Narelle here. It’s the middle of winter in Australia, and I’ve enjoyed warming up by escaping into summer romance reads. Today I’m sharing two August 2021 CCR (contemporary Christian romance) releases that I had the pleasure of reading in preparation for upcoming StoryChats @ InspyRomance podcast/YouTube episodes.
Join me in my armchair travelling to small town Jasper Lake, Colorado with Carla Laureano in Provenance, and Prince Edward Island, Canada with Liz Johnson in Beyond the Tides.
Click here to read the Book Description.
I enjoyed reading Provenance and visiting the charming small town of Jasper Lake in the Colorado high country. Kendall was only five years old when she was abandoned at a day care center because her mom failed to collect her. She is haunted by not knowing what happened to her birth mother, which led to her growing up in the foster care system. Kendall is fiercely independent and believes she can only rely on herself. She rents an expensive home in Pasadena, California, with her interior design assistant that’s the home base for her business. Her business specialty is restoring historic homes.
Gabe is a town planner who has returned to Jasper Lake from Detroit to save his maternal grandparents’ home town. His mother sent him to live with his grandparents when he was a young teen because he was on a destructive path and needed straightening out. Gabe’s grandfather runs the Inn at Jasper Lake, and all the businesses have been struggling since a major flood a few years earlier. Gabe’s attachment to Jasper Lake inspires him to run for mayor. Now he’s the mayor, he’s determined to save the town from a ruthless developer who is intent on building a resort that would forever change the character of Jasper Lake.
Kendall is stunned to learn that her maternal grandmother passed away almost five years ago, and Kendall is the sole heir of a row of historic lakefront homes in Jasper Lake. The houses are situated in the middle of a parcel of land that a developer wants to turn into a large scale resort. The rent on Kendall’s Pasadena home is large, and the annual increases are squeezing her finances too tight. Selling her inheritance appears to be Kendall’s best solution to keep a roof over her head and her business afloat.
Sparks fly when Kendall arrives in Jasper Lake and meets Gabe. His family background is also complicated, and he’s confronted with family issues that impact on his current circumstances. Gabe assists Kendall in claiming her inheritance by the tight deadline, and she stays at his grandfather’s inn.
Kendall and Gabe are drawn to each other despite a number of complications, including Kendall not sharing Gabe’s faith. The faith element in the story is strong, and both Gabe and Kendall wrestle with faith issues. The story includes themes of forgiveness, redemption, and parallels with the prodigal son Biblical story. I recommend Provenance to contemporary romance readers who enjoy small town romances set in the mountains that address problems associated with historic home preservation and urban planning.
I received an advanced reader copy from the publisher. Many thanks to Tyndale House Publishers and NetGalley.
Carla Laureano is our guest at StoryChats @ InspyRomance podcast/YouTube for Episode #32 releasing July 30.
Click here to read the Book Description.
There’s lots to love in Beyond the Tides, the first book in Liz Johnson’s Prince Edward Island Shores series. The historic seaport setting of Victoria on Prince Edward Island in Canada is quaint and pretty. I loved reading the Anne of Green Gables series when I was younger, and I’m drawn to stories that share the Prince Edward Island setting. I also enjoyed learning more about the everyday workings of a family owned lobster fishing fleet business. We meet a cast of interesting characters who live in the small and tight knit seaside community.
At times I found Meg’s stubbornness a little frustrating, especially her grudge against Oliver from a decade ago when they were at high school. That said, I know in real life that many people are like Meg and struggle to forgive and let go of long held grudges. Oliver was patient with Meg, and prepared to apologise, take responsibility, and right the wrongs from the past. The importance of forgiveness was a strong spiritual theme in the story.
The ‘I hate you’ romance trope isn’t my favorite, but I did empathise with Meg and her concerns for her mother’s health, and I understood why Oliver was keen to buy the family business from Meg’s father.
I recommend Beyond the Tides to contemporary romance readers who like the enemies-to-more romance trope with childhood friends reuniting in a small town seaside setting.
I received an advanced reader copy from the publisher. Many thanks to Revell and NetGalley.
Liz Johnson is our guest at StoryChats @ InspyRomance podcast/YouTube for Episode #33 releasing August 6.
Questions for you:
Mountains vs. Beach: Do you prefer reading CCR books with small town mountain settings or seaside beach settings, or both? I’d love to hear your thoughts.