In a plot reminiscent of It's a Wonderful Life, Autumn Kingsley has ended up stuck in her small town of Whisper Shore, taking care of the inn that's been in her family for generations, temporarily giving up her dream of traveling and living in Paris. Now, she has a job offer in Paris, but with the town's tourism failing, what's to become of the inn and its employees? Feeling the responsibility to the town and to the inn, Autumn works to rejuvenate the town's charm by teaming up with Blake Hunziker, the youngest son of the family who has continued to war with the Kingsleys since the death of the elder Hunziker son. Not only her family's enemy, but their direct competitor, Blake and Autumn are now co-chairs of the town's Christmas festival, in an effort to bring the town back to life. Also, in another attempt to save her inn, Autumn has learned that a known investor in a large hotel chain has reserved a room at her in, and she hopes that this is the open door she and her staff need. Can Blake and Autumn let the past be past and work together to help the town? Can Autumn find a way to preserve her family's legacy in the hotel, and still live her dream?
Between the Jimmy Stewart dream plot, and the small town that felt eerily similar to Star's Hollow, (including the single innkeeper and her chef friend, the quirky hotel desk staff, and the rugged handyman, but missing the teenage pregnancy), this story didn't exactly feel original. Add to that the predictable twists of secrets kept turning out badly, and it should have felt tired. However, Autumn and Blake were enjoyable characters, and the Hatfield and McCoy aspect to their relationship made it a bit more interesting. I happen to like the town of Stars Hollow, and It's a Wonderful Life, so the similarities didn't bother me much.
I give the book 3 stars. It was a fun romance, perfect for easy summer reading.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review.
Tall, dark and handsome Blake Hunziker has finally found his way home. He's tired of aimlessly wandering and is looking to settle down and make amends for his abrupt departure. But the level of anger that the town of Whisper Shore surprises even him. To begin the healing process he agrees to head up the annual Christmas festival but soon realizes he's bit off a bit more than he can handle.
Autumn Kingsley is stuck. Stuck taking care of the inn that her parents have handed over to her. She feels obligated to make a go of it, but she has hopes and dreams of her own that don't include staying in Whisper Shore. When her ticket out arrives she is thrilled but feels torn about abandoning the family business.
Even though the Kingsley's and Hunziker's don't mix at all, Autumn and Blake join forces to conquer their respective obligations. Blake agrees to help Autumn spruce up the inn so the investment company that is interested in it will find it more appealing. In return Autumn agrees to help Blake pull off the annual Christmas festival. Knowing the volatility of their two families, it really is a disaster waiting to happen.
The plans the two of them have for their lives seem to be set, but then God intervenes and shows them a completely different plan. Watching it all unfold was a delightful journey. It reminded me of the verse that says, "Man makes his plans, but God guides his steps."
This was a great follow up story to Made to Last. I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series as it comes along. Melissa Tagg is an author that I would recommend that you take note of. Her writing style is witty while retaining a depth to her message that our hopes and dreams always pale in comparison to that of God.
I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
This is the second book in the Where Love Begins series by Melissa Tagg. However, both books can be read as stand-alones. Readers were introduced to Blake Hunziker in the first book, Made to Last, and readers fell in love with his humor and charm. This book focuses on his journey home after being away for six years after his brother's passing.
I already fell in love with Blake in the first book and it was nice to see his story and give depth to his character but also what had driven him away. Blake is a lovable character and readers can sympathize with him as he deals with his brother's death and his part in it.
I loved the humor in the book and how it was interspersed with the more serious matters. All the elements (humor, drama, romance, plot, characters, setting, etc.) worked well together to create an enjoyable contemporary romance novel.
I quickly connected to the protagonist, Autumn Kingsley. She's a woman of today--strong, opinionated, and quite capable. In fact, she entirely runs her family's inn. However, she's always dreamed of traveling, especially to Paris. Enter Blake Hunziker, who I "met" in the first of this series, Made to Last. I was happy to get to know him even better! (The author has the technique of writing characters so real that I feel as if I actually know them!)
Like Romeo and Juliet, the romance tugs back and forth. It is well balanced. This is an enjoyable read with a happy ending. Although this is the second in the series, it easily reads as a stand alone novel. Try it; you'll like it!
Thank you to Amy Green at Bethany House Publishers for my copy.
This book was FREE from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.
"Here to Stay" written by a new author Melissa Tagg. This is her second book and I loved the way she intertwined a few of the characters from her first book into this second one and gave them a whole new story line. I fell in love w/the secondary character of Blake the first time around and now he is one of the main characters in this new book. He's just as charming as ever, but I like the way the author gave us way more insight as to why he is so charming, but also vulnerable (he was running from things that happened in his past). He comes home after traveling around the world for five yrs. and he's not sure what kind of homecoming he'll receive.
Autumn knew him yrs. ago (her sister dated his brother), but she never really got to know the real Blake until circumstances throw them together where they have to work on a big Christmas project for their beloved town. She's been running her family's inn for the past several yrs. and longs to travel the world, but would especially love to live in Paris. Her inn is in desperate need of a makeover (so that she can sell it and move on) and he needs help coordinating the annual Christmas festival so he will be offered a dream job (so he can stay put for a change).
They decide to team up and help each other out, but end up in more than one comical situation after another and of course, they are super attracted to each other as well. Will she move away, or does she stay? Read it to find out! You won't want to miss out on what happens in between!! I liked this second book even better than the first!