Author: Carla Laureano

Publisher: Tyndale House

Release Date: August 3, 2021

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Such a fun redemption story set in the high altitude of Colorado.

Kendall Green is an interior designer with a specialty in historic preservation who is in high demand for her work.  However, most people don’t know her past; she was abandoned in Denver as a little girl and shuffled through the foster care system.  Once she aged out of the system, she chose a path and never looked back.  Returning from a business trip in Europe, she opens a letter addressed from the town of Jasper Lake, Colorado.  Her grandmother passed away and she has been named the sole heir of her property.  Surprised that she had a family member who knew who she was, yet overjoyed this could be just what she needs to finally purchase her Southern California property and take her business to the next level.

Upon arrival in Jasper Lake, Kendall meets young mayor Gabe Brandt.  She discovers that the town is close to ruin due to previous flooding disasters and a developer wants to build a new resort but needs her property for the lake front access.  Gabe wants to try to save the town without the resort and has tried multiple ways, but nothing has worked.  He hopes that he can sway Kendall to keep the property so that the resort plans cannot move forward.  However, she has no interest in doing that until she sees the five historic houses on the lot.  Will Gabe be able to convince Kendall to help save the town?  Can Kendall stomach the demolition of such unique houses even if it saves her business?

There is nothing quite like a fun, contemporary romance with lots of friction between the two main characters and even more tension surrounding them.  Throw in a redemption story aspect and you’ve got yourself a signature Carla Laureano novel.  I loved going back to Colorado in this series with a nod to the Solid Grounds Coffee Company (be sure to give a shout out when you spot it).  I was kind of hoping for Brunch at Bittersweet Café one day, but maybe it will show up in the future.

Kendall was a difficult character to get to know.  She shuts everyone out (even the reader at times) with her feelings because she has been hurt so badly in the past.  She has no memory of what happened and has felt abandoned all her life.  Interestingly enough, she finds it easier to confide in Gabe about her past and tells him more than anyone else she has met.  I loved seeing her transformation throughout the story and discovering the power of being an adopted child of God. 

Gabe is a fixer and wants to have a hand in solving every problem he encounters.  He has difficulty sitting back and letting other people figure things out, even God.  So, to see him become humble in this book was really intriguing.  I loved the supporting characters and hope that there might be a couple future installments with their stories (fingers crossed!) 

The romance wasn’t forced in the story, and frankly I got a little worried if it was even going to play out, but I think readers will be quite satisfied with the conclusion! I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

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