About the Book (from the publisher’s website):
Two people starting over . . . in a town known for second chances
After a devastating layoff, attorney Eric Nash heads back to Hope Harbor–only to discover that his childhood home is being transformed into a bed and breakfast. Instead of plotting his next career move in peace, he’s constantly distracted by noise, chaos–and BJ Stevens, the attractive but prickly blonde architect who’s invaded the house with her motley crew. As for BJ, her client’s son might be handsome, but after a disastrous romance, dating isn’t high on her agenda. Yet when they join forces for to help Hope Harbor seniors, might they also find healing, hope, and a new beginning themselves?
Come home to Hope Harbor–where hearts heal . . . and love blooms
There are certain things I expect from Christian Fiction. Good writing, an interesting premise and plot, a touching story (not always heartwarming, but definitely touching), and characters at different places in their faith or lack thereof. I had heard praise being heaped on Irene Hannon’s novel that preceded this one, so I had high hopes that all of these expectations would be met. They were.
No one ever said life was easy. Besides, taking the easy route doesn’t always lead to the best views. (p. 281)
While we are still given the usual for romance – beautiful heroine and hunky hero fighting their attraction, for a while and then unsuccessfully, because of their past/circumstances – what I really enjoyed was seeing them helping others. This is a romance novel, but it is also wrapped around stories of hope lost and restored. For me, the lasting impression will be of people whose lives take unexpected turns, forcing them to reassess their values, their thinking, and the direction that they thought their lives should go.
“The shepherd always knows his sheep.” Her tone was gentle–yet the words stung. He stiffened. “Are you suggesting I’m lost?”
Contrition etched her features. “No. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to preach. I just can’t imagine how a person survives big setbacks without relying on God for strength and guidance.” (pp.144-5)
While a few of the secondary characters (including a local seal with bad timing) feel like they are/will be reoccurring in the Hope Harbor novels, Eleanor and especially Luis are much of what gives this story much of its depth. While the resolution of their story-lines may not be unexpected, having them roll out at a realistic pace is gratifying.
Also gratifying is seeing a portrayal of people of different races and denominations, and at different places in their faith, interact in primarily positive ways. Self reflection and realization, of faith and of prejudices, are handled in a way that feels straightforward and genuine.
Recommended for those who enjoy clean romances that feel a bit authentic and subtly go a little deeper. 4/5 stars.
(Included in the back of the book is a single page with a brief description of the next Hope Harbor Novel, Sandpiper Cove, with an expected publication of Spring 2017. I’m quite happy to see that the two secondary characters I thought would be interesting to have as the protagonists in future novels are, in fact, the hero and heroine. I hadn’t thought of them together. Adding this to my anticipated reads for 2017.)
Sea Rose Lane : A Hope Harbor Novel by Irene Hannon | Revell, 2016 | paperback, 368 pgs
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”