Friday, August 20, 2021

This Time Around: a novella collection by Denise Hunter, Melissa Ferguson, and Kathleen Fuller

This Time Around

Love this cover! This Time Around is a compilation of three novellas by well-loved authors of Christian contemporary romance. Helpful hint: read the other books by these authors, just in case they tie in to their current series. (I was a little lost at times.)

Let’s begin with each novella’s summary:

In A Summer Detour by Denise Hunter, you’ll meet free-spirited Allie Adams, who undertakes a road trip to deliver her grandparents’ newly restored ’57 Chevy in time for their fiftieth anniversary party . . . along with Luke Fletcher, the former boy-next-door who callously crushed her heart.

Pining for You by Melissa Ferguson invites you to a cozy Virginia mountain town where Christmas tree farm owner Theo Watkins III has the opportunity to drop everything for one weekend to play farmer and potentially win back the heart of his childhood best friend, Skye Fuller. Only problem? He’s the kind of man who drives a Tesla, not a tractor.

Last but not least, He Loves Me; He Loves Me Not by Kathleen Fuller will transport you to a small town in Arkansas where thirty-five-year-old Sophie Morgan has spent years making her flower shop a success. But when this workaholic decides she’s ready to make time for dating again, she finds herself with two handsome men vying for her attention.

Whether your perfect romance involves rows and rows of Fraser firs and white pines glinting in the moonlight, childhood love that never ends, or a second chance at a happily ever after, you’re sure to find a story within this collection to warm your heart any day of the year.

And now, my review:

These are each reunion romances, thus the collection’s title. I enjoy watching characters have a second chance at love.

The heroine in A Summer Detour must prove herself to herself and to her parents. She takes on a too-big task and of course runs into tons of trouble along the way. A humorous and light summer read. The heroine can’t let her family down, and the hero can’t either, as they are his honorary family. That tie-in compelled these two to work together, which led to the romance. A couple of unfortunate ingredients: predictability, shaming, a rushed romance. However, this was my favorite novella in the group.

In Pining for You, our hero is a “fish out of water,” which was a fun twist. Plenty of humor making for another light read. One of this novella’s themes was the heroine learning to do what she chose, without letting other’s opinions paralyze her. Readers may relate as many of us worry about what others think. Another theme was facing one’s regrets with courage and hopefully, victory. I like that element. A touch of critique: Seattle isn’t on the coast, it is not oceanfront. Seattle is on Puget Sound and Lake Washington. There were several POV missteps in the advanced reader copy that may have been addressed in rewrites. I also felt I was missing something from not having read an earlier series, maybe?

I found more humor early in He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not. Sometimes it’s the random elements that make readers chuckle. I’ll be honest and say I didn’t get too far into this third story. Juvenile and contrived aspects kept me from engaging. Perhaps her full-length fiction connects to this novella? 

Overall, a light, romantic summertime collection. Well-read fans will likely connect easily with these novellas.

I wish these authors all the best.

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