It’s almost October and we’re enjoying pleasant spring weather in Australia. There’s an old saying that we always want what we can’t have. In 2020, the freedom to travel overseas is one thing we no longer take for granted. I’m glad we have the ability to armchair travel to distant lands by escaping into a story. Today I’m sharing with you my book recommendation for Remember Me – the first book in the Chapel Cove Romance series set in a fictional small town on the picturesque Oregon Coast.
What she most needed was right there in front of her all along.
At the age of thirteen, Clarise Aylward and her two best friends each pen a wish list of things they want to achieve. Deciding to bury a tin containing their life goals, the friends vow to unearth the metal box once they’ve all turned forty. But as the decades pass and each girl chases her dreams, the lists are forgotten.
Heath Brock has been in love with Clarise for over twenty-seven years and counting. As a young man, he’d plucked up the courage to ask her out on a Valentine’s date, but the couple succumbed to pent-up passions, sending Clarise dashing for the other side of the country.
Years after Clarise’s sudden departure, Heath serves as youth pastor. He’d held out hope of Clarise’s return, but buries his feelings for his childhood sweetheart when he learns she’s married.
Almost penniless, divorced, and with nowhere to go, Clarise returns home to Chapel Cove, her future uncertain. She’s approaching forty with her dreams in tatters. When old feelings resurface, Clarise wonders whether she’s ever really fallen out of love with Heath.
What’s the man of God to do when his old flame returns, seemingly to stay?
With Clarise back in town, Heath is determined not to repeat past mistakes, but if he has anything to say about it, never again will he lose the only woman he’s ever loved.
Welcome to Chapel Cove, Oregon, where life begins at forty.
I enjoyed reading Remember Me and visiting with the small town community in Chapel Cove. Reese (Clarise) returns to her hometown a broken woman with big emotional scars. Her high flying days as a supermodel living a luxurious lifestyle are a fading memory. Her cheating ex-husband, who was also her agent/business manager, has left her destitute. Reese pawned her engagement ring to pay for her flight from NYC, and she’s staying with her parents in her childhood home with no prospects and her fortieth birthday looming.
For years, Heath has lived a modest lifestyle in a trailer beside the beach. He became a Christian after Clarise left town, and he’s now working as a youth pastor with a heart for helping people. Like Reese, he has regrets about their past relationship. He wishes she’d never left town to chase her modelling career dreams. He’s watched her high profile career from afar while quietly living his life in the beautiful coastal town. He is the boy next door, and the supermodel is way out of his league.
Reunion romance is one of my favorite tropes, and this story delivers on the promise of a sweet and heartfelt romance complicated by Reese and Heath’s history and misbeliefs about themselves and each other. I like reading romances with older characters who have a maturity and life experiences that can give them a different perspective.
I will confess that I’m not usually a fan of romance stories with heroes who are pastors. A few decades ago, a large number of CCR’s that I read included pastor heroes. I became bored reading the same old storylines. Despite my prejudices, I loved Heath’s character more than Reese’s. His down-to-earth and laid back approach to life, combined with his genuine faith, had me cheering for him to win Reese’s heart. I highly recommend Remember Me to readers who enjoy small town reunion romance stories with a strong faith element.
Full disclosure: The lovely Chapel Cove authors have invited me to write a Chapel Cove romance – releasing in 2021. I’m enjoying getting to know the characters and binge reading the series in preparation for writing my Chapel Cove story in early 2021.