Ok, so the first book doesn’t fit into the exact ‘sweet contemporary romance’ genre, but the beautiful story will make you swoon (and probably cry a bit). Neither one of these books fall into the formulaic fiction category, but they are sweet, contemporary, and romances!

While not fitting into the formulaic 'sweet contemporary romance' genre, these books are just the ticket for those looking for a longer, well-developed plot. #amreading #romance #inspirational

Where Hope Begins

by Catherine West, Thomas Nelson, 268 pages.

Savannah Barrington’s life is falling apart. Again. When Kevin, her husband of twenty years, walks away to start a new life with his mistress, Savannah has no idea what she’ll do. Their oldest is away at college, and their youngest seems happy at his boarding school. The house looms empty. Delivering meals to the elderly and volunteering at the library won’t fill the void that threatens to suck her into oblivion.

When her mom offers the use of their summer place on the lake in the Berkshires, Savannah surprises herself and takes her up on the offer. Maybe spending time away from home and all the memories will help her find healing for bruised emotions and a way through the pain.

Savannah doesn’t hold out much hope though—after all, for the past ten years pain has haunted her every move. Savannah feels stronger than she did the summer she almost ended it all, but this new catastrophe has her wondering about her sanity. Especially when she mistakes the next-door-neighbor’s little girl for Shelby.

Maysie is only six, though, and her incredibly good-looking dad, Brock Chandler seems familiar in a strange way. When Brock’s great aunt Clarice invites Savannah to see her late husband’s greenhouse, Savannah fears she’s losing it again. For a few brief moments she sees, smells, and hears a glimpse of what the greenhouse used to be, back when Joe Chandler lived.

In reality, the greenhouse looks like an unsalvageable wreck. Nevertheless, Savannah agrees to help Clarice clean it out and bring it back to life. Brock makes repairs to the outside of the building, and the ladies start cleaning out debris inside.

After a few months of hard work in the greenhouse and soul searching, Savannah feels like she’s ready to accept Kevin’s decision and forge a new life. Maybe she’ll survive after all. Brock’s kiss gives her hope in her personhood. And then Kevin shows up for Christmas.

Why I Love this Book

Catherine West takes readers on a page-turning adventure into the human heart. Along the way she explores how grief can ransack our lives and leave us empty shells. While the point of her novel isn’t that those who experience tragedy need counseling, in the end, it is the point.

Hurting humans need help navigating the treacherous roads leading away from loss. If they don’t receive the help they need, the repercussions could last for years (I know this from personal experience).

Savannah’s best friend, Beth, models how Christians should come alongside each other in our hour of need. Savannah’s sister-in-law and another well-meaning church lady model how not to help.

This book by @CathWest will make you sigh, cry, and think–all while keeping you gripped in its masterful plot. #amreading #romance Click To Tweet

Sweet on You

By Becky Wade, Bethany House, 2019, 384 pages.

Even if you’ve never read the other Bradford sisters’ stories (True to You and Falling for You), you’ll enjoy the last book in the series. Sweet on You tells Britt Bradford’s story.

While not fitting into the formulaic 'sweet contemporary romance' genre, these books are just the ticket for those looking for a longer, well-developed plot. #amreading #romance #inspirational

For years, Britt Bradford has harbored an obsession for chocolate. And for just as many years, Zander Ford has harbored a deep love for Britt. Britt thinks Zander is her best friend—they do everything together. But as the years go by, and Britt never moves Zander out of the friend zone, Zander does the only thing he can think of to stop the pain. He goes on a grand tour of the world, leaving Britt (and most of his heart) back in Merryweather, WA.

But when his uncle’s unexpected death brings him home early, he hopes against all hopes that Britt will finally realize that they can be best friends and date each other. As Zander helps his aunt settle his uncle’s affairs, he discovers that a mystery surrounds his uncle.

Britt insists on helping him solve the mystery, and together they dig deep into his uncle’s past. What they find shocks and surprises them. Suddenly, Zander has doubts about letting Britt help out, especially when it seems as if danger lurks around every corner.

Why I Love this Sweet Contemporary Romance

I love how Wade combines sweet contemporary romance with mystery and suspense and binds it all together with spiritual truths. Readers may even learn how to handle the friend zone by reading Britt and Zander’s story. Wade develops each character fully while keeping the action level high. Although she mentions Willow and Nora (who each have their own books), the reader doesn’t have to read those stories first.

Don't miss this sweet new romance from @beckywadewriter! It's full of sweet romance, suspense, and mystery. #amreading Click To Tweet

I receive free electronic advanced reader copies of these books through an arrangement between the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion on NetGalley’s website. I only review books on my blog that I really love.