was his place to go, to him this was the spot closest to Heaven on Earth. Ms. Robbins bought back pleasant memories for me with her beautiful descriptive writing. This story takes us back to the 1930's when the Great Smokey Mountain National Park was being completed and how the last of the wonderful folks of Cades Cove were fighting a losing battle with the government to keep from being torn from their beloved Cove.
Laurel, daughter of Matthew and Rani Jackson was born and raised in the magnificent Cades Cove, now it seems life as she has known it is quickly coming to a close. The US government has decided that The Smokey Mountains needs to be made into a National Park and all the residents of Cades Cove has to give up the land that has been in their families for generations. Her father and her grandfather Simon Martin are trying to fight the process with a lawsuit but will it be enough? Will it only postpone the inevitable?
When Andrew Brady was sent to Cades Cove to get the last of the "holdouts" to give up their land, he thought it would be a simple enough job; it shouldn't take anymore than a few weeks. While in Gatlinburg where the headquarters for the Park is located, Andrew has a chance meeting with a beautiful young woman who needs help unloading some boxes. He doesn't know this is the daughter and granddaughter of the very men he has to convince to drop their lawsuits and leave the Cove.
When Andrew arrives at Cades Cove he decides he might as well visit the church where Rev. Martin pastors, maybe he could arrange a meeting with him and his son-in-law. When he walks in the church to his surprise there is the beautiful woman that has haunted his days and nights since he first laid eyes on her. Before he can explain who he really is he finds church has started and he is sitting in the middle of the family he is going to have to send away from the place they have called home for generations. He is a little afraid that he might not be welcome when they find out who he really is, but to his amazement Rev. Martin and his wife even invite him to lunch. What could these mountain folk possess to make them welcome their "enemies" into their home and treat them like family?
The more time Andrew spends with this family the more he is drawn to the One that created this magnificent area they call home. Will things work out for Andrew and Laurel or are there too many circumstances for them to overcome?
Once again Sandra Robbins has written a book that is extremely engaging from the storyline to the descriptions she uses to help you "see" the beauty of Cades Cove. All the characters are back we have come to love in this series. If you love historical stories with fascinating locations then this is a book you will utterly enjoy. This series is a continuation and I had missed reading book two but I found I was quickly able to figure out what was going on. I will say you can read this and be introduced to the characters from the other two without a problem but I promise you will want to read them also. I can't wait to read another book by Ms. Robbins as she is very talented and her work is always engaging.
I would like to express thanks to Harvest House and NetGalley for providing me a copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
BEYOND THESE HILLS is the first book I've read by Sandra Robbins. I did not know what to expect and was pleasantly surprised. I do not like sappy romances so I was hoping this would not be that type of novel. It is not - the conflicts that arise are realistic and so are the resolutions. The book had a good plot that moves quickly and also has believable characters that one can identify with. I enjoyed the setting as I love the beautiful, majestic Smoky Mountains. I liked the fact that Cades Cove was bought to life in the novel. The historical facts were woven into the story seamlessly and made for a very enjoyable read. I highly recommend this book. I enjoyed it so much I decided to purchase the first 2 novels in the series.