|The Wishing Season by Denise Hunter|
I love revisiting Chapel Springs where the characters and setting are familiar. Isn't that a great cover? This book released this month, but though the cover and release date seem to indicate we have a Christmas read, you could read this one any time of year.
Let’s begin with the summary:
Living side-by-side, a fledgling chef and a big-hearted contractor find a delicious attraction.
Trouble is, their chemistry could spoil their dreams.
Spirited PJ McKinley has the touch when it comes to food. Her dream of opening her own restaurant is just one building short of reality. So when a Chapel Springs resident offers her beloved ancestral home to the applicant with the best plan for the house, PJ believes it’s a contest she was meant to win.
Contractor Cole Evans is confident, professional, and swoon-worthy—but this former foster kid knows his life could have turned out very differently. When Cole discovers the contest, he believes his home for foster kids in transition has found its saving grace. All he has to do is convince the owner that an out-of-towner with a not-for-profit enterprise is good for the community.
But when the eccentric philanthropist sees PJ and Cole’s proposals, she makes an unexpected decision: the pair will share the house for a year to show what their ideas are made of. Now, with Cole and the foster kids upstairs and PJ and the restaurant below, day-to-day life has turned into out-and-out competition—with some seriously flirtatious hallway encounters on the side. Turns out in this competition, it’s not just the house on the line, it’s their hearts.
And now, my review:
This story begins with a bang as our heroine conks the hero on the head thinking he’s breaking into her home.
The hero wants to help others. He’s trying to atone for his past, believing a lie he isn’t dependable or trustworthy. But readers will see the truth—he’s dependable, caring, likable. And lonely. Denise is great at writing believable male POV.
The heroine has something to prove to her family. They don’t give her credit for being a capable adult. Sure, she’s had some tough breaks, perhaps made some questionable decisions. But she graduated culinary school and is trying to live her dream. Sounds rather capable to me. And relatable for readers, I think. I liked how distinctive the heroine’s voice was. She over-speaks in the beginning, but tapers back before it can get annoying.
These two are in competition for a location to house their dreams. They each have a year to prove to the building’s owner that their individual projects are worthwhile. Trouble is, they’re falling for each other. And doubting themselves. Denise’s layering of both character and plot drew me deeper into the story.
I enjoyed watching the romance develop. These two have to share the same house—in a wholesome upstairs-downstairs sort of way. Fans of Denise know that you will not be disappointed as her characters’ love grows. She writes great tension and kissing scenes. We’re talking CBA here, so her books are wholesome, of course. But those kissing scenes might surprise you. And these two characters had a few of those scenes.
A great read!