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Newness and Wonder: A Small Town Holiday Romance Kindle Edition
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Lynne’s latest and first in her new Sylvan Hills series is a tender, touching frienemies to lovers, lust at first sight tale that mixes humor and heartbreak. Set during the holidays in a small North Carolina town near the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains it features the best and worse parts of small town living plus Hatfield and McCoy worthy family dramas. Watching Justin and Tara bare their souls, overcome their obstacles and fall in love is heartwarming and readers get hints on future stories as we’re introduced to the genuine and likeable secondary characters. All the players are super but it's the wounded bird, grieving teen sister, Marley that’s a real-deal stand out and will pull on heartstrings. Book two will be available in 2019
Local Sylvan Hills, artist Tara Crowley has dreamed for years of buying back the family generational farm that her mother callously sold. Then just when it seemed the dream was in reach someone out bids her for the property.
Justin Hunter knew raising his twelve-year-old sister on his own after her mother’s death wouldn’t be easy. But when she shows an interest in decorating her room in the old NC farmhouse he bought for them he knows he made the right choice. He’s even more positive about relocating when a local beauty shows interest in him. But that’s short lived when he learns that she also wanted the property he bought.
Newness and Wonder is book one in the Sylvan Hills series and introduces an unconventional family of three sisters living in a small North Carolina town back in the mountains. Two are sisters of the blood and the third is their step-sister and sister of the heart. They were damaged by parents who selfishly tore their families apart and dumped them on their own to pursue other interests. All three thought they had a handle on things, but an upheaval in Tara's big plans show them that change is needed if they don't want to grow into old, bitter cat ladies.
Artistic Tara has worked hard to save up to buy back her grandparents' farm. She and her sister were happy and wanted there by the grandmother who raised them when their parents divorced. Her mom returning years later to sell the farm and all in it left a sour taste in her mouth and she has dreamed of getting it back ever since. But now, some rich big city guy threw his money around and bought it out from under her. It doesn't matter that before she knew who he was that she was dazzled and excited by the one lunch date she shared with Justin Hunter. And, she really doesn't want to lose her anger and bitterness when she discovers the reason he bought the farmhouse and moved to the country. Justin has the care of his younger 12 year old half-sister who is grieving the loss of her mother and he wants to give them both a fresh start.
Tara's pain and loss are palpable just like Justin's, his sister Marley, and her sisters. Loss is a theme in this book. But, the holidays and time spent together lead to a healing for them all. I loved the small town, the wonder of the holidays, the focus on Tara's art and Justin and Marley's work getting to know each other while restoring the old farmhouse. The camaraderie of the sisters, their cousin and their aunt along with Justin's ties to his friends and family back in New York surrounded the romance and made it even more special.
The romance is central, but also slow building because the pair, especially Tara, need to heal so they can be in a place to welcome a relationship. Justin is so good and patient even when she was being an ugly witch about things at first. He is strung tight over his sister and how to be parent and brother, but he has the time and patience to try to get past Tara's resentment. There were some fun moments when her sisters and cousin kicked her butt to get over herself before she lost something special.
The holidays were prevalent between Thanksgiving to Christmas and even a fun Black Friday scene. I appreciated the touch of whimsy and humor that balanced out the healing parts. The romance was sweet with a dab of sensuality. I can't wait to see what comes of that other romance that was sizzling and simmering in the background, too.
All in all, this was just what I wanted in a holiday romance set in a small mountain town I can't wait to return to for the rest of the series. Contemporary Romance fans looking for a quick, but well-developed holiday themed story should give this one a go.