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3.0 out of 5 starsNot My Favorite By This Author
Reviewed in the United States on December 9, 2018
I usually really enjoy books by Denise Hunter, but this time........not so much. I liked most of the characters, except one of the two main ones, Josie herself. The book seemed somewhat redundant with the repetitive themes of Josie's relentless and endless self-recrimination, self-doubt, and overwhelming guilt, all leading to her intentional ( and somewhat over-the-top unbelievable) self-destructive attitude and behavior. That combination was rather depressing and went on for almost the entire length of the book. The other characters were well developed and interesting, as well as likable, particularly Grady, a strong Christian man who had been hurt by betrayal before, but had endless patience with, and love for, a woman determined to destroy herself because of something that happened 6 years before.... a reason that was known only to her throughout most of the book. It just wasn't a very pleasant read for me, even though it did end as I had hoped it would. All's well that ends well, it is said, but it took a long time to get there.
4.0 out of 5 starsDefinitely will leave you pondering...
Reviewed in the United States on September 30, 2015
Sharing my takeaway ~ A guilt-inducing phone call from her brother-in-law brings Josie Mitchell back home to Sweetwater Gap to help with the apple harvest. Orchard Manager Grady Mackenzie doesn't appreciate the help, especially when Josie admits she came home to convince her sister to sell the orchard.
Relating to Josie was a challenge. She carried a staggering amount of guilt for years, choosing to bottle it up inside rather than talk about it with her sister or aunt, and wrestled with low self-esteem. She made a conscious decision before the story started that I didn't understand (no spoilers). Maybe she had too many issues. On the other hand, Grady, aka Marlboro Man, was easy to like. Betrayed by his ex-wife, he's vulnerable and lonely, and fears that Josie only cozies up to him to convince him to sell his small share of the orchard. Even so, he's kind and sweet, regardless of how she treats him.
Usually, Hunter's true-to-life characters and oh-so-delectable romance jerk me right into the story until I lose all track of time. But for me, Josie's heavy unresolved issues overwhelmed the actual romance in this book. That said, Sweetwater Gap is definitely one of those books that will leave you pondering long after you turn the last page.
Disclaimer: I purchased Sweetwater Gap. The opinions expressed in this review are my own, and I received no monetary compensation.
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat Story by a Favorite Author!!!
Reviewed in the United States on December 1, 2018
This was a bit emotional as Josie deals with guilt and shame, realistic emotions, regarding a tragedy in her life. I read quickly as I hoped that Josie would realize the depth of God’s love and give Grady, a sweetheart, a chance. I have said similar things before, but it’s true. Denise Hunter writes multilayered main and supporting characters. She writes great dialogue, and her hero’s are always keepers.
5.0 out of 5 starsA woman falls in love with her Marlboro man.
Reviewed in the United States on November 7, 2018
Loved being with this author again. Josie came back to the orchard with A lot of fear and guilt. Which she couldn't let go of. Though Grady was stand off ish at first . He changed after being around Josie. He became her rock and confidante. Even with things she kept from her family. He believed in her and loved her and wanted her to live. Thank you Lord for God's grace the story ended well. Two broken hearts mended. Looking forward to reading more by this author.
5.0 out of 5 starsGreat storytelling with perfectly done romance
Reviewed in the United States on September 26, 2016
Denise Hunter's books are always more than just a romance. There is usually a little bit of great romance, but there is also always a good story, and usually the characters struggle with real-life issues. Sweetwater Gap was just a great story. I had a hard time putting it down and I enjoyed every second of it. I really liked the characters and by the end they felt like friends I did not want to let go. Faith is also woven in very naturally. I liked that the story wasn't completely predictable and the romance was very compelling. I highly recommend this book.
4.0 out of 5 starsNot a light read but interesting ...
Reviewed in the United States on November 1, 2016
Suspenseful story ... interesting plot line... I really grew to admire Ian though he was only a supporting character in the book & yet central to plot. I was drawn into the story most of the time but the author lost me when Josie decided to drown her sorrows at the pub. She seemed so in control up to that point that for Josie to do this seemed so out of character to everything else she had done up to then. I couldn't quite accept it.
This was worth my reading time. The way the past holds us back from our future is the premise of this novel. I did have a bit of editorial angst that no one caught the discrepancy of lilacs in Sept. I like the facts to be correct in a book. That said, it was very informative about a disease I knew nothing about, and how trauma can shackle us which I know ALL about. This is worthy our time and money. Some books I slog through wondering why I bother. This one held my attention and made me want to put everything else aside.
Another good book by Denise Hunter! She was introduced to me by another great, Brenda Novak in January and I’ve been devouring her books since that moment! Always a uplifting, grace filled book of the unconditional love of Christ, no matter our choices!